Maui festival featuresThe Maui Film Festival is moving into the big leagues.
29 major release films
The screenings will be shownScreening schedule
for Academy Award consideration
By Tim Ryan
In one of the two largest events of its kind in the United States during the holiday season, the Maui Film Festival will screen 29 major motion pictures for Academy Award consideration in December.
Barry Rivers, Maui Film Festival executive director, said the total number of screenings is 33 films this year compared to 18 last year.
The number of films that have never seen screened before "depends on where people live," but on Maui 28 films will not have been shown, Rivers said.
The selections include 18 films that will debut earlier than their commercial release dates, such as "The Majestic" starring Jim Carrey and Martin Landau; "Focus" with William H. Macy and Laura Dern; "The Royal Tenenbaums" with Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Stiller; "Ali" with Will Smith and Jon Voight; "Monster's Ball" starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry; and "The Shipping News" with Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Scott Glenn.
Maui Film Festival's third-annual FirstLight Academy Screenings will be shown on the Maui Arts and Cultural Center's 41-by-27-foot screen, the largest 35mm screen in Hawaii, from Dec. 19 to 30.
December is when the year's most critically acclaimed, and eagerly anticipated, movies are usually released.
The festival will offer a sneak peek or second look at some of the films vying for Academy Award nominations.
Members of the Academy's Arts and Sciences, who often spend the holidays in Maui, are the only ones allowed to vote in the Oscar race so studios want to make sure as many members see their films as possible.
"The studios know that this time of the year the entertainment industry slows down (in Los Angeles) and if people aren't staying in town or visiting family, they're either going to ski, like in Aspen, or enjoy time in the sun, like Maui," Rivers said.
"They know there are so many industry people on Maui that this is an opportunity to have their films seen by people in a great venue where they're relaxed. It makes for a very receptive audience."
The only other major holiday film festival is the Aspen Filmfest Academy Screenings in Colorado, Dec. 19 to Jan. 1. Last year, the event screened 18 major motion pictures.