Category Archives: Featured FIlmmakers

Featured Filmmaker: Devyn Bisson, Director of THE WAVE I RIDE: PAIGE ALMS’ STORY

Devyn Bisson - THE WAVE I RIDE

Devyn Bisson – Diretor, THE WAVE I RIDE

Tonight at 7:45pm at Celestial Cinema, the Maui Film Festival is stoked to present the world premiere of THE WAVE I RIDE: PAIGE ALMS’ STORY, a film that documents the Maui born and bred female big wave surfer that has broken barriers and inspired many in the surf world and beyond.

Devyn Bisson (the film’s director) is on Maui to present the film, her first feature, and will introduce it from the Celestial Cinema stage tonight alongside her film’s inspiration, Paige Alms.

We took a moment to ask Devyn a few questions as she was preparing to screen the film publicly for the very first time. Have a look, and be sure to join us tonight for a magical Maui movie movement at Celestial Cinema!


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Featured Filmmaker: Matt Sadowski, Director/Producer/Writer of PRETEND WE’RE KISSING

Matt Sadowski - Director of Pretend Were Kissing

Matt Sadowski, Director of PRETEND WE’RE KISSING
(Photo by Matt Carr/Getty Images)

We had a chance to interview Matt Sadowski, the director, producer, and writer of PRETEND WE’RE KISSING, the 10pm film at tonight’s Celestial Cinema.

Matt is here on Maui represent his film, will be introducing it in person on the Celestial stage tonight, and will be speaking at a filmmaker panel tomorrow, as well.

Take a moment to get to know his process, and how this film came to be.   Continue reading

Featured Filmmaker: Kyle Rideout, Director of EADWEARD

Kyle Rideout - Director of Eadweard

Kyle Rideout – Director of Eadweard

Next up on Featured Filmmakers, we have director Kyle Rideout, of the film EADWEARD. This film screens tonight at 8pm at the McCoy Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

This film is a visually sumptuous and captivating look at the life of the driven, creative and troubled photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Often credited as the world’s first filmmaker for his eclectic, world-reknowned and intimately revealing ‘time lapse’ photos of life in motion, Muybridge’s passions, the story of the love of his life, his volcanic and boundless creativity and the act he admitted to and for which he was exonerated by a jury of his peers, all make for a one-of-a-kind life story unlike most any you’ve ever seen in this vibrantly alive drama.

Enjoy getting to know the film’s director, watch the trailer below, and head over to the MACC tonight to catch his film!


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Featured Filmmaker: Timon Birkhofer, Director of CAPITAL C

Timon Birkhofer - Director of Capital C

Timon Birkhofer – Director of Capital C

We all know that there is strength in numbers, but in recent years, nothing has proven it more than the power of crowdfunding. The movement that has blossomed as new crowdsourcing tools have come online, putting the achievement of dreams in much closer proximity to the dreamers, and the fundraising power in the hands of the many, rather than the few.

Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdfunder have been life-changing for tens of thousands of artists, musicians, filmmakers, techies, inventors and passionate first-time and serial entrepreneurs over the last decade.

CAPITAL C is the first feature length documentary dedicated to the crowd funding (r)evolution, and it screens TONIGHT at 8pm at the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center!

We took a moment to get to know the film’s director, Timon Birkhofer, in this next installment of our Featured Filmmakers blog series. Enjoy!

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Featured Filmmakers: A Trio of Shorts Directors Michael Toubassi, Amy Storkel, and James Brylowski

Michael Toubassi, Team Work

Michael Toubassi, Team Work

Amy Storkel, The Bad Boy of Bowling

Amy Storkel, The Bad Boy of Bowling

James Brylowski - A Mile in These Hooves

James Brylowski – A Mile in These Hooves









This afternoon at 3:00pm at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, the Maui Film Festival presents a showcase of short films called SHORT FILMS FOR GROWN-UPSfeaturing big stories told in small packages. Three of those films – TEAM WORK, THE BAD BOY OF BOWLING, and A MILE IN THESE HOOVES – will be presented by the films’ directors, who are here on Maui attending the festival.

