Author Archives: Sara Tekula

About Sara Tekula

Champion of the good.

Featured Filmmakers: Taylor Laughlin & Rachel Palumbo, Co-Directors, Co-Writers, Co-Producers of Short “Sapere Aude”

“He who begins is half done. Dare to be wise. Make a beginning.” – Horace

Taylor and Rachel - Sapere Aude

Taylor Laughlin & Rachel Palumbo at Cannes

Visitng us from Los Angeles this year, filmmaking duo Taylor Laughlin and Rachel Palumbo are here on Maui to present their film school captsone, SAPERE AUDE, which screened last night before feature X/Y, and is screening again today at 3pm as part of Short Film Showcase 2.

The film draws reference from CS Lewis’ ’Surprised by Joy’, Andre Breton’s Surrealist revolution and Horace’s ’Epistles’, in which he says ’sapere aude,’ or in English, ’He who begins is half done. Dare to be wise. Make a beginning.

Take a moment to get to know these filmmaking dynamos, and head over to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center today at 3pm to catch the showcase, which is comprised of 10 stellar shorts. All poignant, beautiful, and powerful.  Continue reading

Featured Filmmaker: Deborah Reinisch, Director of Short Film “Sure Thing”

“Short films are not inferior, just different. I think the short gives a freedom to filmmakers. What’s appealing is that you don’t have as much responsibility for storytelling and plot. They can be more like a portrait, or a poem.” – Jane Campion

Deborah Reinisch

Debbie directing actors on set

Throughout the festival, we have three different short film showcases, as well as several short films being shown before the full length features at each venue.  Deborah Reinisch – a film professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts is one of the short filmmakers visiting Maui to presenter her short, SURE THING, a screen adaptation of Broadway wizard David Ives’ play. It screens today, at 3pm as a part of Short Film Showcase 2 at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

With fascinating multiple takes, a la Groundhog Day, SURE THING dramatizes a chance meeting in a Brooklyn bistro.  A guy wants to sit in the one available chair, which is across the table from an attractive woman.  The repetition of coupling options is hilarious and wicked.

The film most recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and we were lucky to catch up with Debbie to find out more about the film, and what inspired her to take the story from stage to screen.  Continue reading

Featured Filmmaker: Ryan Piers Williams – Writer, Director, Producer, Lead Actor in “X/Y”

Ryan Williams - X:YTonight, at 8pm at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, we have X/Y, a sexy, edgy, smart, and richly emotional story following four young New Yorkers as they struggle with the challenges of intimacy to discover what they truly desire in a relationship.

Filmmaker Ryan Piers Williams is here on Maui and will be introducing the film – one that he wrote, directed, produced and acted in. The film also stars America Ferreira, Amber Tamblyn, Dree Hemmingway, and Common.

Take a moment to learn more about how this film came to be.  Continue reading

Feature Filmmakers: Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson of “Kumu Hina”

Kumu Hina, Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson

Kumu Hina, Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson

Most notably recognized for their work on Out in the Silence, a powerful film about the quest for inclusion of LGBT folks in rural America, Emmy Award-winning directors Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson proudly bring their latest film, Kumu Hina, to Maui for the first time tonight at 6pm (Castle Theater, Maui Arts & Cultural Center). (Click here to purchase tickets and avoid lines at the venue.)

In Kumu Hina, the respected and beloved kumu hula and cultural scholar Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu shares her unique world to illuminate the joys and struggles of an extraordinary transgender native-Hawaiian teacher who embodies the ancient tradition called “mahu”.

Dean and Joe graciously took a moment (in the middle of their recent world travels with the film) to tell us some more about their involvement in the film, and we’re happy to share it with you!

This is a film experience not to be missed, and the filmmakers, along with Hina herself, will be in attendance!  Continue reading

Featured Filmmaker: Makana, Score Composer for documentary “Kumu Hina”

Tonight’s Hawai‘i-made documentary Kumu Hina (screening tonight, 6/5 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater at 6pm) centers around Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, a respected and beloved kumu hula and cultural scholar who shares her unique world to enlighten the joys and struggles of an extraordinary transgender native Hawaiian teacher who embodies the ancient tradition called mahu.

