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Big Island Film Festival – FAQs

What’s Special About BIFF? Brand new films, completed since January 2014. Following the Hawaiian tradition of storytelling, this “Talk Story” film festival screens narrative feature and short films from Hawai‘i and around the world. The something “special” is found in the story and compelling characters created by independent filmmakers.

When is BIFF? May 21 through 25, 2015 are the dates for the 9th Big Island Film Festival. Start a New Memorial Weekend Tradition with our new dates falling annually Thursday through Memorial Day.

Where is BIFF? Hawai‘i Island (we call it the Big Island), BIFF primarily takes place at the Fairmont Orchid Hawai'i located on the sunny Kohala Coast on the Island’s west side. The Mauna Lani resort is approximately 40 minutes from Kona International Airport. Within the resort, The Shops at Mauna Lani is the site for free family films.

What Happens at BIFF? Movies, Movies, Movies. Every year is a unique experience that residents and visitors share. Hawaiian culture and music is infused throughout this event wrapping the entire experience in the spirit of Aloha.

  • Daytime films: Friday-Sunday in two hour blocks at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i
  • Free Family films: Thursday-Sunday evenings 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Shops at Mauna Lani
  • Festival Films (through R rating): Friday-Sunday, Double feature & short films 7:30-11:30 p.m. at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Plantation Estate
  • “TASTE OF THE MOVIES” Friday 5/22 5-7 p.m. at The Shops at Mauna Lani
  • Celebrity Salutes & Receptions: Saturday & Sunday
  • Filmmaker Workshops: Friday, Saturday and Sunday at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i's Lehua Theater (advance registration required)
  • Awards Brunch, Monday (reservations required)
  • Best of the Fest Hawaiian concert by the Roughriders (Henry Kapono, John Cruz & Brother Noland) followed by audience choice feature and short film Monday at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Plantation Estate

Do I have to buy a pass or can I go to just one or two events? Either way! We have a wide selection of pricing options to suit any budget and any time schedule, from $8 for daytime films to $425 for an all-inclusive Ali‘i Pass.

What does it cost? There are general admission tickets, Kama‘aina discounts, and Keiki tickets (children 7 - 12 years old).

Daytime Films: $8 per 2 hour block; $6 Kama’aina
Family Films: Free - 2 hours
Festival Films: $16 per 4 hours double feature & shorts; $12 Kama’aina
Additional $10 upgrade to Ali’i Seating (lounge chairs) – if space available.


Ali’i Pass: $425. Includes all films with upgraded Festival Films seating and special events PLUS pre-festival Mayor’s Welcome Reception for filmmakers, sponsors, & media. Filmmaker Workshop are excluded.

Receptions Only Pass: $225. 5/21– 5/25
Includes all food & beverage events, starting with the Mayor’s Welcome Reception through the Awards Brunch.

Talk Story Film Pass: $100. Includes all movies day & night and Best of the Fest Concert & Audience Choice films. ($131 value)

WeekendTalk Story Film Pass: $75. Includes all movies Saturday mid-day through Monday’s Best of the Fest Concert & Audience Choice films. ($99 value)

Saturday or Sunday Movie Pass: $30. Includes all movies on Saturday or Sunday.

Call BIFF office for information on passes. To arrange for Special ADA accommodations please call by May 16th. Contact Jan at 808 883-0394.

How Do I Get Tickets?Buy Tickets Online

  • Online. Print tickets at home! Just click on the Buy Now button to link to ticket sales (small convenience fee). Discount coupons available at the gate when you buy online.
  • By phone. Phone order tickets will be emailed to you OR put you on a PREPAID list. (small convenience fee). Discount coupons available at the gate when you buy by phone.
  • At the Shops at Mauna Lani BIFF Information Desk May 21 to 25, 2015. 10 am to 4 pm or at the Amphitheatre during Daytime Films. Social Event tickets may be purchased online, at The Shops and the Amphitheatre or at the Concierge Desk at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai'i for registered guests (can charge to room).
  • At the door – Daytime & Festival films.

Where Can I Stay?

Special BIFF hotel room rate $189+ resort fee + tax, May 19 – 27, 2015 The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i

Resort fee includes the following:

  • Unlimited basic internet access in your guest rooms and resort public areas, wireless and wired. (Fairmont President’s Club Members receive upgrade to premium speed internet access)
  • Self-parking for one vehicle per room (Fairmont Gold guests receive valet parking for one vehicle per room)
  • Any local, domestic long distance and 1-800 access calls from your guest room
  • Nightly housekeeping turndown service with bottled water for each registered guest
  • 24-hour access to the fitness center
  • On-demand shuttle transportation within the Mauna Lani Resort
  • 10% discount on published pricing for the public Gathering of the Kings luau when booked through the hotel’s Concierge (may not be combined with any other discounts or special offers)
  • One-hour snorkel equipment rental (based on two sets per room, per day)
  • Various Cultural Activities including Outrigger Canoe Rides, Daily Arts & Crafts, Cultural Hikes, Tide Pool and Snorkel Introductions
  • Cultural Activities, Shuttle Service and Snorkel Rentals are subject to space availability.

