On Friday night we booked a dinner reservation at Gannon’s, partly for the access to Maui Film Festival parking and the VIP section at Celestial Cinema via their “Dinner and a Movie” package. Barely making it on time to the 8pm screening of Kuleana, we managed to see Rick Chatenever’s interview of Pierce Brosnan in an overview of his career, his pride being Irish, living on Kauai with his wife Keely, and their work with Poisoning Paradise (which screened after Kuleana).
Afterwards, our small crew headed to the Taste of Chocolate at the Four Seasons, and mingled with the beautiful people. While our sober friend sampled at least one each of all the amazing chocolate desserts, we drank cocoa-tinged whisky cocktails called “Happy Endings,” no questions asked. We also spent a lot of time talking with Canadian actress Kendall Cross and filmmaker David Ray about their film, Grand Unified Theory, and the creative process of storytelling.
Clutching our bellies, we managed to catch the tail-end of the Kuleana After-Party at Mulligan’s, where we got heckled by old pal, owner Mike O’Dwyer (I like to think of it as “lovingly teased”—missed you, Mike!) and spoke with writer/director Brian Kohne.
The next day we caught a couple filmmaker panels at the Wailea Beach Resort, then trekked up the steep hill (preemptive exercise for all the gorging we planned to do) to the Taste of Wailea, which was even more spectacular—and populated—than I remember from 10+ years ago. I ran into a few lovely old friends and acquaintances, had a couple awkward conversations (just like old times!), and wondered how to gracefully deal with recently transplanted strangers treating me as a “tourist” in a place that still feels like home in my heart.
Also, the food looked incredible and I didn’t eat nearly enough. Can I get a do-over, please??
On the way to the Celestial Cinema, I ran into the beatific and badass free-diver/spearfisher Kimi Werner (whom I wrote about recently in preview of Fish People). Then shortly after Barry River’s opening comments, the hula halau blessing, and Chatenever’s interview of actress and Rising Star recipient Karen Gillan, a steady rain threatened to derail the night’s screenings for the first time ever in Maui Film Festival history! With soggy bottoms my small crew wimped out and much to my chagrin we bailed, but not before a quick hug with Marty Dread—barefoot, smiling, and standing in the rain, completely undeterred, and I dare say, gleeful.