The HIFF returns for its 57th year to showcase films from around the world


Local cinephiles and film fans are ready to gather at the 57th Humboldt International Film Festival.

The HIFF is the longest student-run film festival in the world which started in 1967.

More than 40 films will grace the minor theater in Arcata to showcase films in various programs.

That includes narrative, documentary, animation, and experimental programs.

“When the festival first started, it was more like a grassroots festival thing and there is still that element there to the festival. But what’s great is that now there’s so many films being submitted around the world,” HIFF co-director Adrian Anderson said.

The festival is showcasing 20 to 30 international submissions.

With the curating of the festival, students undergo close to 6 months of watching films to decide what will make it.

“We all sat together during spring break and we took the films that we previously watched and rated within certain criteria as a class and as co-directors,” Anderson said. “And then we sat there all day just deliberating between which films we wanted in the festival, and in which program, and by the end of the day, we had a program.”

The HIFF is not limited to international filmmakers either.

Local filmmakers are also involved in sharing their stories on the big screen.

Director Emma Lawrence is debuting her short narrative film, “You Don’t Know Jack,” on the first day as part of the festival’s narrative program.

“It’s about a young girl who is experiencing the loss of their childhood pet just from like college. It was kind of inspired with my personal experiences with that,” Lawrence said. “Thankfully, my dog is alive and well, but he is about to turn 11, so kind of just like preparing myself for that.”

Their interest into the realm of filmmaking began when they were eight years old.

“I taught myself how to use iMovie. Every playdate was spent with me directing and basically making my friends be in my movies. I never thought I could go into this career-wise,” Lawrence said. “I wanted to be a game design major, but I designed pretty last minute to switch that to film because that’s where my passion lies.”

While it isn’t Lawrence’s first film festival, they are excited to share their vision with the audience while in the audience.

“I’m super excited to see people’s reactions around me because even in my class when I showed this, there was some people crying and stuff so I think’ll it’ll be cool to blend into the audience for a bit just so I can see what my film made other people feel,” Lawrence said.

The HIFF runs from April 18 to April 21. Tickets for the HIFF can be purchased on their website.