The score for this film was composed by another extraordinary cultural figure in Hawai‘i, Makana.


Makana in the studio

Makana took a moment from his travels in Europe to tell us more about his heartfelt connection to Kumu Hina (the film and the person), and about his creative process in composing and recording the film’s breathtaking score.

Enjoy the conversation, and don’t miss an opportunity to meet and greet the film’s directors and Hina herself at tonight’s screening! Continue reading

Featured Filmmakers: Joel Ashton McCarthy & Bryant Boesen, Co-Directors, Co-Editors, and Producers of Taking My Parents to Burning Man

Joel & Bry burning manWould YOU take your 60 year-old parents to Burning Man?

Well, one man did, and made a documentary film about the whole experience.

We caught up with Taking My Parents To Burning Man‘s Bryant Boesen, and his cast-mate, co-director, co-editor, co-producer Joel, this morning as they arrived on Maui and began to prepare for tonight’s 10pm screening at Celestial Cinema.

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10 Most Frequently Asked Questions about the 2014 Maui Film Festival

FAQ #1:
Have 6 Films in the Printed Flyer Changed their Listed Time Slots?

Film Changes
Yes. All of the changes are listed below.



FAQ #2: When Will Festival Passes Savings End?

Festival Passes, priced starting at $48, are discounted 10% to 20% through Tuesday, June 3rd. Prices will be higher on Wednesday, June 4th. 
 your passes today!

View full list of
 Passes and Benefits >

FAQ #3: Is the Celestial Cinema Happening this Year?

Absolutely! 5 Nights of Terrific Double Features.
View full list of Celestial Cinema Films >
Kids 12 & Under Free on Wednesday Night 6/4  &  Surf Film Night on 6/5.
For Adults Only (18 & Over). Award presentation to Joe Manganiello on Friday, June 6th at 10:00pm before his new documentary La Bare.

FAQ #4: Are Complimentary Shuttles and Parking Happening?

Absolutely! As always, parking will be at the Special Event Parking Area on Wailea Iki Drive. The shuttle service from the Special Event Parking is for Celestial Cinema, Opening Night Twilight Reception and Taste of Wailea.For the Seaside Cinema, complimentary valet parking will be provided at the Grand Wailea Resort.View Shuttle and Parking details for all venues and events >

FAQ #5: What is the Seaside Cinema? 

Our New Venue outdoors @ Grand Wailea. It Features Complimentary Valet Parking. And Comfy Seating Too!  Fairly priced.  Great Value! Opens Nightly @6:30pm. Live Music @7pm.  Tributes (on most nights) @7:30pm.  Film Premiere @8:00pm. Open to All. Mouth Watering Meals and Decadent Desserts Available.  No Host Bar for 21 & Over Only.  Photo ID Required.  View Seaside Cinema schedule >

FAQ #6: Is Taste of Wailea Sold Out?

Yes. Taste of Wailea single tickets and Stardust Passes are sold out. However, Cosmos Passes and VIP Patron Passes which include the Taste of Wailea and are still available.30% Special Savings are still available until the day before the events for the Opening Night Twilight Reception (Wed., June 4) at Capische? and Taste of Chocolate (Friday, June 6) at the Four Seasons for $125 each in advance (or $175 if available at-the-door). Why not get tickets now?  

FAQ #7: Do Films Ever Sell Out?

In 14 Years, Never. That said, the Best Way to help ensure that won’t ever happen to you/us is to purchase your Tickets or Festival Pass in advance and to arrive 20 minutes in advance of the event you are attending.

FAQ #8: Will Food, Beverages and Treats be Available for Purchase?

