Smooth Maui fest’s a day at the beach

10,000 attendees estimated at event

MAUI — With a well-attended third edition of his Maui Film Festival under his belt, fest founder and co-director Barry Rivers talks like a man whose plans are falling neatly into place.

“We’re right where I always felt we should be by now,” Rivers said near the end of his June 12-16 celebration of cinema. “And a few years down the road, we’re hoping to incorporate standup comedy, plays, one-woman and one-man shows, puppetry and all kinds of other things. For me, the goal has always been to have an imagination festival. It’s just that a film festival was an easier thing for people to wrap their heads around as a first step.”

An estimated 10,000 festivalgoers wrapped themselves around the Maui 2002 film lineup, attending local premieres of such fare as Miguel Arteta’s “The Good Girl,” Peter Care’s “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys,” Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein’s “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” Burr Steers’ “Igby Goes Down,” Michael Corrente’s “A Shot at Glory,” Giuseppe Tornatore’s director’s cut of “Cinema Paradiso,” Joel Zwick’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (which drew the biggest crowd of any fest offering) and Finn Taylor’s “Cherish.”

Many films — including Gary Winick’s “Tadpole,” the opening-night attraction — were screened al fresco at the Celestial Cinema, an outdoor venue at the Wailea Golf Course

Documentaries loomed large on the lineup. Standouts included Srini Vasan’s “The Tantric Journal,” Danny Clinch’s “Pleasure and Pain: Ben Harper on Tour & More,” Mickey Lemle’s “Ram Dass: Fierce Grace” and Irene Greve’s “The Power of Truth: According to the Dalai Lama.”

Clint Eastwood, who has a home in Maui, attended the festival to receive the Piper-Heidsieck Silversword Award for lifetime achievement at a clips-and-questions program hosted by film critic Joel Siegel.

The following day, Siegel joined such notables as Premiere editor Fred Schruers, actress-filmmaker Rosanna Arquette (whose “Searching for Debra Winger” was a Maui 2002 offering) and former Paramount and Sony Pictures chief publicist Blaise Noto for a series of Saturday morning panel discussions.

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