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Patagonia Surf Ambassador Gerry Lopez will receive the Visionary Award from the Maui Film Festival. The film “The Yin & Yang of Gerry Lopez” is premiering at the festival. Photo by Tim Davis

Among the 80 features, documentaries and shorts screened at the 2022 Maui Film Festival, the extensive lineup includes the world premiere of slam poet Kealoha’s brilliant performance work, “The story of everything.”

Screening at 8 p.m. Friday at the A&B Amphitheater at the Maui Arts Cultural Center, “The Story of Everything” is a remarkable multimedia creative story that explores the origins of life, consciousness and existence, from the big bang to the present day, using science, poetry, storytelling, movement, music, the arts visuals, special effects and Kumulipo singing.

“We are a collective of notes in the jazz scale of humanity united by the song of our breath”, advertises Kealoha in the film. “And although we speak in different languages, we dream the same dreams, connected by our collective experience.”

Told in epic poem form, it is an extraordinary artistic achievement by Hawaii’s first Poet Laureate, who will attend the screening.

The genesis of the project began 10 years ago when Kealoha became a parent. “A recurring question was that one day this kid will ask me where we come from? I started to answer this through the prism of science. The explanation came out in the form of story, poetry and vision with music and pictures. I fleshed it out for a whole production.

After taking the stage production on the road, Kealoha was approached by the Engaging The Senses Foundation to turn it into a film.

“The Story of Everything” features visual art projections by Solomon Enos, music by ukulele virtuoso Taimane, Makana and global beat band Quadraphonix, oli presented by Kumu Hula Kau’i Kanaka’ole and dances by Jamie Nakama, Jonathan Clarke Sypert and Jory Horn in collaboration with choreographer Wailana Simcock.

“Solomon Enos has created over 100 works of art that move history forward”, he explained. “Taimane composed some songs for the film, and Kau’i Kanaka’ole, who lives in Hana, sings the Kumulipo.”

Before becoming a poet, Kealoha studied nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and interned at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He gave the commencement address at MIT in May, honoring the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.

“It was a process” he said of his transition from nuclear engineer to acclaimed poet. “I immersed myself in a poetic passion. It has become my job. »

Kealoha hopes her film “will change the world or at least affect people in a significant way. One element is how can I make her world a better place? Another huge thing that we’re trying to do is bring science creatively to people, to make it accessible.

An epic tribute to a Honolulu-born surfing legend, “The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez” explores the evolution of a lifelong yogi who took surfing to new frontiers. Lopez explains in the film: “Yoga and surfing have been the most important yin yang balancing act of my life.” Featuring dramatic pipeline surf scenes from Oahu and Bali’s Uluwatu “perfect waves”, it projects at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Lopez and the film’s director Stacy Peralta will be honored at the premiere.

Another world premiere, the new feature from Kauai-born director Etienne Aurelius “KAPO” screens at 8 p.m. Saturday at the festival. A gripping drama, starring Mainei Kinimaka, it tells the story of a young Native Hawaiian woman fleeing an abusive relationship with a drug-addicted boyfriend, who swears deadly revenge.

While heading to the wild highlands of the island, she discovers a mythical creature that brings her back to her ancestral roots. With her spirit restored, she emerges strengthened and rejuvenated.

With Hawaiian and English subtitled dialogue, the film contains mature themes and content, and parental guidance is suggested.

Kinimaka is the daughter of big wave surfing legend, Titus Kinimaka. In 2015, she wrote and directed a short film highlighting the issue of domestic violence in her Hawaiian community. Her cousin is actor Jason Momoa.

Aurèle also directed “Pe’ahi,” about a 13-year-old homeless surfer from Maui who befriends world big wave champion Kai Lenny. It screens at 8 p.m. Sunday at MACC.

Among the films available online at the festival’s Virtual Cinema, a new documentary that will resonate on Maui, “The Last Tourist” is a shocking expose that chronicles the ravages of modern global tourism. Hotspots are overrun, quaint towns submerged, environmental degradation, animal exploitation and the negative impact of huge cruise ships. “Tourism can kill a place” says famed primatologist Jane Goodall in the film. “A place that used to be so beautiful can become trashed.”

“KAPU: Sacred Hawaiian Burials” features Hawaiian filmmaker Keoni Kealoha Alvarez and her transformative journey of self-discovery and quest for knowledge about Hawaiian burial practices. His inspiration came as a young boy, when he discovered an ancient Hawaiian burial cave near his home. “The burial cave chose me to be their voice,” says Alvarez in this fascinating film. “I am their guardian and protector.”

“Ka Mo’opuna I Ke Alo, the Grandchild in the Presence” is a short documentary paying tribute to the life and work of Mary Kawena Pukui. Born in 1895, she helped preserve hula kahiko; nupepa, mele and oli translated at the Bishop Museum; and co-author of “Hawaiian dictionary.” “Will Hawaii remain Hawaii, without the knowledge of Hawaiian culture? she asks in the documentary.

“Ola Ka Honua” is an animated short film from the Auwahi Forest Restoration Project. Since 1997, the project’s mission has been to restore and preserve tracts of native forest in Auwahi on Maui. Artist Jili Rose spent two years hand drawing the animation.

The 2022 Maui Film Festival runs Wednesday through Sunday at MACC’s A&B Amphitheater and Wednesday through July 31 online at the Virtual Cinema. Each $36 Stardust Pass for MACC includes all one night’s movies and festivities. A five-night pass costs $160. Advance tickets are available online at www.mauiarts.org. Speed ​​of Light Virtual Cinema screenings are $12 per movie program. More information is available at www.mauifilmfestival.com.




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Darcy J. Skinner