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Alexander Payne, Director of Closing Night Film THE DESCENDANTS, to Receive Hawai Vision in Film Award




The Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) presented by Halekulani is proud to recognize exceptional members of the film community with the VISION IN FILM Award presented by the City & County of Honolulu. This award is presented in recognition of industry players who possess broad insight into all facets of the film trade: artistic, commercial, and charitable. 


This year, the Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani and the City and County of Honolulu are honored to be presenting the VISION IN FILM Award to celebrated Screenwriter and Director Alexander Payne. Known for writing and directing such films as ABOUT SCHMIDT (2002) and the Academy Award-winning SIDEWAYS (2004), Payne's unique writing and directing has earned him critical acclaim.  Mayor Peter Carlisle will present the award to Payne at the Closing Night screening and Hawai'i premiere of his newest film, THE DESCENDANTS.  "We are thrilled to be able to present HIFF's most prestigious award to Mr. Payne," said Mayor Peter Carlisle. "He is a filmmaker who has had a profound effect on the industry.  We could not be more excited that in his most recent film, Hawai'i is the focus of his unique storytelling style with Honolulu in the leading role.  Already the recipient of critical acclaim and early 'Oscar buzz' before its even hit the theaters, Mr. Payne is clearly deserving of this honor."


"Alexander Payne has had such great success over the last decade and a half and to think that 15 years ago he debuted one of his first films, CITIZEN RUTH, right here in the islands at HIFF" said HIFF Executive Director Chuck Boller. "We can't wait to welcome back Alexander and are thrilled to give him the prestigious VISION IN FILM Award presented by the City & County of Honolulu." Winners of the award in years past include the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Directors Ang Lee, Zhong Yimou, and Roger & Chaz Ebert.


Payne made his first appearance at the HIFF in 1996 and now returns with his new film THE DESCENDANTS, a comedy-drama starring George Clooney. Shot on location in Hawai'i and adapted from local author Kaui Hart Hemmings' novel of the same name, the film has strong ties to the Hawaiian islands. Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer who also happens to be the head of one of Hawai'i's most powerful families. Descended from Hawaiian royalty and wealthy missionaries, King is a conflicted man who must decide what to do with the valuable land he has inherited. His troubles are multiplied when a tragic accident puts his wife in a coma and leaves him to look after his two daughters. Featuring stirring performances from Clooney and a strong supporting cast, THE DESCENDANTS is a film that is sure to delight audiences when it screens as the Closing Night Film on Sunday, October 23rd at 6:00 PM at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres and IMAX. Tickets for this film are sold out.


The 31st Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani features over 200 films from 43 different countries and being held at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres & IMAX from October 13-23.  Tickets are on sale now to HIFF Ohana members and the general public. General admission tickets are available for $12 or $10 for students, seniors, children and military.  Tickets may be purchased in person at the guest services desk at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres & IMAX, by phone at (808) 447-0577, or online at  


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