There’s always something fun going on in Maui! As one of the most popular Hawaiian Islands and one of the top tourist destinations for tourists on the planet, it’s a place everyone should visit at least once. With some of the most swimmable beaches, miles of scenic trails to hike, endless gastronomic delights and more, you’ll find plenty to do, even when there aren’t any special events on the calendar. But the reality is, there’s always something happening on this island, including lively festivals.

Maui Film Festival

If watching movies while sitting on soft, powdery sands underneath a star-filled tropical sky sounds like a dream, you might want to plan your visit to Maui in mid-June. The Annual Maui
Film Festival is a not-to-be-missed event for film buffs and celebrity spotters. Both residents and visitors look forward to an exciting five days and nights of movie premieres, tributes, panels, and food tastings. With more than 1,000 films submitted, curated and reviewed every year, the festival team puts together a directory thats sure to satisfy any movie enthusiast. Since its foundation founding in 2000, its shown over 600 feature-length films, documentaries and shorts from countries across the globe to a broad audience of cinema-goers and filmmakers.

The Stars. While Maui is famous for its fabulous stargazing, this event brings out another type of “star.” In the past, it’s featured a long list of big Hollywood names, including Zooey Deschanel, Emma Roberts, Owen Wilson, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Tim Burton, Zac Efron, Jake Gyllenhaal, Helen Hunt, and Mike Meyers. Its honored many luminaries – alchemists that reveal the “human condition with passion, empathy, wisdom, and depth” like Rob Reiner and Clint Eastwood. Even the 14th Dalai Lama has been an honoree here, defining the Hawaiian term Ho’ohanohano, a value taught to many growing up on the islands, which means to conduct oneself always with honor, and dignity, being honesty and forthrightness.

The Aloha Spirit. The Los Angeles Times has called the festival “Hawaii’s answer to Sundance,” while the Hollywood Reporter says it’s “Cinema Paradiso…with its blend of alfresco screenings, culinary soirees, concerts and surfing clinics…an honoring of life-affirming cinema alongside Hawaiian culture.” The festival even has a special canine “Spiritual Advisor,” ChewQi, who serves as a “living, breathtaking reminder that all beings should be treated with empathy, compassion, and Aloha. ” You can be sure she will be there putting a smile on everyone’s faces. 

The Experience. The Experience. But it’s not just celebrities like ChewQui check spelling/above and Hollywood A-listers that get the star treatment. Attendees are granted over 40 films to choose from throughout the five-day event, as well as the chance to watch Q&A sessions with honored leads. Hosted in Wailea and the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, it isn’t all about cinema either, with as there are multiple special star-studded events.

The Films. The films are obviously the real star of the event, with the Toes-In-The-Sand Cinema a favorite among kama’aina, combining original cinema with Maui’s striking beauty on Wailea Beach. Open to all, it features movies that are exclusively made by Hawaii-based filmmakers. Some are simply for fun, while others are culturally important. Celestial Cinema is held on Wailea’s very best golf course, with a 50-foot screen powered and lit by solar energy. Guests bringing their low-back chairs, blankets or towels and sit back and take part and enjoy films under the stars in an unforgettable evening of cinema.

Special Film Festival Events

The Taste of Summer. The Taste of Summer This is the Official Launch Party for the Maui Film Festival. It typically takes place on the beautiful grounds of the Grand Wailea Resort, bringing the chance to mingle with visiting celebs while sipping creative cocktails and dining on delicious eats. Who can pass up fresh-picked mango with creamed coconut, local Hamakua mushroom- grilled flatbread and the true Hawaiian poke station with local-catch ahi. This is a stunning display of culinary artistry and with glorious sunset views along with admission to two premieres, plus festivities at Celestial Cinema on the night of the event.


The Taste of Chocolate. Called a “non-stop chocolate fantasy” guests dress to impress and savor heavenly flavors and sensual experiences in a luscious affair at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Highlighting the greatest inventions creations of Wailea’s pastry chefs, mostly in the form of chocolate, a ticket includes admission to two premieres and festivities at Celestial Cinema on the evening of the event.

The Taste of Wailea. Hosted at the Wailea Golf Academy, the “crown jewel” event of the festival is one of the hottest parties of the year on Maui, bringing together the island’s preeminent chefs to create a practically endless list of culinary masterpieces. It also includes admission to two premieres plus festivities at Celestial Cinema that night.


Extend Your Maui Vacation with More Exciting Events

Of course, five days is never enough time on this island. With so many exciting events coupled  with endless things to see and do whether you want to relax or get active, you could easily stick around for months and not be ready to leave.

Na Kamehameha Commemorative Pau Parade and  Hoolaulea. Commemorate Alii Nui Kamehameha and his illustrious ohana with this event that opens under the famous Banyan Tree in Lahaina Banyan Tree Park. Happening annually, the 2019 event is June 16-17th on a Saturday morning in mid-June, running through Sunday afternoon. and features Hawaiian music, hula, food, exhibits, keiki activities, Maui-made arts and crafts and a parade.


Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival ‘Maui Style.’ On a Sunday near the Summer Solstice (June 23, 2019), this long-running festival celebrates the nearly two-centuries-old Hawaiian indigenous guitar art form, featuring Hawaii’s top artists in the genre of slack key guitar. The artists showcase unique styles of guitar art, and there will also be “Made In Hawaii” craft items, food and drink.


Where to Stay

There is a wide range of accommodation options on Maui, from hotels and resorts to vacation rentals. A vacation rental is a great option that typically provides many of the comforts of home, allowing you to escape the usual confines of a hotel room and enjoy a more authentic Hawaiian experience. Even better, luxurious rentals can be booked through Ali’i Resorts that are located near film festival venues in Wailea and Makena, including beachfront and oceanfront options. For those looking for more affordable options, comfortable vacation rentals can be found in North Kihei and South Kihei.

Be sure to book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment – you won’t want to miss out on Maui this summer!