Maui film fest adds days, pics, venue

Event's growth comes with $1 million price tag

WAILEA, Hawaii — The Maui Film Festival is expanding in its second year.

The June 13-17 festival has added a fifth day of screenings, increased the number of films from 15 to 38, added a third venue — the Maui Digital Theater at the Grand Wailea Resort — and scheduled two more nights for its popular SandDance Theater on the beach fronting several luxury hotels.

Films being shown this year include Santa Barbara Film Festival Audience Award winner “Amy’s Orgasm”; “Bread and Tulips,” winner of nine Donatello Awards; “Bride of the Wind,” directed by Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy”); and “Delivering Milo,” starring Bridget Fonda and Albert Finney.

But the growth comes at a price, costing more than triple last year’s $300,000 to nearly $1 million, said Barry Rivers, festival executive director.

“There are so many film festivals in the world we’re competing against that even if we have the aura of Maui, Maui, Maui going for us, we must be perceived as serious and established and mature,” said Rivers, who hopes to sell 7,500 tickets, a thousand more than in 2000.

Key to the event’s success last year was the festival’s main venue, the Celestial Theater at Wailea, a $130,000 setup on a golf course driving range in Wailea, one of the Maui’s priciest locales with unparalleled views of islands Lanai and Kahoolawe.

Director Tim Burton attended as recipient of the festival’s first Silversword Award given for a body of work.

Rivers declined to reveal notables attending this year, saying the studio of the debuting film threatened to pull it if the title leaks prior to screening.

The festival also includes special dinners, like the Taste of Wailea featuring Maui’s top chefs, and panels with visiting filmmakers.

For information visit the website www.mauifilmfestival.com or call the Maui Film Festival office at (808) 579-9244.