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HNL Film Festival


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For the first time the aloha state of Hawaii combined 2 of its signature events, Honolulu Pride, and The Rainbow Film Festival, into the same week, making it a great time to be in Hawaii. Not that there is ever a bad time to be there, save for a major hurricane or tsunami, but with Pride and the Film Fest bookending the week of June 1st, gays and lesbians had quite a celebration.


Honolulu Pride ran down the main drag in Waikiki, Kalakaua Avenue, with throngs of supporters lining the route, as the parade wound towards Kapi'olani Park. There, a festival with local food, artisans and other vendors celebrated pride, island style.

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Unlike other cities, where there is intense rivalry from the clubs on pride day, pride in Honolulu was a short affair, running from the end of the parade, approximately 11am, until just 4pm. At which time, the celebrations moved to the clubs, Hula's, Bacchus, Bar Seven, Fusion, Lojacx, Tapas, In-Between, Wang Chungs and Phoenix at Rumfire. All of the clubs seemed to be enjoying overflow business Saturday evening, and all day Sunday, with little interference from any major music festival, and or public street party. It was an interesting change of pace from most of the other pride events I have covered, and made for an intimate, but enjoyable celebration.

Not without its local controversy, the pride celebration in the park was shadowed by a parallel pool party at The Queen Kapiolani Hotel, just across the street from the celebration at Kapi'olani Park, making it easy to hop back and forth between the two events. The Kapiolani Hotel also had a stage with performers, all on the pool deck with a jaw dropping vista of Kapi'olani Park, Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach.

Two days later, on Tuesday, the 24th installation of the Rainbow Film Festival kicked off, with a reception at the Hawaii Museum of Art, and the Opening Night film, Geography Club. Based on Brent Hartinger's best-selling novel, the film chronicles the sexual discovery and coming-out of a group of mostly, less than A-list high-schoolers, in a nod to The Breakfast Club, or even Glee.

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As it were, the film stars Glee's newest sensation, ALEX NEWELL, along with CAMERON DEANE STEWART, from the film Pitch Perfect. High school romance, and drama, along with the cruelty, the secrets, and the gyrations of growing up, and coming to terms, while in high school.

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The festival featured a highly anticiapted film from 23-year old director XAVIER DOLAN, entitled Lawrence Anyways, about a man's 10-year journey to become a woman, while involved in an intense love affair, with a woman. The characters were well developed, and the acting was superb, particularly from SUZANNE CLEMENT, who plays the unwitting girlfriend of Lawrence, played by Melvin Poupaud. There is a fantastic scene at Sunday brunch which truly encapsulates the intense ordeal this couple, and no doubt others going through this very difficult situation, must endure.

But, at 2 hours and 48 minutes, I'd say the director from Quebec needs to work on his editing. To coin a phrase from the film, movies about transgenderism are on the list of things that minimize our pleasure, particularly very long ones.

Another film that caused a bit of a stir was, I Want Your Love, which features a triple-X warning in the clip reels showing in the clubs, and featured live action sex, including ejaculation scenes. Something about nudity and sex at gay film festivals always seems to have an effect on ticket sales. You'd think they would have seen enough of that at all the pride events.

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On Thursday, the festival, which is in its 24th year, had their signature red carpet event, showcasing the film G.B.F, another high school, coming of age, coming about kind of thing. The pre-party was the real show, with musical artists GJ and IZIK who covered AMY WINEHOUSE like nobody's business, local food vendors with some truly gourmet offerings, more celebritites from the festival, and even Governor NEIL ABERCROMBIE, who spoke with us about the prospect of Hawaii's GLBT community gaining the right to same-sex marriage in the near future. ABERCROMBIE was a big supporter of civil unions, signing that into law for the state, which has come full circle since the '90's on the issue of gay marriage.

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From the looks of things this week in paradise, gay and lesbian life is certainly thriving on the islands. Put June in Honolulu on your travel itinery for next year, without a doubt.

Jack Law "Hulas Bar"

And while you're at it, try the cage diving with sharks on the North Shore with Hawaiian Shark Adventures. I mean, if you can survive a week of pride anywhere, you know you can swim with sharks!

For a list of film winners from this festival, go to

Sheraton Kona

Hawaii Shark Encounters

Kona Ocean Adventures

Sea Paradise


Waipio Ride The Rim touns

Mask Bar

My Bar


OutGames Vancouver 2011
Jupiter hotel


Blue hawaii
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