Synopses edited from material provided by the Maui Film Festival. For more information, visit www.mauifilmfestival.com.
* Celestial Cinema
* Castle theater
“Bali: Life is an Offering”
“Family of the Wa‘a”
“Oxbow Walls of Perception”
"Bali: Life is an Offering" (10 tonight)
This picture-perfect film sumptuously celebrates Balinese culture. Every freeze-frame could be a poster in this place where the never-ending rituals of daily life - elaborate ceremonies and the flagrant disposal of carefully fashioned objects, plaited baskets of coconut stems full of flowers, lit incense and other simple objects of beauty, entrance all fortunate enough to visit or call Bali home.
"Beginners" (Saturday, 8 p.m.)
Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent star in writer/director Mike Mills' semi-autobiographical dramedy of a father (and his new lover) and son (and his new lover) that shines a light on what it means to be truly human. It does so with honesty, enthusiasm, humor, irreverence, unpredictability and a family dog, whose thoughts are given life courtesy of his own subtitles. On both Time Magazine's Top Films of Summer and indieWIRE 'Must See Films of Summer' lists. Rated R.
"Blue Sway" (Sunday, 8 p.m.)
Filmmaker Jack McCoy's rolling ballet of underwater imagery provides an immersion in the deep blue that has recently been included on a rerelease of "Blue Sway" a synth-based composition on Paul McCartney's experimental album "McCartney II."
"Building Hope" (5 tonight)
Turk and Christy Pipkin manifest a miracle when they travel to the mountains of East Africa to honor a pledge they made to Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Mathaai to design and build a school. Much of the joy of this film comes from the bounce, enthusiasm and laughter of the Kenyan villagers. To educate every child in the world for a year would cost less than the U.S. military spends in a week. What a concept.
"Burning Man: Voyage in Utopia" (Recommended for those 18 and older, Saturday, 10 p.m.)
Every summer more than 50,000 people migrate to Black Rock City in Nevada. Before they arrive there is nothing at Black Rock. After they go there is nothing at Black Rock. But for a brief moment, the site blooms into a civilized, orgiastic, paganistic, goofy-playful, temporary community that is also the largest interactive art show and the grandest expression of anything-goes heaven-on-earth utopia that our species has ever conceived.
"Conception" (Recommended for those 18 and older, Saturday, 8 p.m.)
These nine always honest, mostly hilarious, tales of love and lust, in which - endangered species alert: women get the best and most forceful roles - are shishkebobbed together into a sidesplitting meditation on the endearing foolishness of humanity, especially when the goal is to conceive, or absolutely not conceive, a child.
"Connected" (Friday, 8 p.m.)
Now that we're living in the 21st century, where are we? Now that we're all electronically connected, what are we supposed to do about that? Is it just a matter of sneaking off to the bathroom to check your emails on your smartphone, or are we caught in a new evolutionary stage as a species? The answer to all questions is "yes" in this cinematic essay by future watcher Tiffany Shlain, the founder of the Webby Awards.
"Family of the Wa'a" (Sunday, p.m.)
This six-years-in-the-making voyage of discovery follows an 'ohana of paddlers led by Kimokeo Kapahulehua and inspired by kumu Keli'i Tau'a in a steely combination of commitment, peak physical conditioning and mind over matter to travel 1,650 miles from Hawai'i Island to Kure Atoll. Premiere screening.
"Finding Joe" (Sunday, 6:30 p.m.)
Follow your bliss. These insightful words of wisdom were coined by mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, who continues to inspire generations of eclectically talented people - including Deepak Chopra, Tony Hawke, Laird Hamilton, Rashida Jones and Maui's own Alan Cohen, all of whom (along with many others) appear in this celebration of Campbell's genius. Premiere screening.
"The Future" (Friday, 10 p.m.)
Performance artist Miranda July is the lead player in and mastermind of this surprise. A musician, writer and filmmaker whose work won her a slot at a Sundance Festival workshop, her first film won the Camera d'Or prize at Cannes and top awards at many major U.S. festivals. This quirky story follows a couple who quit their jobs, unplug from technology and set out to follow their dreams in a dramedy on Time Magazine's Best Films of Summer and indieWIRE's '20 Must See Movies' lists.
"Hamill" (8 tonight)
This emotionally charged biopic tells how well-known American wrestler, mixed-martial artist, and Ultimate Fighting Champion Matt "The Hammer" Hamill overcame the challenges of being hearing impaired to find both his power and the love of his life. Winner of audience awards at six festivals including the prestigious AFI Fest presented by the American Film Institute.
"Happy" (Friday, 6:30p.m.)
On the list of happy countries, the U.S. with all its gas barbecue grills and smartphone apps is only number 25 on the happiness index. What's up with that? Academy Award-nominated director Roko Belic created this internationally searching and richly inspiring documentary. Dopamine - use it or lose it. Here's how.
"I Am" (Friday, 8 p.m.)
If you believe that greed is good, this is not the movie for you. Or perhaps it is. Successful Hollywood producer/director Tom Shadyac uses a bicycle accident that changed his life to discover that we are interconnected on a fundamental level -way deeper than Facebook. Dan Seigel writes in the Huffington Post that this film "lifts up the wellspring of compassion and empathy that is hard-wired in each of us."
