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There countless reasons to visit Maui, obviously. Its white sand beaches are regularly listed among the world’s best by a variety of respected travel, health and fitness, and lifestyle magazines and websites. But beyond iconic attractions like Iao Valley and the Seven Sacred Pools, the Road to Hana, and Haleakala Crater, Maui has also become famous as a destination that offers travelers elegant and sophisticated dining and arts.
Chief among the gala events held on Maui each year is the Maui Film Festival. This year it runs from the 3rd to the 7th of June. Launched in 2000, the festival has screened more than 600 international films. Hollywood A-listers attend every year, and the guest list has boasted names like Clint Eastwood, Woody Harrelson, and Jessica Chastain among a great many others.
But the Maui Film Festival forgoes Hollywood black tie formality for casual elegance, stodgy haughtiness for the friendly aloha spirit. Its events are legendary for the big ticket stars they attract, and for the fact that tickets are available to the public. It’s quite unlike the guest-list-only affairs of other famous film festivals like Cannes or Sundance. The Maui Film Festival is as posh as any other major film festival, only with aloha shirts and sun dresses instead of tuxedos and evening gowns. The red carpet leads to a stunning Maui sunset.
The festival’s Taste of Summer Opening Party on Wednesday, June 3, takes place oceanside at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea’s Molokini Gardens. The festival is keeping details about the event “under wraps,” which seems to mean that that tickets will probably sell quickly. The Taste of Chocolate event does down at the Four Seasons Resort at Wailea.
The Taste of a Wailea is billed as the Maui Film Festival’s “crown jewel,” and the culinary arts festival features Maui’s most lauded chefs at the Gold & Emerald Golf Course’s Leadbetter Private Golf Academy.
The movies featured at the festival’s “Celestial Screenings” events star actors like Academy Award winner Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman in A Little Chaos, Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes, and John Cusack and Elizabeth Banks in Love & Mercy. You never really know who’ll turn up at a famous film festival like Maui’s, but there are bound to be some A-listers there to rub elbows with. This year’s Navigator Award honoree is firebrand Irish actor Colin Farrell.
The Maui Film Festival is reason enough for a Maui vacation, to be sure. It could be a chance to pass along a screenplay or treatment to a savvy agent, or to share a drink with a movie star. Just be sure to take in some of Maui’s countless other jewels, too. For tickets, visit www.mauifilmfestival.com.