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MFF audiences pick favorite pix

June 24, 2010
The Maui News
WAILEA — Crowds of around 15,000 turned out for the 11th annual Maui Film Festival at Wailea and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, which concluded its five-day run Sunday. Sparked by appearances by young actor Zac Efron, surfing film producer-director Taylor Steele and numerous film artists showing their work at the outdoor Celestial Cinema and the MACC’s Castle Theater, this festival offered one of the strongest film lineups in its history. “Months ago, I chose the mantra ‘Trust the Future’ for the 2010 Maui Film Festival,” said festival director Barry Rivers. “And the future delivered big time with a stellar list of Audience Award-winning and crowd-pleasing films.” Audiences voted on their favorites with ballots at each screening. “Happythankyoumoreplease,” written and directed by star Josh Radnor and co-starring Malin Akerman, was the big winner, taking the Audience Award for Dramatic Feature. Other Audience Awards showed the depth of this year’s film offerings. The Comedy Feature award went to “Cyrus,” written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and Catherine Keener. “Queen of the Sun,” about the wonders of bees, was chosen best Documentary Feature. The audience vote in the World Cinema Drama category resulted in a tie between “The Concert,” a slapstick culture clash directed by Radu Mihaileanu, and “Nowhere Boy,” a biography of a 15-year-old John Lennon, directed by Sam Taylor and starring Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff. “Wasteland,” directed by Lucy Walker about an inspiring work of art growing out of the world’s largest trash pile, won the World Cinema Documentary prize. “Boy,” a Maori comedy from New Zealand directed by Taika Waititi, won the Independent Vision award. Australia’s whimsical musical comedy “Bran Nue Dae,” directed by Andrew Lesnie, was the audience choice for Family Friendly Film. Taylor Steele’s planet-spanning surfing opus “Castles in the Sky” was voted Visionary Documentary. Junichi Suzuki’s “442 — Live with Honor, Die with Dignity” won a Special Prize for Courage and Commitment. Other special prize awards went to “Green” for Compassionate Vision and “Home” for Cinematography. The Audience Award for Made in Hawaii Documentary resulted in a tie between “Hana Surf Girls,” exploring life in the remote East Maui village, and “Ho‘okele Wa‘a,” a vision of sustainability for the future. In the short-film categories, “Stones” won the Made in Hawaii prize; “Little Miss Eyeflap” won for World Cinema; “God of Love” was best Short Film; and “The Butterfly Circus” took a Special Prize for Transformative Cinema. — Rick Chatenever

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