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November 3, 2010 - Rick Chatenever
Halloween or not, I have kept my streak percent, seeing none — as in zero —of the “Saw” movies, even though I knew the latest 3-D addition to the series would cut its way to the top of the box office charts.
Although I’ve been told there is a life-is-worth-living message under all the “Saw” movies’ cruel and unusual devices to pierce, amputate and otherwise mutilate the human body, it feels like real life is too short to find out for myself.
Besides, there’s all sorts of local movie news of a more uplifting nature to report.
The Valley Isle is still enjoying the afterglow of Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter,” whose terrifying opening scenes were filmed in and around Lahaina last January. Aside from the almost prescient aspect of the scenes’ re-creation of an Indonesian tsunami wave devastating a beachfront resort, a production still from the scene has been the shot seen round the world for 8-year-old Mauian Jessica Griffiths.
The photo, showing Jessica and the film’s star Cécile de France, hand in hand, trying to outrun the giant wave coming up Front Street, was last seen in People Magazine.
When another tsunami recently hit the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, it spurred Maui Film Festival Director Barry Rivers to put together a special double feature of surf and extreme action films “Who Is J.O.B” and “Playgravity” to benefit Surf-Aid International’s efforts to help survivors and families affected by the recent disaster.
Maui Film Festival is returning to its old Wednesday night slot next week in the MACC’s Castle Theater for the screenings, “Playgravity” at 6 and 9 p.m. and “Who Is J.O.B” at 7:30 p.m.
“Who Is J.O.B” tells of Jamie O’Brien, whose semi-deafness may have been an assets in his rise to become one of the most daring and controversial big-wave riders around. “Playgravity” serves up action-packed HD footage of snowboarding, paragliding, base jumps and free rides off mountain faces. Jamie O’Brien and “Playgravity” filmmaker Ueli Kastenholz will introduce their films and field Q&A sessions afterward.
Barry is currently in the process of firming up plans for the festival’s annual FirstLight screenings in Castle Theater. An island tradition, the screenings showcase virtually all of the year’s best movies — the ones the studios expect to be in contention for Academy Awards and other prizes as awards season approaches.
FirstLight will have some screenings during Thanksgiving week, then to go into high gear over the holidays, during the last two weeks in December. Keep watching Maui Scene or check the Maui Film Festival website, www.mauifilmfestival.com for updates.
Plans have also firmed up for the eagerly awaited Maui premiere of “Get a Job,” the rollicking homegrown comedy starring Willie K, Eric Gilliom, a host of island music and comedy stars, and lots of your friends and neighbors.
Fresh from two screenings at the Hawaii International Film Festival, tickets are now on sale for the gala Maui premiere at the MACC — featuring a Castle Theater screening followed by a concert outside in the center’s new pavilion — beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28.
Tickets are $17 (plus applicable fees), available from the MACC box office, 242-7469, or www.mauiarts.org.
“Get a Job” writer/director Brian Kohne set up the premiere as a benefit with all proceeds going to the MACC’s arts and education programs. Audience members are also required to bring nonperishable food items for collection by the Maui Food Bank.
Attendees will receive a collectible “Get a Job” poster, suitable for autographing by the film’s stars, cast and crew who will be on hand following the screening. Dr. Nat and the Get A Job All-Star Band will provide the music — and who knows what Maui music legends (and stars of the film) are liable to sit in? In addition to all the local-style film glitz, Maui native Kohne sees the gala event as a way of thanking the local community for its contributions to this unique project.
“This film reflects the love and support of our community, so we plan to celebrate with our people and collect as much food for the Maui Food Bank as possible!” said star Gilliom in a release.
His Grammy-nominated sister, Amy Hanaiali‘i, another of the film’s stars, added, “Many of us owe our careers as performers, writers, and producers to folks such as Sue Ann Loudon of the Baldwin Drama Guild, and Linda Takita of the Maui Youth Theater. The MACC’s Arts & Education programs continues the tradition by inspiring our children to explore and fulfill their potential through exposure to the arts.”
Produced by Stefan Schaefer, “Get a Job” reunites Willie K and Gilliom from their Barefoot Natives incarnation, casting Willie as an employment counselor and Gilliom as his biggest challenge. It co-stars Oahu’s Carolyn Omine (taking a break from her duties as writer and executive producer of “The Simpsons”), along with island music and comedy stars Augie T, Jake Shimabukuro, Henry Kapono Ka‘aihue, Kealoha and Ernie Cruz Jr.
Maui artists hitting the big screen include Charles Ka‘upu Kathy Collins, Avi Ronen, Alaka‘i Paleka, Marsha Kelly, Chelsea Hill, Bill Hensley, Vinnie Linares, Bill Kohne, Lloyd Gilliom, Dr. Nat, Phil Swatek, Camille Romero, Tony Takitani, Maya Iida, Erin Warner, Nalani Cleveland, Jaques Pauvert, Yaemi Yogi, Lana Queddeng, Leslie Alexander, Robert Kotter, Marty Dread, Dorothy Betz, Les Adams, Mana‘o Radio’s Babalou, and many more.
Resident Maui music legends including Mick Fleetwood, Willie Nelson, along with the Doobie Brothers’ Pat Simmons and his wife, Chris, are also along for the fun-filled ride.
And finally, another upcoming screening is also concerned about educating future generations —although it strikes a different note delivering the message.
The documentary “Race to Nowhere: the Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture” will screen at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at St. Anthony Church.
The Maui Independent Schools Association is presenting this powerful documentary directed by Vicki Abeles as a benefit for the association’s members — virtually all the nonpublic schools of the island — to bring in a speaker for the group’s next annual conference.
Tickets are $10, with reservations and more information available at rtnmauipremiere. eventbrite.com/.
To find out what the film’s talking about, check out the trailer at www.youtube.com/ watch?v =Uem73imvn 9Y.
It beats seeing “Saw,” hands down. • Contact Rick Chatenever at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AUBREY?HORD photo “Get a Job’s” “wedding band” included Henry Kapono Ka‘aihue (from left), Willie K, Lopaka Colon, Eric Gilliom, Mick Fleetwood, Pat Simmons, Lenny Castellanos and Willie Nelson. Who knows who will be on hand to play for the film’s premiere Nov. 28?