“There’s definitely something going on in Wailea for these five days that tends not to happen the other 360 in the year. You can feel it,” says Barry Rivers, the festival’s founder. “You can feel the energy in the air.”
Every June, the peaceful resort enclave is abuzz with excitement over the return of the Maui Film Festival and all its glamorous accompaniments. Hailed as the “Sundance of the Pacific,” the festival is now in its 16th year showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Directors, filmmakers and actors flock to Wailea from all over the world.
Hundreds if not thousands of movies are submitted for consideration, and Rivers will ultimately select 50 to 60 for screening, joining the ranks of films such as “Whale Rider,” “Short-Term 12,” “Chicken Run” and “Maria Full of Grace.” A former film director, Rivers is committed to selecting films that are “passionately created, intelligently designed, and endlessly inspiring.”
Recognizable names and faces are everywhere, from the recipients of the festival’s awards (most recently Kirsten Dunst, Jessica Chastain and Brie Larsson) to the movie stars who have come to show support for their community and, of course, watch terrific films. Past attendees include Clint Eastwood, Dennis Quaid, Claire Danes and Woody Harrelson.
Aside from numerous screenings, the festival provides attendees with ample opportunities to indulge their palates. Stars of the culinary world turn out for Taste of Wailea. Top chefs from Wailea resorts prepare dishes to be served on the manicured hills of the resort’s golf courses overlooking the ocean.
This year will see film A-listers joined at the chef’s table of Capisce? for “Il Teatro,” an opening night special reception to which a select and lucky few will be able to purchase tickets.
For more information, visit www.mauifilmfestival.com.