Magazine article Variety

Pics with a Solution

Magazine article Variety

Pics with a Solution

Article excerpt

Maui fest aims to make a difference


If it bleeds, it leads. So goes the mantra of myriad media outfits, websites and - yes - even film fests.

But not the Maui Film Festival. Founder-director Barry Rivers is making sure that this year's sprocket opera in Hawaii skews to the lighter side and enlivens attendees.

"We're looking for films that provide solutions," Rivers says. "It's really important that for the effort it takes to make this festival happen every year, the effort is expended in the direction of trying to offer an alternative vision for the future."

That's why Maui's 14th installment, per Rivers, is a "tempestuous teenager" stocked with pics that will simultaneously promote creating, as well as trusting in, a better tomorrow. The fest, running June 12-16, will unspool 28 features and 18 shorts from France, Mexico, New Guinea and Australia, among other countries, and will include pics that cover topics ranging from military violence to sustainable communities and honeybee extinction.

Rivers and company received roughly 1,000 submissions this year, and narrowed the haul down to an eclectic mix of pics such as Muscle Shoah, My Awkward Sexual Adventure and Big Sur. Of interest is Joss Whedon's take on Much Ado About Nothing, as well as docu The Short Game, which tracks eight Wunderkind competitors at the World Championship of Junior Golf.

Fest is set to open with the preem of Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau, which profiles one of Hawaii's most revered surfers and heroes, and 20 Feet From Stardom, a docu that shines the spotlight on the backup singers who helped shape 20th century pop music. …

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