HONOLULU — Already home to the prestigious Maui Writers Conference held over Labor Day weekend, the Valley Isle this week inaugurates its first major film festival with some 20 films and docs shown at two open-air theaters: one a golf course and the other the No. 1 beach in the United States.
The Maui Film Festival kicked off Wednesday and continues through Saturday. Fest opened with DreamWorks’ animated feature “Chicken Run,” the first full-length feature film from Aardman Studios, with the voices of Mel Gibson and Miranda Richardson. Other films being shown include “Passion of Mind” with Demi Moore; the romantic comedy “Bossa Nova;” the French film “Girl on the Bridge;” and the black comedy “One More Kiss” by Vadim Jean.
Unique to this film festival are two outdoor theaters, both at Wailea on Maui’s southwest shore: the Under-the-Stars Celestial Cinema on a golf course; and the SandDance Theater on Wailea Beach; the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on the east side of the island is showing films days and evenings.
The outdoor theaters have proven to be festival director Barry Rivers’ biggest challenge. Two 50-foot poles had to be installed with a mass of wires to hold the poles and the 47-by-21-foot screen in place. A special trailer was built for the projector and the Dolby Digital sound system.
Rivers expects this year’s festival to draw 5,000, split equally between mainland visitors and Hawaii residents. The Maui festival on Saturday will present two awards: the Silversword Lifetime Achievement and Spirit of Aloha Audience honors.