Maui Film Festival to honor Dunst, Larson

WAILEA – Two young actresses – one already a veteran of blockbusters and festival awards, the other’s career on the rise in numerous upcoming releases – will bring their star power to Wailea in June when they are honored at the 2013 Maui Film Festival.

“The Maui Film Festival is ecstatic to announce Kirsten Dunst and Brie Larson as two of 2013’s honorees,” announced festival director Barry Rivers this morning. “They are both not only beautiful women inside and out but are also talented nearly beyond description and uniquely passionate in their portrayals of the characters they bring to life. I have no doubt each of their Celestial Cinema big screen tributes will be spectacular.”

The festival returns June 12 to 16 to the Wailea Resort and Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. All of the award celebrity tributes will take place under the stars at the Celestial Cinema, the festival’s spectacular outdoor amphitheater, located at the Wailea Gold & Emerald Golf Course.

The festival had previously announced its opening-night selection, “Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau,” honoring the iconic Hawaiian waterman, with several members of the Aikau family in attendance.

Dunst – whose roles range from Mary Jane Watson, the love of “Spider-Man’s” life, to Justine in “Melancholia,” for which she won best actress prizes from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and National Association of Film Critics – will accept the festival’s Pathfinder Award. The award “honors an actor or actress whose eclectic choices and charismatic performances encourage us all to expand our definition of what it means to be human,” according to a festival news release.

She began appearing in TV commercials at the age of 3, making more than 50 of them before debuting on the big screen in 1989 in Woody Allen’s “New York Stories.” The 32-year-old actress already has more than 25 performances in her filmography, including “Upside Down,” “On the Road,” “Marie Antoinette,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Bring It On,” “The Virgin Suicides,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “Wag the Dog,” “Interview with the Vampire” and more.

She directed the short film “Welcome,” which screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and recently wrapped production on the short film “Bastard,” which she directed and co-wrote. She stars with Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac in Hossein Amini’s “The Two Faces of January,” set for release later this year.

At age 23, Larson will accept the festival’s Rising Star Award, honoring “a young film artist for daring to dream big dreams and then delivering brilliant performances when opportunity knocks.” Her most recent star turn came in “Short Term 12,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s SXSW film festival. That film was made by Destin Cretton, who was born and raised on Maui and graduated from Maui High School before heading for college and film school. Cretton is hoping to attend the Maui festival screening of his film.

Larson appeared in other SXSW selections, “The Spectacular Now” and “Don Jon,” and screened “Weighting,” which she co-directed, at the event.

Larson’s filmography also includes co-starring with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in “21 Jump Street,” as well as key roles in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “Greenberg,” “The League” and her portrayal of Kate in Showtime’s breakout drama “United States of Tara.”

Other announcements of Maui Film Festival honorees and more scheduling details are expected in coming weeks. For tickets, passes or more information, visit or call 579-9244.

* Rick Chatenever, now retired, is the former editor of Maui Scene.