By now, island film and party buffs have already gotten their feet wet at the Maui Film Festival at Wailea's kick off on Wednesday.
The 13th annual festival will continue through Sunday, rolling out tributes to its guest movie stars, screening dozens of cutting-edge films and presenting over-the-top culinary affairs at various Wailea venues.
As usual, the culinary affairs always steal the show. The best part is, if you buy a ticket, you get admission to that night's Celestial Cinema. And, while it was previously stated that prices would go up at the start of the festival, the costs haven't budged an inch.
Four Seasons Resort Maui’s Executive Pastry Chef Rhonda Ashton-Chavez is bubbling over with excitement about the Taste of Chocolate on Friday at her resort in Wailea.
CARLA TRACY photo
The crown jewel of the film festival events is the Taste of Wailea, which will dazzle you with its jaw-dropping views, martinis, wines and beer as well as the culinary artistry of 12 top Wailea chefs on Saturday at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy above Celestial Cinema in Wailea.
MAUI FILM FESTIVAL photo
"We are going to keep the special event prices the same throughout the duration of the festival," says its founder and director Barry Rivers. "This pricing is our special Father's Day surprise to the fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers and fathers yet-to-be."
The next special event will be the Taste of Chocolate from 10 p.m. to midnight on Friday on the oceanfront lawn of the Four Seasons Resort Maui.
"Eat it, drink it, love it," says Rivers.
Film fest food and drink at a glance:
all parties include tickets to Celestial Cinema that evening
Taste of Chocolate: Take a stroll and indulge in chocolate desserts, wine and cocktails from 10 p.m. to midnight Friday, oceanfront at Four Seasons Resort Maui. Cost is $125.
Taste of Wailea: Drink in the spectacular views and the martinis and enjoy cuisine from 12 Wailea chefs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday above Celestial Cinema at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, then walk to the movies afterwards. Cost is $120. Must be 21 and older.
Starry Night Moondance: Dance from 10 p.m. to midnight Sunday at Mulligan's on the Blue and savor pupu by new Chef Tim Nelson, and vodka and beer drinks. Cost is $75.
Celestial Cinema: Gannon's will cater chili, sandwiches, salads and hot entrees as well as offer nightly specials in the restaurant.
For tickets: Visit www.mauifilmfestival.com or call 579-9244.
"Dress up and experience the never-been-there, never-had-that, extraordinary flavors and sensual experience that is the Taste of Chocolate. If you've been there, you know what we mean. If you haven't, come experience what you've been missing."
Co-hosted by Variety magazine and sponsored by Guittard Chocolate, this tasty event is THE place to be for chocolate lovers.
"Milk, white and dark. Molten, frozen and everything in between," says Four Seasons Executive Pastry Chef Rhonda Ashton-Chavez. "Delicious cocktails will be combined with chocolate in every form. Action stations will have something for everyone such as chocolate waffles, made-to-order souffles, and ice cream on cold stones. And don't forget the mini donut station ...warm and delicious."
The Four Seasons Director of Food and Beverage Stephane Castera will also bring in Gruet Demi Sec sparkling wines, and ports from Kople. Strolling prima violinist Andrea Walls will perform.
The signature culinary event is Taste of Wailea from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, high above Celestial Cinema on the slopes of Haleakala at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy. "Co-hosted by Where Wailea, it's the crown jewel of the festival's culinary arts celebrations with cuisine by 12 of Wailea's top chefs," says Rivers.
Participating restaurants include Monkeypod Kitchen, Ko, Ferraro's, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Tommy Bahama, Bistro Molokini, Gannon's, Joe's, Mulligan's, Mala Wailea, Spago and Capische. Savor lamb with coconut rice, spicy ahi poke, watermelon gazpacho, Kula spinach salad, pork Milanese, and much more.
"With many of Maui's best restaurants and hotels participating, this event should not be missed!" agrees Michael Rose, who coordinates the beverages. "With great food, spirits, and breath-taking views, it's the party to watch and be watched."
Southern Wines and Spirits will pour fine wines from around the world. Maui's Ocean Vodka will ice down assorted martinis, and Stella Artois will do a selection of craft beers. Surprise! Surprise! with Dr. Nat and Emily Tavo will entertain you.
The entire festival culminates with a wild dance party at Mulligan's On the Blue Sunday. Its new Executive Chef Tim Nelson will wow guests with Kona lobster and rock shrimp corn dogs with Maui mango ketchup, local catch fried in light Harp beer batter with crisp Irish steak fries, slow-cooked corned beef sliders with horseradish cream, and flat breads topped with Hamakua mushrooms and herbed cream cheese.