Breakout acting star Awkwafina was on hand Saturday in Honolulu to receive the Halekulani Maverick Award from the Hawaii International Film Festival. The actress, writer and rapper this year starred in “Ocean’s 8” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” Japanese actor, Takumi Saito was also given a maverick award after his feature directing debut “Blank 13.”
Leading Korean actress Moon So-ri received a career achievement award. Moon recently directed the feature-length omnibus “The Running Actress.”
The festival presented its Best Made In Hawaii feature prize to “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable,” directed by Aaron Lieber. The jurors also awarded a second place award to “Moananuiakea: One Ocean, One Canoe, One People,” directed by Na’alehu Anthony. The Made in Hawaii jury called “Hamilton” “emotional and inspiring.” It said: “this film did what all great docs do – it captured defining moments you can’t believe were captured on film with twists and turns that defied expectations. This amazing story of a deeply relatable underdog was also complemented with epic cinematography and a final shot that has to be seen to be believed.”
The Best Made In Hawaii short film award winner is “Mauka to Makai,” directed by Jonah Okono and Alika Maikau. The film will now play on Hawaiian Airlines inflight entertainment roster.
The festival’s NETPAC Award went to “Still Human,” by Oliver Siu Kuen Chan. It was applauded for “its humane way of exploring racial and social class, the treatment of the disabled and the aged, and portraying the intersection of hopelessness and dreams.”
The festival’s audience awards for favorite narrative feature, documentary and short film, will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 20.