Made In Hawaii Film Festival 2022 Comes to Kona May 14, 2022


50 Hawai’i-Made Films Come to Hilo and Kona this month! 

As you may know, my husband and I have been doing YouTube videos for over three years and we used to work with the Hawaii County Film Office. We love films and the people who make them, so we want to highlight the Made In Hawaii Film Festival.

The Made in Hawai’i Film Festival returns to the Hilo Palace Theater for its fourth year, presenting fifty Hawai’i-made films between May 6 and May 8, with a follow up single-day screening at the Aloha Theatre in Kona on May 14.

Run entirely by local filmmakers, the festival focuses on showcasing the work of creatives living in the aloha state.

“So many folks believe that to work in the film industry you need to live in LA or New York,” says festival Executive Director Zoë Eisenberg. “MIHFF works to underscore that we actually have a pool of talented filmmakers here in the state, and their voices should be celebrated.”

Opening night kicks off Friday at 7 pm with critically acclaimed feature film I Was a Simple Man starring Constance Wu and directed by Christopher Makato Yogi. On Saturday evening, guests can catch the Honolulu-set festival favorite Waikiki, directed by Christopher Kahunahana. On Sunday evening, brother/sister drama Water Like Fire, directed by Mitchel Merrick, closes out the festival following a short awards ceremony. 

Additional blocks include the Ho’omau block (Saturday, 4:30), spotlighting eight stories of overcoming obstacles to perpetuate people and culture; the ʻĀina Block (Sunday, 2 pm), presented by Big Island Grown, which works to amplify the connection to – and importance of – the land; and the Portraits block (Sunday, 11:30 am), featuring a selection of intimate documentary portraits. 

Outside of films, the festival has a free pitch and networking event happening on Saturday 5/7 at 10 am, produced in collaboration with Hawai’i’s Creative Industries and the Hawai’i Filmmakers Collective, where filmmakers can pitch their next idea for a $1,000 prize, and audience members can cheer them on and mingle afterwards. Pitch judges include Aaron Kandell, writer of Moana and Adrift, and Jeff Orig, writer/producer/director of local cult-hit web series Waikiki P.D.

On Sunday, those interested in getting into filmmaking can check out the free 10 am Producer’s Panel, which focuses on creating micro-budget work in the state in partnership with SAG-AFTRA Local Hawai’i and Hawai’i’s Creative Industries.

Check out the MIHFF 2022 Trailer  below.


“We expect to have over fifty filmmakers in attendance throughout the weekend, which is exciting for the theater, and allows us to connect creatives directly with the Hilo audience ” says Phillips Payson, the Hilo Palace’s Executive Director, who works double time as MIHFF’s technical director.

The Palace’s new in-house cafe, Hilo Palace Grounds, will be open all weekend to serve festival guests and filmmakers with espresso treats, avocado toast and more.

Single block tickets in Hilo run at $10, and a Hilo weekend pass stands at only $35. 

The festival’s official trailer can be viewed here.

The full schedule is listed here.

Individual film descriptions can be found here.

For more information, visit


Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic