Maui Film Festival
A unique, local Maui favorite
Every June, Wailea, Maui comes alive with a star-studded event honoring some of the brightest and most unique talent in cinema. The event, the Maui Film Festival, began in 2000 by Barry Rivers to celebrate the art of storytelling. See FAQs
"Original Cinema is the rocket fuel that powers the Maui Film Festival by revealing its character, igniting its passion, focusing its vision and soothing its soul."
- the Maui Film Festival
True to this intent, the Maui Film Festival stands out like no other film festival in the world. While Cannes, Sundance and Berlin bring extravagance, the Maui Film Festival delivers purity of the art in a casual setting with understated elegance and an Aloha charisma unique to Maui.
Set in this gorgeous, relaxed island atmosphere, part of the draw of this movie industry experience is that “big business” has been left behind on the mainland. A-listers feel free to mingle with the crowd and enjoy the art! Event organizer, Barry Rivers, recalls one year when “Clint Eastwood walked up with beach chairs for his wife and himself, bought tickets for the Celestial Cinema, and sat down with the crowd to enjoy the double feature.”
"It’s more beautiful than any other film festival. It has a great vibe, you know, there’re no schmoozing happening here. It’s about enjoying films and exposing people to a huge assortment of different types of films...It’s sincere."
- Olivia Wilde (2011 - Winner of Shining Star Award)
A Movie-Goers Festival
What types of events and features can be found at the Maui Film Festival?
Hailed as a movie-goers festival, the Maui Film Festival hosts five days and nights of film premieres, filmmakers panels, special screenings, tributes and award ceremonies. The festivities rev up in the evenings at numerous culinary arts celebrations and galas, featuring world-renowned chefs, delectable desserts, and sophisticated Maui farm-to-table presentations.
Over 1000 amazing films are submitted, curated and reviewed until a select 50+ of the most unique narratives, documentaries, international films, and film shorts are compiled into a menu that will get any movie buff salivating with glee. These exciting films run the gamut from major studio productions costing $75,000,000 to first-time or independent distributors with a meager $50,000 production budget. All, of which, can be viewed in rare and inspiring venues. Let the creativity take hold!
The Events - Soirees, Galas, Culinary Celebrations!
Private and Special Events for VIP ticket holders may include:
• Meet & Greet Opportunity at pre-tribute ‘Red Carpet’
• Festival Luminary Celebration Dinner
• Filmmakers Panels - Intimate Conversation with...
• Filmmakers Brunch
• Filmmakers Dinner
• Private Pool Party
Opening Night Twilight Reception
Opening Night Twilight Reception kicks off the Maui Film Festival with charisma! Past events have been located at Capische in Wailea and co-hosted by Modern Luxury Hawaii, with smart and tasty whole fish stations, a tempura station, a roasted Maui pig station, and a poke bar.
Visit www.MauiFilmFestival.com for this year’s event time and location.
Taste of Chocolate
Taste of Chocolate has been called a chocoholic's fantasy! Maui pastry chefs show off their finest sweet sensations at this evening event in Wailea. Escape into paradise with desserts like chocolate ganache cupcakes, coconut profiteroles, white chocolate cheesecake with Grand Marnier syrup, or avocado ice cream! Crowd pleasers like cocoa & Kula coffee rubbed beef brisket sliders and Maui-tinis have also been found on the menu. Past events have been hosted by Variety Magazine.
The Taste of Wailea
This is a signature event for the festival, and highlights the very best that Maui has to offer from the culinary world. Names like Peter Merriman (Merriman’s Kapalua), Mark Ellman (Mala), Alan Wong (Amasia), Cameron Lewark (Spago), Bev Gannon (Hailiimaile General Store) and Brian Etheredge and Chris Kulis (Capische) have been known to provide for the occasion. Most intriguing, is that this exclusive event is set outdoors atop the lower slopes of Haleakala on the Wailea Gold and Emerald Golf Courses, and offers breathtaking ocean views. Mingle with the film stars and sample a few delectable dishes to find out why Maui is nicknamed No ka Oi - the best!
Parking for Event:
Parking is located at the Wailea Resort Event Parking Lot at the top of Wailea Ike Drive. A continuous shuttle will take patrons to the event.
This is a 21 and over event.
Spago Soiree is co-hosted by Spago’s at the Four Seasons Resort Wailea and Maui No Ka Oi Magazine. Guests can expect to sample the restaurants’ favorite pu pu (appetizer) - spicy ahi tuna cones. Other items on the menu might include: Wolfgang Puck pizza, a seafood ice sculpture, or luau pineapple pork.
Parking for Event:
Spago’s at the Four Seasons Resort Wailea
Closing Night Moondance
A celebration culminating the Maui Film Festival that includes live music, food, handcrafted cocktails, and honors many of the films’ stars.