"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" (Sunday, 3 p.m.)
Yes, this documentary is about sushi, and if you come hungry, you'll be sorry. The eye feasts upon the gemlike inventions 85-year-old Jiro Ono places singly on ceramic service plates, but the film is not so much about the craft as the craftsman. It is the study of a master-his dedication, his discipline and his restaurant, which with only 10 seats and nothing but sushi, is recognized as Tokyo's finest.
"The Last Mountain" (Saturday, 5 p.m.)
"If the American people could see it, there would be a revolution in this country," says Robert Kennedy Jr. about the head-on fight between the people of Appalachia who are bound and determined to save one mountain that hasn't been blown to smithereens by coal-mining companies, and Massey Energy. The people in this film are the living definition of how big social change only comes to those ready to fight for it. Rated PG.
"Last Night" (Saturday, 10 p.m.)
Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet are the easy-on-the-eyes quartet who bring this provocative exploration of infidelity to life while raising not-easy-to-answer questions about whether infidelity is an act of the body or the heart. Stylish and mesmerizing, this adult drama leaves viewers with delicious ambiguity leading everyone to a different conclusion.
"Life in a Day" (Sunday, 8 p.m.)
The opening-night film at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival directed by Academy Award-winner Kevin Macdonald was filmed entirely by the 82,000 people from 192 countries, collectively shooting more than 4,500 hours of video on the same day, July 24, 2010. The film was sent to YouTube, which then turned this experiment into an unforgettable 90-minute documentary.
"Love Shines" (Sunday, 8 p.m.)
Who's the singer/ songwriter whose work is praised and covered by such leading lights as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Ray Davies, John Hiatt, Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, and k.d. lang? And who's admired by Steve Earle, Leslie Feist, Keifer Sutherland, and Daniel Lanois (who produced remarkable soundscapes for U2, Bob Dylan, and Emmy Lou Harris)? And whose newest album was produced by legendary producer Bob Rock? Ron Sexsmith, that's who. If you love music this one's for you!
"Miss Representation" (6:30 TONIGHT )
Rosario Dawson, Katie Couric, Margaret Cho, Condaleeza Rice, Lisa Ling, Rachel Maddow are among those weighing in in this hard-hitting documentary about the impact of our culture's runaway, deregulated, greed-driven media and advertising companies on women, especially teenage girls, in America.
"Oxbow Walls of Perception" (Sunday, 8 p.m.)
Levi Siver, Matt Meola, Jason Polakow, Ian Alldredge, Kai Lenny and Duane Desoto prove that there is no wrong way to ride a wave. Shot in the Hawaiian Islands, France, Tahiti, Australia and elsewhere, this doc brings all the talents together in the Marshall Islands, a "magic playground" where these innovative athletes engage in every mode of wave-riding while pushing their boundaries with power, grace and style.
"The Physics of Surfing" (Sunday, 9 p.m.)
An incredible ride filled with sensory celebrations of the wave-rider's art. As the film climaxes in Pipeline barrels, you realize that surfing is actually a collision with the primary elements of the physical universe: life-forms plus wave-forms equals some real fun science.
"Submarine" (Friday, 8 p.m.)
Another Maui Film Festival Hawaii premiere on both Time Magazine's Best Movies of Summer and indieWIRE's "20 Must See Movies," this career-launching comedy, executive produced by Ben Stiller and directed by Richard Ayoade is a hilarious and touching coming-of-age tale that has graced the screens of London, Toronto, Berlin and Sundance. Rated R.
"Sun City Picture House" (8 TONIGHT)
2011 Maui Film Festival Shining Star Award honoree Olivia Wilde executive produced this powerful story about how, in only four days, residents of a post-earthquake tent city outside Port-au-Prince erect a movie house to lift the spirits and generate some laughter from children whose world was turned upside down. (See interview with producer Olivia Wilde on Page 2.)
"That First Glide" (CT, Saturday, 3 p.m.)
As much as we'd like to think this is a Maui story - perfected here, documented so clearly by Maui filmmaker Mike Waltze - SUP goes back to papyrus rafts in Mesopotamia, and it was as completely natural for Duke Kahanamoku and the Waikiki beach boys as it is today for Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Kai Lenny and uncounted numbers of SUP fanatics around the globe.
"Voice of the Xingu" (Saturday, 3 p.m.)
How many people actually put themselves on the front lines of the struggle and dedicate themselves to a specific people and place? Here's one for sure - lifeguard at Ho'okipa State Park, and first-time filmmaker Alfredo Villas Boas, who recently traveled into the western wilderness of Brazil on a paddleboard to demonstrate his support of the Xingu people, whose way of life is again threatened by 'progress'. Featuring James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver among others.
* Maui Scene / "Love Shines" screening. The Maui Film Festival will screen "Love Shines," a music documentary about Ron Sexsmith, at 5 p.m. today in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The wrong time and day appeared in a synopsis of the film on Page 9 of Thursday's Maui Scene.
The Maui News apologizes for the errors.