Maui Film Festival
A blanket of stars above a cast of stars below
The Maui Film Festival continues its impressive schedule of inspiring, entertaining and provocative offerings today through Sunday on screens in Wailea and Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.
Whether you are drawn to comedy, drama, documentaries, action/adventure or films about local life and culture, if you’re passionate about movies, you can’t go wrong with any films in this year’s thoughtful collection. Your biggest decision might very well be selecting a preferred venue — traditional seating in an indoor theater or camped out on the cushioned greens of a Wailea golf course.
The following films, organized by date, venue and times, promise to transport you off island or plunge you deeper into the soul of human experience. From surf culture and teenage angst to the wilds of Africa and the majestic rise of mountains, there’s a film here for every buff.
Celestial Cinema in Wailea
“ANDY IRONS: KISSED BY GOD” > 8 P.M.
Surfer Magazine nailed it when they made clear that this deeply moving and wise one-of-a-kind documentary, that also has incredible footage of a life lived to surf, honestly reveals the triumphs and tragedies of Andy Irons life. Moreover, because its filmmakers had the wisdom to allow those closest to Andy to bring his true story to life, its power lies in its transparency. It will thrill you, drill you and absolutely move you to tears of joy and sorrow. It is simply a complex and complete, perfect surfer yet imperfect icon’s hero’s journey. It is brilliant and not to be missed.
“VAGUE A L’AME” > 10 P.M.
Chasing giant swells is every surfer’s dream that can quickly turn into nightmare. This documentary offers an underground look into the blood, sweat and tears that goes into big wave conquest. The film tells the full story of what it takes to chase down and ride the heaviest waves on the planet through the lens of director, Vincent Kardasik, and starring iconic chargers, Shane Dorian and Benjamin Sanchis.
“IDEAL HOME” > 8 P.M.
A touching and humorous story starring Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan as a couple not ready to give up their extravagant lifestyles to become guardians of a ten-year-old boy who is the son of Coogan’s character’s one and only one-night-stand. Funny, thoughtful, touching and a great life lesson in how an unexpected event can result in enough love to bring about the understanding of the value of family, and then cause you to choose to rebuild your life around it.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOBY SIMPSON” > 10 P.M.
Need a laugh? Who doesn’t? Winner of the Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Music awards at the recent British Independent Film Festival, this delightful-slash-beautiful story is about a thirty-something ‘suit’ who sneaks into a music festival to retrieve his stolen belongings, only to end up finding love and freedom instead.
CastleTheater at the MACC
“KEEPERS OF THE MAGIC” > 3 P.M.
Vittorio Storaro, Gordon Willis and Roger Deakins are among the ten cinematographers featured in this breathtaking journey through cinematic images that have transfixed audiences around the world. The film both provides insight into how cinema’s most iconic moments came to be, and honors the relatively unsung heroes whose vision and talent were always right before our eyes.
“MOUNTAIN” > 5 P.M.
Whether venturing inside a Sherpa monastery or recording a mountain expanding and contracting as though breathing via the magic of time-lapse photography, there are moments of great beauty in this film’s hold-your-breath magnificence. Gliding shots of snow-capped mountains ringed by clouds and the daredevils who climb them across continents armed with drones and Go-Pros from Tibet to Australia to Alaska. Narrated by Willem Dafoe.
“PUZZLE” > 7:30 P.M.
Mauian Marc Turtletaub, producer of the Academy Award-winning “Little Miss Sunshine,” directs a cast, including the uber-talented Kelly Macdonald and Irrfan Khan, in this gentle yet powerful story of a woman’s unexpected mid-life discovery that she’s a jigsaw-puzzle prodigy, which brings with it a newly discovered independent streak that changes her life forever.
“BACK TO BURGUNDY” > 8 P.M.
If there’s ever been a more perfect film to enjoy after the Taste of Wailea than “Bottle Shock,” which rocked the Celestial Cinema in 2008, the story-telling power of wine and the challenges of creating a wine for the ages is beautifully and passionately explored in this story of a fictional French wine-making family. If you believe, as Michelangelo wrote, that “Wine is sunlight suspended in water” — this film was made for you.
“OFF THE MENU” > 10 P.M.
