The 7th annual Guam International Film Festival (GIFF) took place at the Guam Museum from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, serving as a meaningful event for its participants.
Over the course of five days, attendees were offered the opportunity to indulge in films that spanned across several genres such as documentaries, dramas, shorts, comedy and so on.
Brian Kohne, director of “Kuleana” and winner of GIFF’s “Best of Fest” 2017 award, said he reached personal milestones by bringing “Kuleana” to GIFF and that he holds a special connection with the event, its organizers, volunteers and audiences.
“Hawai’i and Guam share similar cultures centered around family and community, so being a part of that was heartfelt,” Kohne said. “I realized after screening ‘Kuleana’ and interacting with the audience during the Q & A and during a meet and greet, that ‘Kuleana’ is the most important thing I’ve ever done. So that right there was a huge personal moment for me.”
Hannah Manglona, a participant who also attended 2015 and 2016’s GIFFs, said the event seems to only increase in turnout and reception with each passing year.
Manglona said the event is meaningful to her because it’s something she shares with her family, most especially her children.
“It’s becoming an important holiday like Christmas for us,” she said. “It’s important that my kids are exposed to what people from our own island and everywhere else can achieve.”
Marcus Acfalle, an aspiring filmmaker, said GIFF continues to be a marquee event. Acfalle added that he feels Guam is in the middle of something special, urging those who have yet to attend a GIFF event to make it a point in the future.
“I think the significance as-is is incredible and substantial,” Acfalle said. “The bar is set each year and all these filmmakers that come from everywhere to contribute just keep setting it higher and higher.”
Kohne commented that GIFF’s first-rate screening environment, website and social media presence all go a long way towards building a meaningful, annual event that will be on the radar of both filmmakers and the greater global industry.
As a message to Guam’s community, Kohne urges local filmmakers to make movies, and empower their dreams, emphasizing that as storytellers we have a responsibility to the world to enlighten, entertain, provoke, and comfort. “Be true to yourself, your values, and always serve your story with each breath you take, with each step you make,” Kohne said.