Stars shine at Maui Film Fest opening night
BY CHRISTIE WILSON / email@example.com
Lupita Nyong’o is the hottest thing going in fashion and film, and this week she’s bringing her luminous presence to the Maui Film Festival, which kicked off Wednesday night with an opening reception at Capische? restaurant in the Hotel Wailea.
Nyong’o, 31, who captured the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in recognition of her heart-wrenching role in “12 Years a Slave,” will receive the festival’s Rainmaker Award on Saturday. The honor recognizes film artists “whose eclectic choices and charismatic performances encourage us all to expand our
definition of what it means to be human.”
She attended the opening reception along with fellow festival honorees Shep Gordon, Joe Manganiello, Emma Roberts and Evan Rachel Wood.
It already has been a big week for Nyong’o, as she was a presenter at the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s annual fashion awards in New York on Monday. She also appears on the verge of conquering the sci-fi universe, with this week’s announcement that she is joining the cast of J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VII,” which just started production. The surefire blockbuster is set for release Dec. 18, 2015.
Roberts attended the reception with fiance and “American Horror Story” co-star Evan Peters, who is getting rave notices for his work as Peter/Quicksilver in “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” currently in theaters.
In a ceremony Thursday, Roberts will be presented with the Maui Film Festival’s Shining Star Award, which honors a film artist “who dares to dream big dreams and delivers brilliantly charismatic and revelatory performances every time that opportunity knocks.”
On Friday, Evan Rachel Wood (“True Blood”) will receive the Nova Award for her “original and seamless performances” and consistently infusing her characters “with insight, humanity and wisdom.” Her “True Blood” co-star, Joe Manganiello, will be presented the Triple Threat Award later in the evening. The award honors a multitalented artist “who brilliantly juggles three major roles — director, actor, producer — in the creation of narrative and documentary projects.”
Manganiello, memorable as a supremely endowed male stripper in “Magic Mike” — is screening his new documentary about male dancers, “La Bare,” at the Maui festival.
Wednesday night also saw Maui entertainment impresario and restaurateur Shep Gordon honored with the festival’s Maverick Award, which honors an individual “who has the courage of their convictions and spares no effort to do the right thing to help those whose life’s work inspires him.” Gordon is the subject of Mike Myers documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” which screened Wednesday.
The Maui Film Festival, in its 15th year, has never had trouble attracting the brightest lights in filmmaking, who no doubt appreciate the event’s casual atmosphere amid the luxury of the Wailea Resort, as well as founders Barry and Stella Rivers’ emphasis on films featuring “compassionate and transformative storytelling.”
Past honorees have included Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Tim Burton, Jessica Chastain, Clint Eastwood, Zac Efron, Andrew Garfield, Jake Gyllenhaal and Woody Harrelson.
The event is also noteworthy for its astounding outdoor venues on the golf courses and beaches of Wailea. The festival runs through Sunday, June 8.
For film times, venue information and ticket prices, go to mauifilmfestival.com.