Stiff-backed banquet chairs. Hard fluorescent lights. Air-conditioned rooms. While my mind was jazzed with all the information I was receiving and while my spirit was smiling with inspiration, my body was tensing and grimacing by the end of day two. Perfect timing, then, for a walk to the other end of Waikiki for Saturday evening’s screening of The Kings of Appletown.
The walk from Ala Moana Hotel to the movie’s location turned out to be quite a trek. Past the Waikiki Yacht Club, across the Ala Wai Canal and through the heart of Waikiki. Past retail shops like Niketown, Lucky Brand Jeans, Ferrari clothing boutique and past tempting restaurants like PF Chang’s, Roy’s and the ever-popular Duke’s Canoe Club. If tourism is down, like the newspapers say, you wouldn’t know it by the people standing in line outside the Cheesecake Factory.
Sunset on the Beach airs movies on the weekends at Queen’s surf across from the Honolulu Zoo. There’s a 30-foot screen right on the sand and a selection of food vendors running parallel to the water. Nothing healthy, mind you, but some interesting choices from local style and Japanese—to be expected—to Cuban soul food, which quite surprised me. I went straight to the end of the line-up to dessert: Crepes. I recommend the Romeo and Juliet, layered with nutella, bananas and fresh strawberries. Hmm.
Hundreds of people covered the beach with towels, mats and chairs. It was more crowded than daytime. What’s more, the event was FREE. A community event started by a mayor some years ago. Today’s Mayor Mufi Hannemann kicked off the event with opening remarks. Then, Maui Writer’s Conference’s own John Tullius welcomed everyone. Around 8:00, the evening’s feature started.
The Kings of Appletown was directed and produced by Oscar-winning Bobby Moresco. You might know his work. He co-wrote Crash and Million Dollar Baby, scooping up Hollywood’s most prestigious awards for both movies. This new movie was written by Bobby’s daughter Amanda. It was a perfect choice for the Maui Writers Conference, because it was inspired by one of America’s favorite literary masterpieces: Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
I wish I could tell you more, but we were all sworn to secrecy. Specifically, John Tullius asked everyone NOT to blog too much about it and give away its ending. You see, this was the first public viewing of the movie. It hasn’t even debuted in Hollywood. It will be released to theaters later this fall. So, while my lips are sealed—and my fingers frozen—on the matter, let me suggest this: Re-read Adventures of Tom Sawyer.