MauiFEST Hawaii

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Destination Lahaina Film Festival

This Saturday, August 9, 2008, Lahaina will be the destination for food, live music, and movies. The Lahaina Film Festival 2008 is the first of a series of film festivals and special events that comprise MauiFEST, and they are getting this season off to a roaring start, with an evening rich in culture, tradition and community. The admission is free and beginning at 4 p.m. with the Hawaiian blessing by Kaliko Beamer, there will be Taiko drumming followed by live music until sunset on the grounds of Campbell Park on Front Street in the heart of Lahaina town. Once dark has fallen, the films will begin. A mix of film shorts and feature length films, they are united in one important detail – Hawaii. Hawaiian film makers, locations, actors, artists, stories, myths, legends and language will all be seen and heard during this very special evening.

At the heart of MauiFEST is the spirit of ‘ohana. The events are held in locations that are anything but central, to encourage tourists and residents to come from other areas of the island to share an authentic Hawaiian experience. This year, there will be film festivals held in Hana and on Molokai, in addition to this weekend’s event in Lahaina.

Bradda Francis Koahou, who will be performing on Saturday night, believes in the importance of these gatherings. “Lord knows, that our culture has been modernized and stripped from its natural beauty and an event like the MauiFEST Hawai‘i Lahaina Film Festival is a chance not only for the visitors, but for all our Maui families to experience our Hawaiian culture as it was meant to be."

The very first MauiFEST film festival was held in Hana in 2003, and since then they have expanded to include Lanai, Molokai, and Lahaina. Uncle Boy Kanae is one of the Executive Directors of MauiFEST, and he explains the organization’s evolution“Ken and I had been producing our MauiFEST Hawai‘i Hana and Molokai Film festivals for a few years, as a celebration of Hawaiian music arts, culture and film. They have been embraced by the communities, giving local families and tourists an opportunity to experience a real Hawaiian film and music festival, all for free. We have also brought in world renowned musicians in Jazz, Blues, World Music and Hawaiian Music genres along with award winning Polynesian films that include some World Premiere’s. We were asked by many local families and business owners on the west side of Maui to bring our event to Lahaina and we just pulled together with our ‘ohana and Waiola Church and now it is in its third year and we love to bring families together to experience true Aloha."

As an Executive Director and Founder of MauiFEST, Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier has the daunting task of choosing the films which run during the festival, in addition to organizing the actual event. “Being a Maui filmmaker the selection of films is always a wonderful and sometimes difficult task. I try to keep track with other local filmmakers on their latest projects throughout the islands and Pacific. I want to give the filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their work to our families and visitors, and to share our Hawaiian culture through this form of storytelling.”

This year the films include: The Turtle and the Shark–an animated short film; Requiem–a shark documentary; Palm Trees & Protégés–a film of some intense Hana surfing; Halau Nalu–a look at native surfing in a Hawaiian language film; Ma ka Hana ka ike (In doing, one learns)–a film about exploring life changes for Hana students; Mai Tai–a story of two guys looking for paradise in all the wrong places

The animated short films: Guard Dog and Hot Dog & Guide Dog; Voyages–an Herb Kane journey of the Hawaiians; Kekohi–a Maui-made adventure film set in the time of King Kamehameha; Children of the Long Canoes–an incredible story of the first Hawaiians; and The Punalu‘u Experience–which explores the natural and cultural history of Punalu‘u on the Big Island.

Along with the entertainment, MauiFEST is also a destination for grinds, gifts, and gear. For a special sit-down dinner overlooking the festivities, reservations are available at the Front Street Grill and Bar for VIP seating. For a more casual meal, there will also be a selection of food booths in the festival. The organization donates tent space free to various clubs and organizations, to sell items of their choice, spread awareness, and raise funds. In keeping with the spirit of ‘ohana, the event is open to all ages, and is completely family-friendly. One of the families that will be there both onstage and in the audience, is the renowned Beamer ‘ohana. There will be several performances by family members, and a tribute to the legendary Aunty Nona Beamer, presented by Keola and Moanalani Beamer.
“MauiFEST Hawai‘i Lahaina Film fest brings people together in an environment that is family friendly. You can bring your kids, sit down on a blanket on the grass and share the aloha of your community and friends, all this, without cost. Kenny Martinez Burgmaier runs MauiFEST Hawai‘i like extended ‘ohana, and the Beamer ‘ohana is proud to be a part of it,”says Keola Beamer.

So for a free, family-friendly evening rich in culture and community spirit, head over to Lahaina Saturday, August 9, 2008 for the Lahaina Film Festival. Bring a date or your family, a low-backed lawn chair or blanket, and reconnect with your community, the island, and it’s culture.







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