An unlikely heir to a Mexican fast-food franchise goes ‘cuisine’ hunting for the next culinary big thing, and finds himself in a small, dusty New Mexican town where foodies come from all over to salivate over the culinary treats of a local, authentic and feisty female chef. This is a charming romantic comedy about life, love and the transformative power of food. It is funny, unashamedly sweet and mouthwateringly delicious to watch.
“THE BOOKSHOP” > 3 P.M.
This opening night film at the Seattle International Film Festival, stars Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy and the always amazing Maui Film Festival-Honoree Patricia Clarkson. Set in a small town in 1959 England, a woman decides to open a bookshop against polite but ruthless local opposition — a decision which becomes a political minefield, but helps her connect to a kindred spirit.
“HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL” > 5 P.M.
Hope Gracin is known as “the girl dying of cancer” and has fully embraced this identity … until her tests show that she is cured. Hope, unsure of what her new future holds, hides the truth. But as what happens with most secrets, the truth comes out. With the help of her friends and loved ones, Hope faces her fear of living only to discover the beauty of living.
“CALLING ALL EARTHLINGS” > 7:30 P.M.
A 1950’s Howard Hughes employee-confidante, George Van Tassel, uses alien guidance and Nikola Tesla’s ideas to build a time machine – The Integratron. Van Tassel’s tale and the Integratron meet an unexpected end: the “workings” of the dome finally emerge. The unusual story is told by historians, astronomers and current residents of Joshua Tree, including the stewards of the Integratron, the Karl Sisters, and a galaxy of believers and skeptics alike.
“SHE IS THE OCEAN” > 8 P.M.
Inna Blokhina’s full-length documentary about great women from all four corners of the globe who share one love — their deep love for the ocean. They include Big Wave Surfers Keala Kennelly and Andrea Moller, Pro Surfer Coco Ho, Surfing Prodigy Cinta Hansel, Marine Biologist Ocean Ramsey, High Diver Anna Bader, Free Diver Rose Molina, Soul Surfer Jeannie Chesser and Oceanographer Sylvia Earle.
“THE SERENGETI RULES” > 10 P.M.
Beginning in the 1960s, a small band of young scientists head out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Over more than 40 years, they traveled the world and immersed themselves in some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth. What they discovered flips our view of nature and gives us a chance to reimagine the world as it could and should be.
“ZOO” > 1 P.M.
The remarkable true story, set in Belfast, Ireland in 1941, tells the tale of a village that saved a baby elephant during the air raids of World War II. A perfect film for a Father’s Day matinee with your kids or to remember what magic there can be even in the tumult of war.
“SHORT FILM SHOWCASE” > 3 P.M.
Ten shorts ranging from the “I Heart New York” iconic branding story; two beautiful, smart and powerful women’s exploration of their lives and sexuality; a beyond brave school girl in Pakistan driven to be a singer and more.
“DIRT RICH” > 5 P.M.
While climate change is very real, this documentary addresses geo-therapy strategies that are already — and over time — returning our atmosphere to safe levels of carbon while “growing” healthy soil (our most precious resource), and coincidentally, supporting the health of the oceans of Earth at the same time.
“LIVING IN THE FUTURE’S PAST” > 7:30 P.M.
This trailblazing documentary asks, what kind of future do we want to live in? Jeff Bridges produced and co-wrote a film that upends our way of thinking and provides original insights into our subconscious motivations, the unintended consequences and how our fundamental nature influences our future as humankind.
MAUI FILM FESTIVAL TICKETS AND VENUE INFO
Catch individual films or purchase passes for access to multiple screenings and events today through Sunday at Wailea Gold & Emerald Golf Course in Wailea resort and Castle Theater at Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.
Popular passes are listed below, but there are additional passes that include festival-related events and other purchase options. Check www.mauifilmfest.com.
• Celestial Cinema Single Admission: $24
• Celestial Cinema 4-Click Pass: $88
• Comet Pass – Includes Taste of Chocolate and all films: $375
• StarDust Pass – Includes Taste of Wailea and all films: $375
• Kids Under 12 Celestial Cinema $10
For more information or to view and purchase tickets or passes, visit www.mauifilmfest.com.
Photos courtesy Maui Film Festival