Maui Arts & Entertainment

Day 4 of Maui Film Festival features “Blueback” and “The Road to Patagonia”

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Day four of the Maui Film Festival‘s Stardust Cinema features two films: “Blueback” at 5:30 p.m, and “The Road to Patagonia” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, 2023. The program on Saturday also includes Luminary Award Presentations at 7:45 p.m. to:

  • Annie Gonzalez, starring as ‘Judy Montañez’ in Flamin’ Hot, with the Rising Star Award; and
  • Yara Shahidi, starring as ‘Tinker Bell’ in Disney’s live action film Peter Pan & Wendy, will receive the Shining Star Award.

The festival kicked off on Wednesday and includes 11 feature film premieres over five days through Sunday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.

BLUEBACK Official Trailer (2023) / Rapid Trailer – YouTube

The film “Blueback” follows Abby, a child who befriends an enormous blue grouper while diving. A description of the film notes: “When Abby realizes that the fish is under threat, she takes inspiration from her activist mother to take on poachers save her friend and the beautiful bay they live on.”

In the film, “The Road to Patagonia” the lives of two strangers are changed forever “when they cross paths of the surfing adventure of a lifetime, discovering love, downshifting and four charismatic horses.”

Luminary Award Presentations

Annie Gonzalez (left) credit: Nalani Hernandez-Melo; and Yara Shahidi (right) credit: Ally Green.

Yara Shahidi, who can currently be seen starring as ‘Tinker Bell’ in Disney’s live action film Peter Pan & Wendy, will receive the Shining Star Award which recognizes “a film artist who dares to dream big and delivers brilliantly charismatic and revelatory performances every time that opportunity knocks.”

An award-winning actress, producer, and the breakout star of ABC’s Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated series black-ish, Shahidi currently serves as executive producer and lead of Freeform’s black-ish spinoff series, grown-ish. She also executive produces and stars in Meta’s new interview show, Yara Shahidi’s Day Off, where she joins her celebrity peers and gets a glimpse into their lives through a variety of experiences that reflect their authentic interests outside of their fame.

Next up, Shahidi will executive produce and star in Amazon Studios’ upcoming romantic-comedy Sitting in Bars with Cake. She will also appear in the upcoming action-thriller Ballerina Overdrive, alongside Lana Condor and Lena Headey.

Off-screen, Shahidi is a champion for inclusive media programming, and an advocate for equity. Identified as a leader of the New Hollywood guard, she has received numerous accolades for her work outside of entertainment, such as TIME Magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens, Forbes 30 Under 30, British Vogue Forces for Change, Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year and Essence Magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood to name a few. Inspired by her extensive work with President and First Lady Obama, Shahidi founded Eighteen x 18, now called WeVoteNext, to shine a light on Gen Z and BIPOC inclusion in the political process. A sought-after public speaker, Shahidi has appeared in conversation with university peers and thought leaders such as: Dr. Angela Davis, President Obama, Harry Belafonte Jr., former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Dr. Cornell West, Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock.


In May 2023, Shahidi graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in Social Studies and African American Studies with a concentration in Black Political Thought Under a Neocolonial Landscape.

Annie Gonzalez, who can currently be seen starring in the lead female role of ‘Judy Montañez’ in Eva Longoria’s feature film directorial debut, Flamin’ Hot, for Searchlight Pictures, will be presented with the Rising Star Award which recognizes an actor or actress for abundant creativity to support honest and life-changing art.

Flamin’ Hot is the inspirational life story of Richard Montañez, the Frito-Lay janitor who utilized his Mexican American heritage to develop Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and ultimately created a pop culture phenomenon that disrupted the food industry. The film premiered at this year’s SXSW and received the “Audience Choice” award. It is currently the #1 movie streaming premiere in Searchlight Pictures’ history and the first film to get a simultaneous release on Disney+ and Hulu where it premiered on June 9 and is currently streaming.

Gonzalez will next be seen starring in the upcoming highly anticipated Jenni Rivera biopic, where she plays the incredible Jenni, herself. She will next be seen in the upcoming independent thriller Body Language and an untitled Ethan Coen project.


“Gonzalez’s charisma, beauty, comedic timing, and strong dramatic performances continue to cement her as one of Hollywood’s new leading talents. She is an outspoken advocate for civil rights and Latinx culture,” according to a festival news release. Gonzalez resides in East Los Angeles.

The Maui Film Festival takes place June 28 to July 2 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. 

For the latest film details, go to Maui Film Festival. Five-night passes are $175, plus applicable fees, and are on sale only by phone at 808-242-7469 at offices open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Individual nightly tickets are $36 on sale at or by phone at 808-242-7469.


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