Awards tributes will inaugurate Seaside Cinema

WAILEA – Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o along with accomplished young actresses Emma Roberts and Evan Rachel Wood will step off the movie screen next month, making the leap from reel to real to accept awards at the 2014 Maui Film Festival.

Festival Director Barry Rivers announced the honorees today. The festival returns to the Wailea Resort June 4 to 8.

“For an event that’s often been referred to as a ‘jewel box’ film festival, this year’s intelligent, talented and beautiful (both inside and out) list of luminaries seamlessly fits into the tapestry of ‘diamonds, rubies and pearls’ we have honored since our inception in 2000,” said Rivers. “To say the least, we’re thrilled beyond words.”

The awards tributes will inaugurate a brand-new Maui Film Festival venue – the Seaside Cinema Music Cafe and Sunset Lounge located on the Grand Wailea property. With sunsets providing the backdrop, the open-air lounge will seat around 400. It offers a more upscale, intimate and pricier addition to the festival schedule, with fixed seating and food and drink for purchase.

Its 7:30 p.m. star tributes will be in addition to a full schedule of screenings at the festival’s majestic outdoor signature Celestial Cinema, along with parties, filmmaker panels, free “Toes-in-the-Sand” screenings and food events over the five days at various Wailea locations. Screenings also will take place at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle and McCoy theaters.

Fresh from her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Patsey in Steve McQueen’s Best Picture winner, “12 Years a Slave,” Nyong’o’s Maui appearance follows recent fanfare at the Cannes Festival. On June 7, she will accept the 2014 Maui Film Festival’s Rainmaker Award, honoring “a film artist 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.

Born in Mexico in 1983 to Kenyan parents, she grew up in Kenya and was educated in the U.S., where she recently graduated from the Yale School of Drama’s acting program. “12 Years a Slave,” also starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and producer Brad Pitt, marked her feature film debut and also captured the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Independent Spirit Award and NAACP Award.

She recently appeared in the action thriller “Non-Stop” opposite Liam Neeson, Michelle Dockery and Julianne Moore. As a filmmaker, she was the creator, director, editor and producer of the award-winning feature-length documentary “In My Genes.” Her stage credits include lead roles in “The Winter’s Tale,” “Uncle Vanya,” “The Taming of the Shrew” and Michael Mitnick’s “Elijah.”

Roberts will receive the 2014 Maui Film Festival’s Shining Star Award on June 6, honoring “a film artist who dares to dream big dreams and delivers brilliantly charismatic and revelatory performances every time that opportunity knocks.” The daughter of actor Eric Roberts and Kelly Cunningham, and the niece of Julia Roberts, she currently can be seen in Gia Coppola’s directorial debut, “Palo Alto,” alongside James Franco and Jack Kilmer. She was part of the ensemble including Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis that made “We’re the Millers” the surprise summer comedy hit of 2013.

Earlier this year, she starred with John Cusack in “Adult World” directed by Scott Coffey. She also recently starred in the third installment of Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story: Coven” and will appear in “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” scheduled to premiere in the fall. For an actress of 23, she already has amassed a long filmography, beginning with “Blow” starring Johnny Depp, which essentially launched her career in 2001.

Versatile Wood will be honored June 8 with the 2014 Maui Film Festival’s Nova Award, recognizing “a film artist for their astonishingly original and seamless performances, and the way they consistently infuse each character that they embody with insight, humanity and wisdom.”

A supporting actress Golden Globe and Emmy nominee for her portrayal of Veda Pierce in the HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce,” she also earned acclaim playing Stephanie, the estranged daughter of Mickey Rourke’s character in “The Wrestler.”

Wood’s breakout role came in 2003 with Catherine Hardwicke’s controversial independent film, “Thirteen,” earning a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress in a Drama as well as a Best Actress SAG Award. She displayed her singing talents in 2007 as Lucy in Julie Taymor’s “Across the Universe.” She has been directed by Oscar winners Robert Redford (“The Conspirator”) and George Clooney, who also starred in “The Ides of March.”

Recent credits include “Charlie Countryman” with Shia LaBeouf,” “A Case of You” with Peter Dinklage and Sam Rockwell, and “Barefoot” with Scott Speedman,” capping an already long filmography for the 26-year-old actress.

The festival kicks off June 4 featuring documentaries about two Maui residents – “SuperMensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” at the Seaside Cinema and “Dying to Know” about LSD poster boy Timothy Leary and Haiku holy man Ram Dass in Castle Theater. Opening-night Celestial Cinema films are “Goddess” at 8 p.m. and “Taking My Parents to Burning Man” at 10 p.m.

Tickets, passes and more information are available at or by calling festival headquarters at 579-9244.

* Rick Chatenever can be reached at