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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 15, 2002

Clint Eastwood is Maui fan

By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Maui County Bureau

WAILEA, Maui — Clint Eastwood is a man who appears to have adapted nicely to his "adopted second home" of Maui, where he recently built an oceanfront home.

Clint Eastwood was the honoree, saluted for his filmmaking contributions, but the biggest winner was the 3-year-old Maui Film Festival, which received a major publicity blast with the star's presence.

The Maui News via Associated Press

He showed up at last night's Maui Film Festival event in a comfortable aloha shirt, a pair of casual slacks and some, well, slightly worn sneakers.

"I love Maui. What's not to love?" Eastwood said as he arrived at the Grand Wailea Resort.

The Hollywood legend was given the festival's Piper-Heidsieck Silversword Award for his "contributions to the art of film-making and personal commitment to affect positive change in the world."

An audience in a packed Haleakala ballroom saw clips of films of his 48-year career and gave him a standing ovation as he was presented with the award.

But while Eastwood was the night's honoree, the biggest winner was the 3-year-old Maui Film Festival, which received a major publicity blast with Eastwood's presence.

"Having him agree to allow us to honor him helped let the world know there's a film festival on Maui," said Barry Rivers, festival director. "There are 1,200 film festivals out there, so it's hard to stand out. Even my mom (in Florida) heard about this. Now she knows what I do for a living."

The actor showed up comfortable and relaxed, his wife, Dina, on his arm. Meeting the press beforehand, his humor came to the fore.

When a television reporter suggested that he made "life-affirming movies," Eastwood laughed and said there are those who believe that his films tend to be "life-extinguishing."

His latest film, the thriller "Blood Work," is due in August.

Eastwood predicted big things for the Maui festival, saying its location means it won't have any trouble attracting stars and movie people. As for himself, he joked that it helped that it was only five minutes from his Wailea home. He also said he probably wouldn't be there if it was the "Pacoima Film Festival."

Eastwood, whose primary residence is in Carmel, Calif., said he has always enjoyed coming to Hawai'i, having visited as far back as 1961 to play golf in the Hawaiian Open pro-am. While he continued to visit "now and then," his interest rose after he started dating his wife-to-be in the mid-'90s. He would later present to her a 1.5-acre, multimillion-dollar oceanfront property as a birthday gift.

"We'll be seeing a lot of Maui in the years to come," he said. "It's a beautiful place, a great place."

Dina Eastwood said that if she had her way they would be here all the time.

"My dream is to shift over here. I've been here eight times in the last nine months. I don't want to be anywhere else," she said.

A part-time television news anchor in Salinas, Calif., and the host of "Candid Camera" on the Pax cable network, Dina Eastwood said the couple enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Maui.

"We've literally gone to Hawaiian Moons (a health-food grocery store in Kihei) barefoot," she said. "There he is: Clint Eastwood pushing our shopping cart.

"It's so much fun to be that loose. Carmel is loose, but it's so loose here. We love it.

"As you can see, he forgot his shoes," she said, pointing to her husband. "He said, 'It's Maui — they don't care.' He's so cute. He's such an easygoing guy."