Get reel: FirstLight

Maui Film Festival’s Academy screenings continue at MACC

“Human Flow” by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei will lead off the remaining film festival lineup starting at 2 p.m. Saturday. Photo courtesy Amazon Studios and Participant Media

Maui Film Festival’s 19th annual FirstLight: Academy Screenings on Maui continues at Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater in Kahului for the holidays with centerpiece screenings Saturday and Tuesday; followed by closing night films Wednesday.

The main thing Maui Film Festival and FirstLight founder and director Barry Rivers wants people to know is that this year is a return to its roots.

Starting in 1999 and into the next decade and beyond, FirstLight showed only films that were not yet available to enjoy on Maui (although they did screen in New York City, Los Angeles and Aspen, Colo.).

Now, it’s back to its roots, adding a certain sizzle for isle film buffs. Rivers wants all to enjoy the star-studded lineup with friends, family, and visiting and local members of film industry guilds.

Since its inaugural year, Maui Film Festival has presented more than 500 Academy Award-nominated films with more than 200 Oscar winners. Below is the lineup. Take note that due to popular demand, FirstLight’s opening film, “Downsizing,” will encore next week.

This still frame is from producer Angelina Jolie’s animated feature film, “The Breadwinner,” about female empowerment in pre-war Afghanistan. GKIDS photo

2 p.m. Saturday

“HUMAN FLOW” (118 minutes. Rated PG-13)

Perhaps the most important film of the year, “Human Flow” is directed by world renowned dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and is about the most challenging problem of the 20th century — refugees in search of peace and a place to call home. This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that defines this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom and respect for humanity?

5 p.m. Saturday

“ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD” (132 minutes. Rated R)

“Hostiles” stars Christian Bale (left) and Wes Studi. Photo courtesy Neon

With three Golden Globe nods to its credit, “All The Money In The World” boasts Best Director Ridley Scott, Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama Michelle Williams and Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Drama Christopher Plummer. This potent dramatic thriller explores the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather to pay the ransom. It’s the ultimate exploration of love over money.

8 p.m. Saturday

“BREATHE” (118 minutes. Rated PG-13)

Acclaimed actor Andy Serkis (“Lord of the Rings,” “Planet of the Apes”) makes a directorial debut with an inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who triumph over adversity in a heartwarming celebration of human possibility. Starring Academy Award-nominee Andrew Garfield and Golden Globe-winner Claire Foy (“The Crown”). The Hollywood Reporter wrote “a touchingly sweet portrait” of lifelong love.

2 p.m. Tuesday

“THE BREADWINNER” (93 minutes. PG-13)

Angelina Jolie is executive producer of this recent Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature. The powerful and intense real world story, directed by Nora Twomey, is a gorgeously animated, visually captivating story of female empowerment as exemplified in the courage of one young girl. Living in Afghanistan under the Taliban in the lead-up to the 2001 U.S. invasion, she takes an epic journey to find her father.

5 p.m. Tuesday

“HOSTILES” (127 minutes. Rated R)

Academy Award-winner Christian Bale stars with Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike, Spirit Award-winner Ben Foster, phenom Timothee Chalamet and Wes Studi in this powerful Western redemption tale set against the most stunningly photographed American West you’ve likely ever seen on film. A Native American chief and his family travel from Arizona to their ancestral Montana home. Directed by Scott Cooper, “Hostiles” searches for signs of hope arising from the ashes of mistrust and mistreatment on a perilous journey.

8 p.m. Tuesday

“I, TONYA” (119 minutes. Rated R)

With Golden Globe nods for Best Picture and actors Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” is based on real-life ice skater Tonya Harding’s team efforts to derail Nancy Kerrigan, her key competitor for a Figure Skating Gold Medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway. Playlist raved, “A knockout! The ‘Goodfellas’ of Figure Skating.” Rolling Stone added “holds a mirror up to the America most of us dismiss — and makes us see ourselves reflected in it. ‘I, Tonya’ is funny as hell, but the pain is just as real. You’ll laugh till it hurts.”

2 p.m. Wednesday

“DOWNSIZING” (1:35 minutes. Rated R)

This is an encore by popular demand. Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig star in the sci-fi comedy of humans who get small to ease stress and save the planet.

5 p.m. Wednesday

“THE FLORIDA PROJECT” (115 minutes. Rated R)

Willem Dafoe, just nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, stars alongside Valeria Cotto and 7-year-old revelation Brooklynn Prince, in this candy- colored cinematic universe from director Sean Baker. Set in Florida’s kitschy visual landscape, this film is empathetic, bittersweet and heartbreaking, a slice of extended family life. Critic Joshua Axelrod raved, “It was equal parts whimsical child fantasy and very real adult drama and it simultaneously broke my heart and opened my eyes!”

8 p.m. Wednesday

“MOLLY’S GAME” (140 minutes. Rated R)

Director and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin tells the based-on-a-true story of Molly Bloom, a beautiful, young, daring entrepreneur who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknown to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led people to believe. Golden Globe revealed nominations for Jessica Chastain, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama; and Aaron Sorkin for Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture.

FirstLight at a glance:

• How much: VIP FastPass offers entry to four films at $12 each ($48 for the pass), which can be shared with family and friends. Single tickets are $14 for adults; $10 for teens ages 13 to 16 for PG & PG-13 films; and free for kids 12 and younger. Guild members of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences get in for free.

• CandleLight Cafe: Will jump with food, drink and desserts (see Side Orders).

• For tickets or more details: Visit www.maui filmfestival.com.

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