The Venues - Unique to Maui with major WOW factor!
this is the “crown jewel” of the festival. Located on the lush green slopes of the Gold and Emerald Golf Courses in Wailea, this spectacular theatre allows movie-goers to enjoy features under the stars in the perfect Maui weather. This outdoor venue can seat 2,500+, utilizes a 50-foot screen; and, best of all, the entire venue is powered and lit by solar energy.
This is where the festival kicks off with a traditional Hawaiian blessing followed by opening night premieres.
“The Celestial Cinema is mind-blowing! It's also one of the best places anywhere in the world to launch a movie."
- Trevor Groth, Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival
Festival tributes also occur here. Be sure to look for tickets to that night’s screening of the star you would like to see honored.
Venue is located on the Gold & Emerald Golf Course in Wailea Maui.
Parking is located at the Wailea Resort Event Parking Lot at the top of Wailea Ike Drive. When approaching Wailea from Piilani Highway (Hwy 31), as you make the right hand turn onto Wailea Ike Drive, the lot will be on your left. A FREE continuous shuttle, starting at 6:15 p.m., will take attendees to and from the event.
Will call and ticketing counter are located at the lobby of the Gold & Emerald Golf Course Pro Shop and Gannon’s Restaurant. The FREE shuttle buses will drop attendees off here, and the theatre lawn is a short walk away.
Seating is on the lawn. Low-back chairs, pillows and blankets are recommended. Arrive early as seating is on a first come first serve basis. $5 low-back chair rentals are available for purchase.
The event is catered by Gannon’s Restaurant. A usual menu consists of sandwiches, wraps, vegetarian options, Maui Kazowie Popcorn, and more. Prices range from $4 - $14. Coffee, water, soft drinks and fresh-squeezed lemonade are also available for purchase.
This is an alcohol-free venue. No coolers allowed on premises.
Castle Theatre is a state-of-the-art theatre equipped with advanced lighting and sound systems and is located at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The 1200-seat venue is multi-tiered and was configured so that no seat is farther than 90 feet from the stage.
Documentary, unique shorts, feature film and narratives will be featured here during the festival.
This venue has ample free parking. NO shuttle service is available to the this venue.
Maui Arts & Cultural Center located at 1 Cameron Way in Kahului.
Events at the MACC are catered by local Maui restaurants and can be purchased before hand at on site beverage and food bars. Guests are asked to enjoy their food and beverages at the bistro dining at the Founders Courtyard, as they are NOT allowed in the theatre.
Call the MACC Box Office for specifics regarding time and menu at 808-242-SHOW.
Awards and Honors
• Nova Award
• Rising Star Award
• Visionary Award
• Luminary Award
• Shining Star
Past honorees have included:
Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Helen Hunt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Danes, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Angela Bassett, Tim Burton, Zooey Deschanel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Greg Kinnear, Mike Myers, Patricia Clarkson, Adrian Brody, Olivia Wilde, Zac Efron, Joan Allen, Pierce Brosnan, Andrew Garfield, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Megan Fox, Dennis Quaid, Virginia Madsen, and Owen Wilson.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Where can I buy tickets?
Tickets are available for purchase at www.mauifilmfestival.com, or by phone at 808-579-9244. Festival passes and VIP passes offering special savings are also available for purchase.
2. Is the Maui Film Festival family friendly?
All events are kid-friendly, except the Taste of Wailea, which is a 21 and older event.
A special ticket price of $10 is offered for children under 10 years of age for the Celestial Cinema and Castle Theater.
Parents are urged to preview each movie before bringing children.
3. What else is going on?
There are a variety of activities and events that take place each and every year that are not listed here. Please check in the current year’s agenda for full details. Past years have offered: sandcastle contests, beach walks, morning yoga, surfing & SUP lessons, kids free films, Father’s Day Concert, and more.
4. Are camera’s allowed?
Use of video cameras is strictly prohibited at all Maui Film Festival Wailea venues.
5. What is the suggested attire for the Maui Film Festival and events?
Dress for all events is “resort wear” or “Aloha casual”. Outdoor events may require a light sweater or jacket.
From late November into early January, the Maui Film Festival, in collaboration with the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, offer their annual First Light Academy screenings. Every movie that won an Academy Award that year will be shown at the Castle Theatre at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
Castle Theater, Maui Arts & Cultural Center at One Cameron Way, Kahului, Maui 96732
Biking, Ziplining, Hiking and much more.
See Maui from above on a Plane or Helicopter Tour.
Find the best Luaus, Shows, or Nightlife Activities.
Jan 31, 2018They say Maui is for lovers, and it's that time of year! Check out Maui events February 2018 for a list of r...
Jan 13, 2018THIS WAS A FALSE EMERGENCY ALERT! The Emergency Alert sent out at 8:08am this morning to Hawaii residents wa...
Jan 10, 2018There’s a reason why this was on Hawaii News Now at 5 last night. This last weekend, a group of kayakers wit...
Dec 31, 2017Is it really 2018 already?! See our list of the best Maui events January 2018, and get your New Year off on ...
Dec 11, 2017I recently had the pleasure of taking my two brothers and a good friend out from Makena. With so many ...