Maui Film Festival
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2014 Archive

Feature Film Documentary
(2013, 93 mins)
Hawaii Premiere

Dean Kamen is a living example of a classic American type—the genius inventor, the mechanical tinkerer who lives to solve problems. He invented the Segway, a form of personal transportation midway between the extremes of walking and firing up the old multi-ton SUV. He also created the FIRST robotics program, which has revolutionized science education in American schools, especially in Hawai‘i. His great Promethean artifact, though, is Slingshot, a portable "vapor compression distiller" that can provide fresh drinking water to even the remotest, most desperate villages on the planet.

Director Paul Lazarus, whose abundance of credits runs widely through live theater and top-quality television, has create this documentary from his obvious admiration of Kamen. But the filmmaker's purpose is not to flatter. We see the humanity of this eccentric inventor—his dyslexic youth, his remarkable family, his high intellectual energy balanced against the child-like expressions that dance along his face. When Kamen goes to the Coca-Cola corporation, the global bandit of fresh water, to cut a deal for distribution of his Slingshot machines, this film looks squarely at the issue of moral ambiguity. "A 21st century problem needs a 21st century solution," says Kamen, but solutions are devilishly hard to realize. This doc speaks directly to the troubles of our time.

- PW

Screening Schedule
Sun, Jun 8th 8:00pm
Toes-in-the-Sand Cinema - Wailea Beach

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