Each year, HIFF has welcomed numerous cultural luminaries from across a wide spectrum of artistic specialties. Festival guests have included Kevin Smith (Clerks), Academy Award-nominated actor Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai), anime master Satoshi Kon (Millennium Actress), American film critic Elvis Mitchell, Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Matthew Libatique (Black Swan), and Bollywood director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (Delhi-6). But the prime focus of HIFF is on the voices shared by new filmmakers, particularly those who are immigrants to America, given special recognition in the festival's New American Filmmaker categories.
In addition to its spectacular screenings, networking opportunities, and parties, HIFF offers complimentary transportation and festival passes, as well as special discounts on airfare and lodging. With regional spotlights on Japan, Korea, China, India, Australia, and New Zealand, HIFF has routinely wowed audiences with terrific films from around the world, including The Kid with a Bike, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Tyrannosaur, and the Academy Award-winning silent comedy, The Artist.