Maui’s Heavenly Film Fest

“The Celestial Cinema is mind-blowing! And also one of the best places anywhere in the world to launch a movie” —Trevor Groth, Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival

 A bit of Hollywood meets a lot of Polynesia at the 2017 Maui Film Festival, running today through Sunday, June 25. With stars like Pierce Brosnan and Freida Pinto among this year’s festival honorees, and film screenings that range from dramedy “Grand Unified Theory” to “Take Every Wave, director Rory Kennedy’s biopic on surf legend Laird Hamilton, the festival is a sensational five-day orgy of non-stop foodie events, movie watching, filmmaker talks, live concerts and Hawaiʻian entertainment.

Perhaps the most magical, crowd-pleasing feature is the nightly outdoor viewing of new films and island-themed movies in the festival’s “Celestial Cinema” set on the grassy grounds of the Wailea Golf Academy, where most patrons view films from beach mats or lawn chairs.

Hollywood honorees include four-time Emmy nominee Connie Britton, will be awarded with the Navigator Award for carving a path of distinction in the entertainment industry, including standout roles in “Friday Night Lights,” “This Is Where I Leave You,” “24,” “The West Wing,” and “Nashville.” The award will be presented on June 21st before a screening of “Beatriz at Dinner,” in which Connie stars at the Celestial Cinema at 8PM, Wednesday, June 21.

On June 22, Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire”) will receive the Shining Star Award at 8PM, Thursday, June 22 at the Celestial Cinema.

A two-time Golden Globe Award nominee, producer, environmentalist, philanthropist, and artist, Pierce Brosnan will receive the Pathfinder Award for his eclectic choices and charismatic performances. The award will be presented at 8PM Friday, June 23, the same night as a screening of “Poisoning Paradise,” of which Pierce is the Executive Producer and his wife Keely directed. At the Celestial Cinema.

The festival’s upscale foodie events include the Taste of Wailea, Taste of Summer and Taste of Chocolate—all providing palate-pleasing sampler plates crafted by top local chefs. There’s plenty to drink too, from bottomless chalices of Stella Artois to ice bars featuring Maui-made Pau Vodka and island-style rum drinks.

Passes range from $48 (a multi-user pass for four admissions to films at the Maui Art & Cultural Center/MACC), $80 for a multi-user Celestial Cinema Pass (4 admissions, including film premieres, tributes and live music), $140 for the Taste of Summer opening party on June 21 from 5PM-7PM at the Grand Wailea Resort (includes admission to Wednesday’s Celestial Cinema double feature and festivities), Taste of Chocolate on June 23 from 10PM to midnight at the Fours Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (including admission to Friday’s Celestial Cinema), and $140 for Taste of Wailea (the festival’s over-the-top culinary arts celebration) on June 24 from 4:30PM to 7PM at the Wailea Golf Academy (includes admission to the Saturday’s Celestial Cinema double feature and festivities).

A “Shooting Star” pass ($200) includes priority admission to all films and festivities at the Celestial Cinema and the MACC’s Castle and McCoy Theatres plus all filmmaker panels at the Wailea Beach Marriott. The Twilight, Comet and Stardust passes ($335 each) have all the benefits of the Shooting Star pass plus respective admissions to Taste of Summer, Taste of Chocolate and Taste of Wailea. A $650 Cosmos ticket gets you everything under the stars.

Screening calendars and honorees for this year’s festival will be posted on the festival website in early June. Check the Maui Film Festivals website for the latest information.

Ben Davidson

Feature Image Photo Credit: Randy Jay Braun

Mimi Towle

Mimi Towle

View more of Mimi's reviews here.
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