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by Brian Brooks
June 9, 2009 9:24 AM
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Hula-palooza! Docs Take Center Stage at 10th Maui Film Festival

A scene from Dana Brown's "Highwater." Image courtesy of Maui Film Festival.

Docs feature heavily in the 10th Maui Film Festival taking place June 17 - 21. Director Dana Brown's "Highwater" will open at the fest's open air Celestial Cinema, a doc showcasing the 2005 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in Oahu's North Shore, while best foreign-language Oscar winner "Departures" by Yojiro Takita will open at the festival's Castle Theatre. Other festival highlights include a Maverick Award for Willie Nelson, while Zooey Deschanel ("Yes Man") will receive Maui's Nova Award at the festival's inaugural "Toes in the Sand" tribute at the SandDance Theatre. The festival will also screen Deschanel's "(500) Days of Summer," directed by Mark Webb on its closing night.

Adam Ross' "Cash Crop" will have its world debut during the event. The film is a "road trip" into the heart of the Emerald Triangle in Northern California, a region where marijuana is grown in abundance, where it is the number one cash crop, and where (in some places) it is the mainstay of the local rural economy. Also having its world bow at the festival is Turk Pipkin's "One Peace at a Time," a look at the Earth's "worst problems," but not just spotlighting them - he asks what can be done to fix them... The film focuses on solutions and includes Willie Nelson making a "delightful appearance, riding up on a horse, playing a sizzling chess game, and telling one of the best jokes you will have heard in a long time."

Closing MFF is Kristopher Belman's "More Than a Game." The Lionsgate release is the true story of offive young basketball players from Akron, Ohio who go from a decrepit inner-city gym ot the heights of national high school championship, led by furture NBA superstar and 2009 Most Valuable Player, LeBron James.

"We're very excited to see the festival mark ten years of showcasing some of the best cinema from around the world," commented festival director Barry Williams in a statement." With the changes that have been taking place in the independent film world, we searched far and wide to develop this year's selection of uplifting quality programming, which we're proud to showcase."

Films screening in the 2009 Maui Film Festival:

Documentaries: "Art Officially Favored," "Automorphosis," "Back to the Garden: Flower Power Comes Full Circle," "Between the Folds," "Blue Gold: World Water Wars," "Cash Crop," "Dirt! The Movie," "Facing Ali," "Highwater," "Houston - We Have a Problem," "More Than a Game," "Mustang: A Journey of Transformation," "One Peace at a Time," "Rock Prophecies," "Saint Misbehavin' The Wavy Gravy Movie," "Unmistaken Child," "Waveriders," "What About Me: 1 Giant Leap," "What Would It Look Like," "The Women and the Waves," "Youssou N'dour: I Bring What I Love"

Features: "(500) Days of Summer," "Adam," "The Cove," "Departures," "Lightbulb," "Paper Heart," "Sita Sings the Blues," "Splinterheads"

Shorts: "Bewick's Mambo," "Bhutan: The Last Dragon Kingdom," "Gerald's Last Day," "Hawai'i 3D," "The Interior Monologue of Gill The Goldfish Film," "Jabbawaki," "Keao," "Mutt," "My Date From Hell," "The Monday Before Thanksgiving," "Photograph of Jesus," "Processed People," "Spleenectomy," "Streak," "War Dance Returns," "The Windfisherman"

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