Tribeca 2019: 40 Minutes Over Maui

Penny and Larry, played by Julie Brister and Johnny Ray Meeks, in 40 Minutes Over Maui. Photographer: Alex Staniloff.

40 Minutes Over Maui revisits January 13, 2018–best known for being the day in which Hawaii was faced with the threat of extinction.

Anyone who was in Hawaii on that morning received an alert with the following message:


I don’t know about you but I would be in an absolute panic knowing that I only have minutes left on the planet.  It certainly would not be sitting well in my system.  Anyone in the right mind would be freaking out!  Right?!?

The panic would ensue from 8:07 AM until 8:45 AM.  The latter time is when a second message would be sent.  This message would prove that the earlier message was a false alarm.  Of course, the damage was already done because for nearly 40 minutes, it was pure chaos.  Co-directors Michael Feld and Josh Covitt perfectly capture the chaos through the eyes of both Larry (Johnny Ray Meeks) and Penny (Julie Brister).  Imagine being on vacation and learning that it may be your last day on the planet.  This is what Larry and Penny face.  Secrets get told, food gets wasted.  The Armageddon reference absolutely perfect!

Both Johnny Ray Meeks and Julie Brister display perfect chemistry in the film.  We see the torment in their eyes when they learn the world could end.  This could have been a film in which either one could go over the top.  However the duo manages to humanize the situation.  I credit the great writing in the script.  While a thriller would almost certainly be the way to go, it works as a comedy when you view it through the eyes of vacationing parents.  One can only wonder what is going through the head of their daughter.  Imagine being away from your parents knowing that you’ll never see them again!

40 Minutes Over Maui s a very strong contender for the Solzy Award for Best Live-Action Comedy Short.  It’s so hysterical and I can easily imagine this film being expanded to a feature-length film.  That’s not to say that it doesn’t work at 13 minutes because it totally works.  The best short films are the ones that work at their running time.  Trust me it does work with the brief running time.  Then you have films like 40 Minutes Over Maui that leave you wanting more.

DIRECTORS:  Michael Feld, Josh Covitt
SCREENWRITERS:  Steve Feld, Michael Feld, Josh Covitt
CAST:  Julie Brister, Johnny Ray Meeks

40 Minutes Over Maui held its New York premiere during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in the Shorts program.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.