Maui Film Festival is a special event for a variety of reasons, but one of those reasons towers above all the rest, The Celestial Cinema. Located on the justifiably famous Wailea Emerald Golf Course is basically a shallow grass amphitheater with a 50’ screen with a digital sound system. The amphitheater’s official capacity is 3,000 (although I suspect average attendance is around 1,500.) It is the main venue of the annual Maui Film Festival which draws over 1,000 submissions per year from around the world. Those are the facts.
But like much in life, the facts don’t really tell the truth. Because the truth is the Celestial Cinema is a unique expression of the mystery and magic of storytelling. While it’s unnecessary to dwell on the cliché of the flickering light of cinema being directly analogous to the flame of a tribal fire, it is worth mentioning for the context it gives to the experience.
To quote one of the 20th century’s master storytellers, ‘Imagine if you will.’ Imagine sitting under the Hawaiian night sky with 1,500 fellow film enthusiasts. Imagine shooting stars flaring over the screen as you rub your bare toes in the grass. Imagine the gently warm trade winds breezing across this scene who’s only illumination comes from the screen and the bright summer moon. And imagine if you will everyone involved from the festival creators to the filmmakers to the audience are all there for one reason, to see a story well told.
Of course, Maui film Festival is not just about the film in the most amazing cinema, it is also about chocolate lovers, about great food lovers, about meeting new people and having fun! Robert and I include ourselves to all these categories, so we did have a great time enjoying all that plus perfect weather and excellent mornings with snorkeling among fishes and turtles. It was also a family trip that made the whole event even more pleasant. And finally, for the first time in years, Robert did have his own birthday!