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Launched in 1981 by Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) was the first film festival in the United States to focus on films from the Asia-Pacific region. Being a bridge between East and West is still its mission, but HIFF now has plenty of company around the world.

What keeps it a stand-out is the diversity of its audience and the uniqueness of its lineup, as I rediscovered at its 37th edition held from Nov. 2 to 12 on Oahu and from Nov. 16 to 19 on the Big Island and Kauai.

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