Maui Arts & Entertainment

Maui Film Festival Presents “FirstLight” Dec. 21-22

December 17, 2018, 12:46 PM HST
* Updated December 18, 8:06 AM
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FirstLight 2018.

The 20th Annual FirstLight academy screenings returns to Maui with six critically acclaimed films presented on the big screen at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater.

Celebrate the season and great cinema on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 21 and 22, 2018.

Films include:

  • Weed the People: Friday, Dec. 21 at (3 p.m.) This look beyond pot-activist propaganda and politics will challenge everything you thought you knew about medical marijuana. Filmmakers Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein reveal the stories of ordinary people who are caught up in the controversy and who, despite the potential legal consequences.  There is little more inspiring than seeing stories of these child patients whose symptoms have improved through herbal medicine that their parents illegally obtained. It will give anyone, of whatever age, hope for the benefits that pairing chemotherapy treatments with doses of cannabis oil, can dramatically, in many people, shrink their tumors and increase their odds of survival.  (NR/97 min.  Directed by Abby Epstein.  Courtesy of Mangurama Consciousness Films) (click here to view trailer)
  • Roma: Friday, Dec. 21, 2018 (5 p.m.) Yaritza Aparicio stars in the newest feature, from Academy Award® winning (Gravity) director and writer Alfonso Cuarón, who also directed Gravity, Children of Men and Y Tu Mama Tambien. It follows Cleo, a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s. His first project since the groundbreaking Gravity in 2013, it is enthralling for Cuarón’s command of his visual craft. Every frame of this masterwork is nothing less than picture perfect. (click here to view trailer)
  • Free Solo: Friday, Dec. 21, 2018 (7:30 p.m.) From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi (Meru) and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin comes this stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock … the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park … without a rope.  Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, it is both an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of the triumph of the human spirit. (click here to view trailer)
  • At Eternity’s Gate: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 (2 p.m.) Academy Award® nominees Julian Schnabel directs and Willem DaFoe — named Best Actor at the 2018 Venice Film Festival and more recently nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama — stars and in this journey inside the world and mind of world renowned painter Vincent van Gogh who, despite skepticism, ridicule and illness, created some of the world’s most beloved and stunning works of art. This is not a forensic biography, but rather scenes based on Vincent van Gogh’s (Academy Award (R) Nominee Willem Dafoe) letters, common agreement about events in his life that present as facts, hearsay, and moments that are just plain invented. (click here to watch trailer)
  • She is the Ocean: Saturday, Dec. 22 (4 p.m.) You will be enthralled by this magical film.   9 Women.  9 Spirits. 9 Heroes.  These six words are director’s Inna Blokhina’s shorthand for the essence of her full-length documentary about great women from all four corners of the globe and who share one love — their deep love for the ocean.  They include Big Wave Surfers Keala Kennelly and Andrea Moller, Pro Surfer Coco Ho, Surfing Prodigy Cinta Hansel, Marine Biologist Ocean Ramsey, High Diver Anna Bader, Free Diver Rose Molina, Soul Surfer Jeannie Chesser and Oceanographer Sylvia Earle.  A perfect film for anyone to enjoy — especially Dads and their daughters on Father’s Day! (NR /101 min. Directed by Inna Blokhina.  Courtesy of InWave Production) (click here to view trailer)
  • Momentum Generation: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 (6 p.m.) Executive produced by Robert Redford, rarely and never before seen archival footage and contemporary interviews with this legendary crew of many of the best surfers on Earth, including surfers Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Kalani Robb, Taylor Steele, and Pat O’Connell, are features in this heart-pounding, heartwarming story — made for best viewing on the 50’ wide Big Screen at the Castle Thearer — transports audiences to the moment when this microcosm of a sport catalyzed a seismic shift—the moment when a group of guys, fueled in equal measure by camaraderie and competition, broke records, won world titles, and redefined a sport forever and beyond. (click here to view trailer)
  • VoxLux: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 (8 p.m.)Natalie Portman, in one of the most mesmerizing performances of her career, stars alongside Jude Law, Raffey Cassidy and Stacy Martin, in this 21st Century portrait of a young singer who delivers a life-changing performance under trying circumstances, that takes her, initially in her teenage years, on what becomes a lifelong journey as burgeoning pop star whose meteoric rise to fame dovetails with a personal and national loss of innocence.  Told with sharp intelligence and visual style this young powerhouse rises to a new kind of celebrity: American icon, secular deity, global superstar and years later a pop savior navigating the challenges of monolithic fame. (click here to view trailer)

Tickets: VIP Fast Pass $48 (plus applicable fees); $12 per entry with a 4-Film FastPass or $14 for single tickets (single tickets will be available for purchase in advance, date TBD – check for more info/applicable fees for online and phone orders).

Show times vary. For more information visit or


Weed the People.


Free Solo

At Eternity’s Gate

She is the Ocean.

Momentum Generation

Vox Lux

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