Maui Connections

Singer/songwriter Brooks Maguire shares this story that began in Lahaina in the ’90s when he was playing weekly gigs at Cheeseburger in Paradise.

“Nearly 20 years ago, a dad and his daughter were sitting in the audience,” he recalls. Brooks mostly did covers, but he threw an original into the set — “The Reunion.”

“It’s a poignant ballad of a dad and a daughter sharing their heartfelt thoughts with each other as they stand at the back of the church before the father walks his daughter down the aisle to be married,” he says. “The song caught the attention of both the dad and his daughter.”

They bought a CD, which they kept listening to during their vacation and after they returned home. Through the years, the daughter often told her dad, “When I grow up and get married, I want to use this song for our daddy-daughter dance with you!”

Flash forward to last January, when Brooks receives an email from an unknown address. “We have finally found you!” says the subject line.

The girl had grown up, was getting married, and she and her father still fondly remembered the song. The father was writing to see if Brooks could show up as a surprise wedding guest, and play it live.

“It was a no-brainer to return the email with an unequivocal, ‘YES!’ “ says Brooks.

The dad made all the arrangements, and that’s what Brooks was doing in Milwaukee on Sunday.

“I am beyond honored and humbled that a song I sang and recorded decades ago would fulfill my greatest purpose and desire to touch hearts and lives of people at the deepest level!” says the musical artist who will be releasing his latest CD, “Changed,” any day now. You can order it on his website, www.brooksmaguire.com or digitally on iTunes, Spotify and other outlets.

* * *

Director Robert C. Stone emails to say his documentary “The Edge of Paradise” recently premiered at the grand opening of Kauai’s Anaina Hou Community Center Pavilion in Kilauea. It quickly sold out, then sold out an added screening, so now they’re planning to screen it again Sept. 1, followed by a rollout across the state on the Big Island, Maui and Oahu.

Featuring gorgeous black-and-white photos by producer John Wehrheim, Bob’s documentary tells of a hippie treehouse commune that sprang up in 1969 on Kauai land owned by Elizabeth Taylor’s brother Howard.

The rollicking, touching, wistful film drew enthusiastic responses from Maui audiences when it was titled “Taylor Camp.” The rebranded version features new interviews and surfing footage, all in eye-popping high definition.

* * *

Also on Maui’s filmmaking front, Ken Martinez Burgmaier has inked a three-year deal with Netflix for “2307 Winter’s Dream,” the futuristic award-winning sci-fi adventure he co-produced.

Ken is working with his frequent collaborator, Academy Award nominee Joey Curtis, developing three new projects. They include “a heavy, intense drama about relationships and some subjects never seen before on the silver screen,” as well as a Hawaiian warrior-style Robin Hood battling Hawaii’s epidemic drug problems and an animation-adventure movie.

Joey is also in the editing stage of a new Hawaiian documentary on the “Hawaiian Aumakua,” directed and produced by Ken, with “some of Hawaii’s most respected kapuna, kumu, musicians, actors and ‘ohana.”

* * *

Speaking of rebranding, this is the last time you’re going to be reading about the Maui-made movie “Kuleana” I’ve written about so often in this column.

That’s because it now has a new name — “Maui.”

With support from Maui Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett, writer-director Brian Kohne has received support from the Maui Visitors Bureau to market the film domestically and globally. Brian voices the hope that, “The movie will be seen, shared, discussed, debated forever, and our message will be absorbed by many who may develop a greater appreciation and respect for our island . . . our traditions, our history. Our people.”

* * *

Since my so-called retirement six years ago, I’ve been fortunate to collaborate on several projects with talented Maui filmmakers.

Considering the strict conflict-of-interest guidelines I learned as a newspaperman, it was sometimes challenging to know which hat to wear as I journalistically covered movies that I had scripted, or co-produced, or played some other role on.

Turns out, it’s not a problem. My filmmaking career has been more labor of love than commercial enterprise. When a radio interviewer once commended a filmmaking team I was on as “not being in it for the money,” I corrected her.

“Oh, we’re in it for the money,” I said. “We’re just not any good at that part.”

Unintentionally nonprofit, you might say.

* Rick Chatenever, award-winning columnist and former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist, instructor at UH-Maui College and documentary scriptwriter/producer. Contact him at rickchatenever@gmail.com.


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