Last night was the first night of Maui Film Festival‘s Celestial Cinema events for 2011.
Kids were free under 12 last night (and will be again on Sunday), which made for a fun, lively atmosphere on the golf course. Many people came to see Megan Fox receive the Iris Award. She’s a very good looking, young actress, but she was a little shy about staying on stage. She showed up a bit late, and looked as though she’d had a few mai tais (though this should be expected since our visiting stars are on vacation here. Forgiven.) None the less, it was a pleasure to see her in person (and even better watching festival organizer Barry Rivers nervously cozy up for a photo with her.) UPDATE: Turns out she hadn’t had any drinks at dinner at Gannons. Her waiter said she drank a lot of tea and that was it. Maybe it was stage jitters.
THE REAL STAR of last night was Jack McCoy, director of A Deeper Shade of Blue. This was his 25th surf movie, and a great one at that. Being an avid surfer, I’ve seen almost every surf flick out there. They’ve made dozens of surf history films, and this one was unique in that it was entertaining while remaining comprehensive. It felt as though even non-surfers remained engaged throughout. He did a great job at moving back and forth through the timeline so us shortboarders wouldn’t lose interest. The contrast of seeing guys like Jordy Smith chucking rodeo flips against old-school longboarding shenanigans made for a really fun film. Jack is a legend and his speeches when receiving the Beacon Award were touching. He said it was an honor to premiere his movie in Hawaii (his original home.) He also bellowed, “Maui no ka oi!” So true!
The second feature was Na Nai’a: Legend of the Dolphins, which is what Megan Fox was there to promote. The most impressive part of this movie was the fact that they managed to get so many big stars lending their voices to narration. James Franco, Megan Fox, Whoopi Goldberg, Kate Winslet, Darryl Hannah, Cheech Marin, and many more made the movie more interesting. It followed the 8 different “Tribes” of dolphins around the world and was narrated in a trippy 1st person. The film was not totally finished (not uncommon for film festival movies looking for a final push of financing for polishing.) Some of the shots were incredible, and others were forgettable. The film was a little too long with forced poetry. I think I counted the word “magical” being used at least 3 times in the first half. The 15 minute dolphin orgy made up for it though.
For future reference, the best deal for watching the movies at Celestial Cinema is to go to Gannon’s and make an early reservation. They Call it Dinner & a Movie, where you get parking and Vip seating if you spend more than $29. (YOU STILL HAVE TO BUY A TICKET!)
The Gannon’s VIP seating is centered, but it’s at the back (we prefer to be a little closer to the screen.) It is nice to get this seating because people show up pretty early and stake their claim to the best grass plots.
You can follow more of the Maui Film Festival through our Maui Twitter account as we go to every event we can.