Yes.Celestial Cinema: 
Gannon’s Restaurant prepares a mouth-watering array of options for sale at the Celestial Cinema. Nightly offerings will include salads, wraps, sandwiches, and delicious hot dinners, including vegetarian options. Snack items ranging from popcorn to candy will also be available. Celestial Cinema is an alcohol-free venue. Soft drinks and bottled water will be available.Seaside Cinema:
Grand Wailea chefs will be offering an array of gourmet picnic baskets and desserts. No outside food or beverages allowed. No Host Bar 21 & Over.

Maui Arts & Cultural Center:
June 4 (Wed): Pre-show dinner by Monsoon India [menu]
June 5 (Thu): Pre-show dinner by Three’s Bar & Grill [menu]
June 6 (Fri): Pre-show dinner by Monsoon India [menu]
June 7 (Sat): Pre-show dinner by AK’s Cafe [menu]
June 8 (Sun): Pre-show dinner by Star Anise Indian Cuisine [menu]

Special Events Menus:
Opening Night Twilight Reception (Wednesday, June 4)
Taste of Chocolate (Friday, June 6)
Taste of Wailea (Saturday, June 7) 

FAQ #9: There’s So Much to Do, I’m Confused. What should I Do?

Festival-at-a-Glance ScheduleBest way is to simply take the time to view the Festival’s Film & Events Page where trailers for all this year’s films and comprehensive information about everything else being offered can be found.You can also download and view the Festival-at-a-Glance Schedule to mark the films and events of interest.Enjoy the Journey and the Destination and the Festival and The Ride!

FAQ #10: What Are the 2015 Maui Film Festival Wailea Dates?

June 3-7, 2015. Hope to see you at the festival again next year!

Featured Filmmaker: Gay Dillingham, Director of “Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary”

On Opening Night of the Maui Film Festival, three beautiful venues will fill with moviegoers: the Celestial Cinema at the Wailea Gold & Emerald Golf course, the Seaside Cinema at the Grand Wailea, and the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC).

Opening the festival at the MACC we have Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary, a “cosmic buddy film” featuring the two revolutionaries. Bonus points: the film is narrated by Robert Redford.

Gay Dillingham - Dying to Know

Gay Dillingham, Director, “Dying to Know”

We caught up with director Gay Dillingham who is here on Maui to present her film with a Q & A to follow. She reminds us that the screening is a benefit for the Love Serve Remember foundation set up in Ram Dass’ name, and that the world-renowned spiritual teacher himself will be in attendance (likely the only time he’ll attend the screening of this film.

Enjoy! Continue reading

Culinary Curiosities: Behind Maui’s Taste of Chocolate with Chef Rhonda Ashton

Executive Pastry Chef Rhonda Ashton-Chavez

Four Seasons Maui Executive Pastry Chef Rhonda Ashton. Photo courtesy of Four Seasons

With all of the swooning about the Taste of Chocolate, our annual culinary celebration of everything cacao, we decided ask Chef Rhonda Ashton – the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea Executive Pastry Chef – to share her thoughts about chocolate and what to expect this year.

With the grandest display of sweets around, being in charge of the Taste of Chocolate may seem daunting. She may have a lot of culinary magic ahead of her, but as you’ll hear from her it’s all for the love of chocolate

Insider tip: festival passes and ticket prices go up tomorrow, so if you like what you hear, you’ll want to get your passes today!

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Featured Filmmaker: Tim Bonython, Director of “Encoded” and “Wild Australia”

Returning to the Maui Film Festival for the second time in three years, award-winning surf film director and cinematographer Tim Bonython is no stranger to making big waves with his filmmaking. He’s been shooting surf footage for 38 years, and to honor him for his incredible body of work, festival director Barry Rivers presented him with the Beacon Award at the 2012 festival. His film BIGGEST WEDNESDAY has come to be known as one of the most respected surf documentaries ever made.

This year, he comes to Maui to present not one, but TWO of his most recent films, ENCODED and WILD AUSTRALIA.

We were able to catch up with him before he makes his trek to the islands, to learn more about what went into making ENCODED, his film about the legendary wave Teahupoo.

Tim Bonython Surf Film Director and Cinematographer Maui Film Festival

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