January 17, 2024

County film commissioner retires, reflects on growth of Maui industry

After 10 years in the position, County of Maui Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett has retired from his government post to enter the private sector.

Bennett retired from the county on Dec. 31, 2023, to focus on producing his own films and live music events. He was appointed by Mayor Alan Arakawa in 2013 and served under the county’s Office of Economic Development (OED).

The film commissioner works with film, television, new media and industrial media production companies to cultivate Maui County’s film industry.

“It’s been an honor to serve as the Maui County Film Commissioner for the last 10 years, trying to grow the industry, get people trained, and help diversify Maui’s economy,” Bennett said. “Mahalo to Mayors Arakawa, Victorino and Bissen for their support and understanding of the film/TV industry, as well as Maui Economic Development Board’s Teena Rasmussen and OED directors Kay Fukumoto, JoAnn Inamasu and Luana Mahi for believing in my abilities and connections to grow the industry and trust the necessary steps for the industry to thrive here.”

Over the last decade, county OED and Bennett helped generate more than $60 million in film production for the local economy, even during the COVID-19 shutdown. Recent work included facilitating major 2020 productions, including USA Network’s “Temptation Island” and HBO’s “The White Lotus.” In 2021, feature film “Paradise City,” starring John Travolta and Bruce Willis, filmed on Maui for five weeks.

The Office of Economic Development is spearheading recruitment for the County of Maui film commissioner position. For information, email economic.development@mauicounty.go or visit www.mauicounty.gov/film.

Tracy Bennett