PacRim 2017 Mini Diversity Film Festival at The Modern Honolulu and The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort


Film Festival
Monday, October 9, 2017 to Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This year’s mini-fest sequel is one for the books. For the first time in our conference history, we’ll be screening films under the stars! Join us on the evening of Monday, October 9--by the beach at The Modern Honolulu--and all day long on Tuesday, October 10--inside The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort--for must-see cinema. But whether indoors or out, expect the best in current documentary and fiction filmmaking exploring themes of disability and diversity, together with expert commentary and lively audience participation. As ever at this much-anticipated festival, we will showcase critically acclaimed works and use them as a catalyst for discussion, healing and change.

Curator – Laura Blum

Photo Laura Blum

Laura Blum is a curator, journalist and producer based in Manhattan. Laura has curated numerous film series, including a critically acclaimed Czech film retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. She covers movies and art for the Grumbacher arts site and writes a film blog at Her independent production credits include The Cry and Becoming Barack, and in her former position as head of film and TV development at Sony BMG Music Entertainment, she collaborated on music-themed documentaries from John Denver Remembered to P!nk in Europe. Laura co-edited Esther Perel's global bestseller Mating in Captivity and forthcoming book The State of Affairs, collaborated on the national bestseller The Thanksgiving Celebration and contributed to More Than a Movie: Ethics in Entertainment. She regularly speaks about film for universities, cinema clubs and festivals, including Wesleyan University, Talk Cinema and the Furman Film Series.

In her early career as political analyst, she spent nearly a decade writing and reporting in the Middle East, North Africa and France, including positions as author and researcher with The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and The Hebrew University’s Truman Institute. Laura holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern and International Affairs from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a B.A. in History and Art Design from Duke University. She is fluent in French, Spanish and Hebrew, and proficient in Arabic.

Opening Night Co-sponsor

The Modern Honolulu


Film Schedule & Synopsis

The Modern Honolulu: Monday, October 9

6 pm: Sneak Preview: Dealt (97 min., USA) 2017

Directed by: Luke Korem

Photo: Dealt

Sixty-two-year-old Richard Turner is renowned as one of the world’s greatest card magicians, yet he is completely blind. In this documentary, Richard traces his journey from his troubled childhood, when he began losing his vision, to present day as he relentlessly pursues perfection while struggling with the reality that his biggest weakness might also be his greatest strength. Winner: documentary Audience Award at SXSW. Q&A with co-writer/co-producer Bradley Jackson. Captioned.

8 pm: Sanctuary (87 min., Ireland) 2016

Directed by: Len Collin

Photo: Sanctuary

Like any couple, Larry and Sophie want to be alone, together. But they both have intellectual disabilities, and by attempting to be intimate, they’re breaking the law in Ireland. Will love triumph? Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Sanctuary follows the pair on a romp through Galway that reveals the ethical dilemmas complicating their—and their friends' and caregivers'—lives. Winner: Best First Irish Feature at Galway Film Fleadh. 

Q&A with film critic Laura Blum

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort (Honolulu 2, TAPA): Tuesday, October 10

9:30 am: Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw (56 min., USA) 2015

Directed by: Rick Goldsmith

Photo: World Mental Health Day Logo

The odyssey of “the female Michael Jordan” from troubled family life to basketball superstardom reveals a long-hidden battle with mental illness and near-suicide. Chronicling Holdsclaw’s athletic accomplishments and personal challenges, this award-winning documentary, narrated by Glenn Close, provides an intimate and instructive portrait of one person’s struggle for mental health recovery despite public stigma. Winner: documentary Audience Award at Out on Film. Captioned.

Q&A with Martin Wren, founder, Focus on Ability Short Film Festival

Photo: World Mental Health Day Logo

11:00 am: Turtle (105 min, India) 2016

Directed by: Sumitra Bhave, Sunil Sukthankar

Photo: Boy with a Sea Turtle

Janaki, a divorcee helping to save endangered sea-turtles in Goa, provides the shelter of her beach house to a suicidal young man. Just as turtle moms must lay their eggs and hope for the best from their offspring, so, too, Janaki creates an emotional incubator until her houseguest can swim away on his own. This exquisitely realized social drama is a template for non-judgmental, non-intrusive communication and healing. Winner, Best Feature at India’s National Film Awards. Captioned.

Q&A with film critic Laura Blum.

Photo: World Mental Health Day Logo

1 pm: The Departure (87 min., USA) 2017

Directed by: Lana Wilson

Ittetsu Nemoto, a former punk rocker-turned-Buddhist priest in Japan, has helped countless suicidal men and women find reasons to live. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between his patients and himself. Now at a crossroads, Nemoto confronts the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living? Captioned.

Q&A with Martin Wren, founder, Focus on Ability Short Film Festival

3 pm: The View from Tall (87 min., USA) 2016

Directed by: Caitlin Parrish, Erica Weiss

Photo: The View from Tall

Precocious, isolated and bullied by her fellow highschoolers, Justine reluctantly begins therapy in the messy wake of an affair with her English teacher. After a few rocky sessions, she forms an unlikely bond with Douglas, her therapist, who is in a wheelchair and nurses demons of his own. Told with a sardonic wit, The View from Tall is a tender story of self-discovery at more than one age. 

Q&A with film critic Laura Blum.

Photo: World Mental Health Day Logo

5 pm: God Knows Where I Am (97 min., USA) 2016

Directed by: Jedd Wider, Todd Wider

Photo: God Know Where I Am

After one of the coldest winters on record, a woman’s body is found in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse. Her journal reveals her name, Linda Bishop, and offers clues about how she came to this unfortunate end. Using Linda’s own words, full of poignancy and humor, this award-sweeping film composes a poetic eulogy to a once-vivacious woman who succumbed to mental illness, and masterfully indicts a flawed mental health-care system. Winner: Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs.

7 pm: Sneak Preview: To the Edge of the Sky (120 min., USA) 2017

Directed by: Jedd Wider, Todd Wider

Photo:To the End of the sky

How far would you go to save your son's life? To the Edge of the Sky follows four families as they fight the FDA to gain access to a potentially lifesaving drug for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a fatal disease their sons suffer from and the number one genetic killer of boys in the world. With a promising drug on the horizon, the mothers of four boys become political activists and heroes during their righteous battle against time and the FDA.