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Maui Fest Hulas to “Dancer” and “Alex & Emma”

Maui Fest Hulas to "Dancer" and "Alex & Emma"

Maui Fest Hulas to “Dancer” and “Alex & Emma”

by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

Javier Bardem and Laura Morante in a scene from John Malkovich’s “The Dancer Upstairs.” Photo: Paola Ardizzoni

The Maui Film Festival is underway following the opening last night with Rob Reiner’s “Alex & Emma” and John Malkovich’s directorial debut, “Dancer Upstairs.” Reiner, whose film centers on a writer who falls for his stenographer, will receive the festival’s inaugural Lights! Camera! Passion! Award tonight. The award honors a director whose career “reflects a heartfelt commitment to make films that matter and whose personal life has embodied a long-standing commitment to work for social justice and the triumph of the human spirit.” More than 50 films will screen at the event, which is concentrated in the town of Wailea.

Sir Anthony Hopkins will receive the festival’s Silversword Award, named after a rare indigenous plant that only blooms on the slopes of Haleakala on the island of Maui. Following the presentation, a live on-stage interview will be given. Clint Eastwood received the award last year.

Daniele Thompson’s romantic comedy “Jet Lag,” will screen among the Festival’s Celestial Cinema Double Features. Also screening is Dana Brown’s surf doc “Step into Liquid,” which screened during last month’s Tribeca Film Festival, and Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s soul and R&B doc, “Only the Strong Survive.”

Other events taking place during the five-day festival include the Tommy Bahama Starry Night MoodDance, a filmmakers’ panel, and a Father’s Day concert at the Diamond Resort Hawaii. “Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion” will be among the Maui Film Festival’s closing night festivities on Sunday. The doc captures the history of struggle in the Himalayan country occupied by China and features appearances by the Dalai Lama and others. Also screening closing night is Chen Kaige’s United Artists’ release, “Together.” Winner of two awards in San Sebastian, the film is the story of a talented child violinist who moves to Beijing with his father to pursue the best teacher possible to develop his talents.

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