We caught up with this trio of directors, who will introduce their films today and encourage you to stick around afterward for an informal Q&A session, too!

We asked them each the same three questions, let’s check out their answers:  Continue reading

Featured Filmmaker: Jon Long, Director, Producer, and Screenwriter of THE SEARCH FOR FREEDOM

Legendary waterman Robbie Naish and Director Jon Long

Legendary ocean pioneer Robby Naish and Director Jon Long

What makes you feel most alive?

Next up on the Featured Filmmakers blog series, we have Jon Long, the director, producer, and screenwriter of documentary THE SEARCH FOR FREEDOM, which will have its Hawai‘i premiere tonight at Celestial Cinema at 7:45pm. Jon, his team, and several of his cast members will introduce their film tonight from the stage – a moment not to be missed!

THE SEARCH FOR FREEDOM film is unique in the “action sports” genre, because it really dives into the human stories and psychological mindset of these pioneers of human physicality, passion, and spirit unlike any other film before it. It’s truly

Here’s a brand new trailer – just released! – to psych you up for an incredible experience tonight at Celestial Cinema! See you there!

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Featured Filmmaker: Leah Wolchok, Director of VERY SEMI-SERIOUS

Matthew Diffee - Very Semi Serious

Cartoonist Matthew Diffee

Leah Wolchok - Very Semi-Serious

Leah Wolchok, Director of Very Semi-Serious












Tonight at 5:30pm at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, The New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee presents VERY SEMI-SERIOUS, a documentary he is featured in that explores the world of the legendary magazine and its role in popular culture.

We caught up with Leah Wolchok, the film’s director, to find out more about her inspiration in making the film and the overall experience. Enjoy!

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Featured Filmmaker: Mikal Jakubal, Director of ONE GOOD YEAR

Mikal Jakubal, Director of ONE GOOD YEAR

Mikal Jakubal, Director of ONE GOOD YEAR

Tonight at 8:00pm at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, director Mikal Jakubal presents his documentary ONE GOOD YEAR, which chronicles the everyday lives of four marijuana growers in Humboldt County, California, and their unique way of life behind the Redwood Curtain.

Here’s the trailer (below).

Learn more about the film and Mikal’s perspective on making it after the jump.

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Featured Filmmaker: Susan Kucera, Director, Cinematographer and Producer of “Breath of Life”

Tonight at 5:00pm at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, produer/director/cinematographer Susan Kucera presents her documentary BREATH OF LIFE, which brings the message “we have tremendous problems generated by ourselves but limited ability to know how to deal with them.”

Susan, along with a crew and cast that includes many Hawaii residents and voices, has invited Vene Chun (one of the film’s Hawaiian voices) and 11 cast members from Ulalena (a music & dance production inspired by Hawaiian history) to open and close the screening with a blessing and performance.

Join in support of the film’s powerful message and learn from many important scholars and cultural leaders – all in the comfort of your chair at the movies – tonight at 5pm.

Learn more about the film and Susan’s perspective on making it after the jump.

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Featured Filmmaker: Stefan Schaefer, Director/Producer of “Even Though The Whole World is Burning”

Screening today at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s McCoy theater at 5pm, we have the WORLD PREMIERE “Even Though the Whole World is Burning“,  a beautifully made biographical documentary that explores the work of Poet Laureate, two-time Pulitzer winner, and environmental activist W.S. Merwin. It was produced and directed by local filmmaker Stefan Schaefer.

Known locally for his work as producer on the Maui-based comedy “Get a Job”, Stefan was influenced by Merwin’s work in college and – though the making of this film – has developed a deep reverence for the Merwin local resident, naturalist, and writer, who also happens to be his neighbor in Haiku, Maui.

The film recently received critical praise in The Huffington Post.


Stefan took a moment to tell us more about how he got involved, and to share some of the challenges behind making a film of this magnitude. Enjoy, and don’t miss out on the world premiere! Tickets are still available at the door.  Continue reading