The Maui Film Festival is presenting its 19th annual First Light: Academy Screenings on Maui, as part of their holiday celebration of cinema. Barry Rivers, the founder and director of First Light said, “This year’s First Light is a return to the First Light’s roots,” when the festival would showcase films from New York, LA and Aspen, that were not yet available here on Maui. “For all to enjoy, and share together with friends and family alongside members of the major film industry guilds.”
First Light provides a community space for movie goers to come discuss and enjoy films, as well as music, food and craft drinks at the CandleLight Café. Special VIP 4-Film Fast Passes are available for $48, and individual film tickets are $14, with $10 for ages 13-16 and free for ages 10 & under. The films are all screened at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 20.
Overcrowding has caused the citizens of earth to resort to what is known as ‘downsizing’ – the literal shrinking of humans to a miniature size, Honey I Shrunk the Kids Style. Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christof Waltz, Jason Sudekis and Hung Chao fill out this star-studded cast, in what Variety called, “A rare thing”, and a “resonant crowd pleaser for grown-ups.” (135 min. Rated R)
8pm Lady Bird
The story of a California nurse (Laurie Metcalfe) working to keeping her family afloat after her husband loses his job, and all the while struggling to relate to her teenage daughter (Soarise Ronan). Lady Bird is a coming of age tale that was met with critical acclaim and a series of Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. It broke RottenTomatoes.com’s record for the most critically acclaimed film ever. (94 min. Rated R)
SATURDAY, DEC. 23.
2pm Human Flow
Visionary director Al Weiwei’s newest documentary about one of the most prominent issues of the 20th century: the refugee crisis. Stunning cinematography and potent story telling; Amazon Studios and Participant Media begs the question, “Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity?” (118 min. Rated PG-13)
5pm All The Money In The World
The incredible true story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III, and his mother’s desperate attempt to convince his billionaire grandfather to pay the ransom. The ultimate story of love over money, or rather money over love, director Ridley Scott was nominated for a Golden Globe, as well as Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer for best actress, and supporting actor, respectively. (120 min. Rated R)
Actor Andy Serkis’ (Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes) directorial debut tells the inspiring true love story of Robin (Andrew Garfield) and Diana Cavendish (Claire Foy). A fairy tale love story that must face adversity when Robin is paralyzed after contracting polio. The Hollywood Reporter called it, “a touchingly sweet portrait,” of life long love. (118 min. Rated PG-13)
TUESDAY, DEC. 26.
Based on the bestselling novel by Deborah Ellis, Breadwinner tells the courageous and impowering story of 11-year-old Parvana, who cuts off her hair and dresses as a boy in order to provide for her family in Afghanistan in 2001. Executive producer Angelina Jolie and director Nora Twomey bring the story to life in this animated film. (94 min. Rated PG-13)
Set in 1892, Hostiles is the story of a legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale), who agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) and his family, from New Mexico to their ancestral home in Montana. A powerful redemption tale with some of the most incredibly cinematic footage of the American West ever captured on film. Director Scott Cooper tells the story of mistrust, mistreatment and hope. (127 min. Rated R)
8pm I, Tonya
Margot Robbie stars as Tonya Harding in the true story of Harding’s efforts to derail Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) from skating in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway. Rolling Stone called it the, “Goodfellas of Figure Skating,” and remarked on the horrific truth of the events, and the inner reflection caused by wanting to be the best. (119 min. Rated R)
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 27.
5pm The Florida Project
Willem Dafoe stars alongside seven-year old Brooklynn Prince in this whimsical drama-comedy set in Florida. The story takes place over one summer, as six-year-old Moonee goes on adventures and attempts to bond with her rebellious but caring mother, all along side the colorful cinematic landscapes of Disney World. Director Sean Baker encompasses the kitschy truth in this bittersweet film. (114 min. Rated R)
8pm Molly’s Game
Molly’s Game is the true story of ex ski racer, Molly Bloom, who ran the world’s most exclusive underground poker tournaments for over a decade before being arrested by the FBI. Her players included the likes of Hollywood royalty, sports stars, and the Russian mob. Director and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and actress Jessica Chastain both received nominations for Golden Globes. (140 min. Rated R)
Go to Mauifilmfestival.com for more information.
Photo of Lady Bird courtesy A24