Imagine yourself in an outdoor cinema in warm, wonderful Maui. Kicking back on a lush lawn under a ceiling of Polynesian stars, you watch a stream of new and novel films with a crowd of fellow film buffs, everyone just hanging out in shorts, sarongs and rubbah slippahs. Sweet!
Both festive and upscale, the Maui Film Festival (June 21-25 in Wailea and Kahului) attracts crowds of locals, island visitors, and Hollywood A-listers for a five-day orgy of movie screenings, filmmaker talks, live concerts, Hawaiian entertainment, and as much pupu pounding and mai tai swilling as you can handle.
But, hands down, the most magical, crowd-pleasing feature of the Maui Film fest are the nightly Celestial Cinema screenings, set on the grassy grounds of the Wailea Golf Academy. Some VIP guests get to watch films from cushy golf carts, but most patrons view films from the comfort of beach mats or lawn chairs. Tributes to celebrity honorees are also on the schedule: Last year, the festival honored award-winning actors Viola Davis, Bryan Cranston, and Michael B. Jordan, whose presence and words added a dash of Hollywood-style electricity to the affair.
Taste of Wailea(Courtesy of Maui Film Festival)
The festival's upscale foodie events include the Taste of Wailea (June 24 at the Wailea Golf Academy), Taste of Summer (June 21 at the Grand Wailea Resort), and Taste of Chocolate (June 23 at the Four Seasons in Wailea)—all providing palate-pleasing tastes 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 craft cocktails.
Screenings and honorees for this year's festival will be posted on the festival's website in early June.
// Film-only passes range from $48 to $200, and tasting event tickets start at $140. Book soon for 20-30 percent early-bird savings. For updates, go to mauifilmfestival.com.
Taste of Wailea(Ben Davidson)