Mark your calendars! Every June, the Maui Film Festival returns for five days of film, food, and fun. Recognized as the crème de la crème of cinema, culinary, and social events on the Valley Isle, the Maui Film Festival presents nightly double features under the stars at the Celestial Cinema and holds a handful of glamorous foodie soirees featuring some of the world’s best chefs. (2020 Maui Film Festival will likely be held in the fall due to the COVID-19 crisis.)
Working to honor the art of filmmaking and cinema’s greatest talents, Maui Film Festival also hosts several filmmaker panels, and honors actors who light up the big screen- so keep an eye out for your favorite celebrity!
If there is one event that defines the Maui Film Festival, it is the nightly Celestial Cinema. Held under the stars on the green at the Wailea Golf Club, the Celestial Cinema features a number of shorts, award ceremonies for the festival’s honorees, and a nightly double feature. Moviegoers are invited to spread out their blankets and beach chairs on the fairway and enjoy some of today’s most bold, exciting, and thought-provoking original films.
The Celestial Cinema’s stunning venue alone is enough to make it one of the most special film events in Hawaii, but so much more goes on behind the scenes. In addition to Maui Film Festival providing Hawaii’s only outdoor theaters- they are powered entirely by solar energy. As Maui Film Festival founder Barry Rivers likes to say, the festival is “lit by the moon, and powered by the sun”. The Maui Film Festival also relies on an army of volunteers, about 300+, whose generosity and love for the community make this event possible.
In addition to the Celestial Cinema, the Maui Film Festival also utilizes another awe-inspiring venue:
Wailea Beach. The Seaside Cinema on Wailea Beach features several of the year’s newest films.
And the parties!
The Maui Film Festival kicks off with the ‘Taste of Summer’ event, held on the oceanfront at one of Wailea’s luxury resorts. The 2020 ‘Taste of Summer’ location has yet to be revealed, but we are sure it will be tops- any oceanfront venue in Wailea really can’t be beaten! ‘Taste of Summer’ features an array of creative cocktails, locally inspired dishes, and of course, live entertainment from some of Maui’s best musicians. Serving as the festival’s kickoff event, the Maui Film Festival honorees are usually in attendance. It doesn’t get much better than mingling with your favorite actors and enjoying culinary delights on the beachfront on Maui- if you’re extra lucky the sunset will light up too! Included in the ‘Taste of Summer’ ticket is admission to the Celestial Cinema, which is located just up the hill from the resort areas. Shuttle service to the cinema is offered. The 2020 ‘Taste of Summer’ will take place on June 17.
‘Taste of Chocolate’ follows at the Four Seasons Resort. As a tribute to all things sweet, ‘Taste of Chocolate’ brings any chocolate lovers fantasy to life. A handful of stations are prepared for guests to sample from, and past events have featured a chocolate fountain, liquid nitrogen white chocolate ice cream, Ali’i Lavender and chocolate emulsion, Surfing Goat Dairy quark truffles, and so so much more. The Maui Film Festival dress code is described as ‘resort casual’, but guests are encouraged to dress to impress for ‘Taste of Chocolate’. Like the ‘Taste of Summer’, this event includes admission to the Celestial Cinema. ‘Taste of Chocolate’ is held on June 19.
Last but certainly not least, the Maui Film Festival’s chief event, the ‘Taste of Wailea’, will take place on June 20 at the Wailea Golf Club. This distinguished event features culinary delights from some of Maui’s best chefs, as well as some of the top chefs from around the world. In addition to a line up of tasty treats, the ‘Taste of Wailea’ serves up some spectacular views. Haleakala towers above the venue in the east, and to the west lie stunning views of South Maui, Molokini, and the neighboring island of Kaho’olawe. After an evening of indulging, ‘Taste of Wailea’ guests can make their way down the fairway to the Celestial Cinema.
Whether you’re a lover of film, food, Maui, or all three, the Maui Film Festival has something for everyone. This year’s festival will likely run in the fall (TBA), so plan accordingly! Tickets for a variety of festival packages are available at the button below.
Born and raised on Maui, I have a deep love for language and writing. At present, I work as a content writer at Hawaii Web Group, where I have the opportunity to showcase my passion for storytelling. Being a part of Hawaiian culture, storytelling holds a special place, and I am thrilled to be able to share the tales of the amazing people, beautiful locations, and fascinating customs that make Maui such an incredible place to call home.