    Contact reservations at the hotel directly and ask for the Big island Film Festival rate. Rates are in effect (space available) May 19 – 27, 2015
    Direct reservation number is: Fairmont Orchid: 800-845-9905


Direct reservation number is: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai'i: 800-845-9905

Do I need a car? Yes. Airport shuttle service, such as you find in mainland cities, has limited availablity and taxi fares are very expensive. Events take place in various locations within the large Mauna Lani Resort which has shuttle service within the resort from the Fairmont. You almost certainly will want to explore the island at least a little during your stay.

Any Car Rental Specials? Yes! Dollar Rental Car has a special rate for BIFF Attendees. See About Us.

Parking Fee? The Shops at Mauna Lani has Free parking at their shopping center. The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i - the exit gate will be left open for self parking. No ticket validation will be needed. Take a parking ticket to count cars in the lot, but Park FREE.

Can I bring my kids? Absolutely. Many filmmakers use BIFF as movie motivation for a quick family vacation. Free family films with rating through PG. Parental discretion is advised for daytime films and Festival Films due to broader ratings. Visit to learn about Keiki Activities and resort features and amenities such as swimming, beach and ocean sports, golf, spa services and more. Pricing for children is included in our events with tickets.

I’ve never been to Hawai‘i. What else is there to do on the island? So many things. Although we keep our filmmakers and film lovers pretty busy with movies and events, you may find time to tour a Kona Coffee Farm or stroll along the waterfront at Ali‘i Drive. You might fly over Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park by helicopter, take a morning snorkel sail, try stand up paddle boarding, or a drive up to the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town of Kamuela (“Waimea” locally). There are soothing white-sand beaches along the Kohala Coast, numerous shopping and dining opportunities at The Shops at Mauna Lani, or within 15-20 minutes’ drive, and world-class golf courses.

Do I have to stay in the Resort? My budget doesn’t allow for it, unfortunately. You are not required to be a registered guest of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i to attend any Big Island Film Festival event—although it sure makes it easy! Nearby accommodations include hotels and condominiums within the Mauna Lani Resort, or about 7 miles away in Waikoloa Village. The Big Island does not have midrange hotels or motel chains like Days Inn or Motel 6. Less expensive Bed & Breakfasts may be available in Kamuela/Waimea, about 25 minutes away, or in Kailua-Kona, about 45 minutes away. We suggest you talk with your professional travel planner, and feel free to email us your specific questions.

Can I camp? Hawai‘i State and County issue camping permits in advance on line. However, the only nearby options are Spencer Beach Park, about 20 minutes away (a very popular and often crowded facility) or A-frame shelters at Hapuna Beach State Park, about 15 minutes away. Because campsites cannot be secured and the weather, though generally mild, can never be guaranteed, we do not recommend camping.

Where do we eat? Dining options from first-class to casual are available within the Resort. Take at look at and for specifics. Also at The Shops, you’ll find Foodland Farms, a well-provisioned grocery with bakery, deli counter and ready-to-grill specialties. If you care to venture farther, just five minutes away is a comfortable Food Court at Queens’ MarketPlace, as well as Starbucks and other restaurants. Waimea/Kamuela, 25 minutes away, has well known fast-food options, along with popular local restaurants of various cuisines, pizza, steaks and more.

When will a schedule of movies be screened be posted? The final schedule will be posted online on April 1st. There will be a chart showing what’s happening when as well as a very brief synopsis of the story for each film. There are free programs available at the door to each film and in several locations around the resort. There is also a printed “At a Glance” with the schedule & synopses on a single page available.

What should I wear, what do I bring? “Resort attire” works in practically any BIFF setting—with daytime movies and evening films outdoors being a little more casual and celebrity receptions and Awards Brunch a little dressier. For gentlemen, aloha shirts and slacks or shorts; for ladies, summer dresses, pants and shorts are fine, with sweater or light wrap for evening. Sandals are the norm and ties and jackets are not. You can expect sunny days and temperatures in the mid-80’s to low 70’s in the evening. So plan for “light layers” to accommodate air-conditioned rooms and the tropical breeze. Bring your swimsuit, coverup, comfortable walking shoes, and golf or tennis attire if you plan to play. We’re a relaxed film festival – no red carpet here.

Where can I get wi-fi? Wi-fi is available at The Fairmont Orchid Hawai'i as a purchased feature with your room.

How do I get a meeting with …? Although BIFF provides many informal opportunities for networking and socializing with our celebrity guests and filmmakers, out of courtesy and respect for their time, we do not arrange meetings, or accept scripts, proposals, business cards or gifts on their behalf.

Any more questions? Simply give us a call at 808 883-0394 and we’ll be glad to help.

Wounded Warior Project
Silent Auction to benefit the Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, Monday,
May 25, 2015

Big Island Film Festival At A Glance
BIFF At A Glance


2015 Big Island Filim Festival Program
2015 BIFF Program



Fairmont Orchid
  The Shops at Mauna Lani
Hawaii Tourism Authority
Festivals of Hawaii
County of Hawaii R&D CPEPCounty of Hawaii
Pau Maui Vodka


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