The jokey name "Sanddance" both overstates and understates the place of the Maui Film Festival in the pantheon of international film festivals. Sundance is loaded with world premieres; Maui is not. But Maui is in Maui and there is, in fact, an actual dance party on the beach. And outdoor movies, of course.
This year's edition of the extremely relaxed event featured appearances from former Bond Pierce Brosnan, Dennis Quaid, Virginia Madsen of Sideways fame and Felicity Huffman. Another star, the sun, powers more than the festival-goers' tans: Energy collected through a solar array drives the projection equipment in all four of the outdoor screening venues.
Los Angeles-based Jeremy Kay, a reporter for the magazine Screen International and a man who knows from film festivals, thinks there is no event like it for sheer beauty. "It's ridiculously lavish," he says.
Headquartered between two ridiculously opulent resorts, the Four Seasons Resort Wailea and the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, it can also expensive. But money doesn't seem to be an object: According to a Four Seasons spokesperson,occupancy at the 2008 festival was just shy of 100 per cent. Anyway, if you find somewhere more affordable to stay, the festival itself is a bargain.
June 17-21, 2009. Single tickets $12; all-access Shooting Star pass $183. http://www.mauifilmfestival.com.
Excerpt from Cinema in Paradise by Denis Seguin. Read full article at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081119.wfests19/BNStory/specialTravel/home