To mark a major milestone in the Whistler Film Festival - 10 years - organizers are introducing a new program, "10 Filmmakers in the Spotlight," to highlight the work of accomplished Canadian filmmakers -directors, producers and actors.
"Well, its our 10th anniversary this year, so we thought we'd like to celebrate our anniversary and be able to spotlight ten filmmakers who have been important filmmakers to us at the festival, whether they were guests with films or they sat on juries, or they were on panels," explained Stacey Donen, artistic director for the Whistler Film Festival.
The impressive lineup includes Atom Egoyan, Daniel Cross, Luc Dery, Julia Kwan, Bruce McDonald, Ron Mann, Tygh Runyan, Jacob Tierney, John Zaritsky and Elizabeth Yake, all of whom will be in attendance at this year's festival.
"Personalities that we thought are part of the reason why we've come to where we are," Donen reflected, "I think they are part of the reason that our festival is succeeding right now."
All 10 filmmakers will be recognized at a spotlight celebration held during the WFF's annual Tribute event on Friday, Dec. 3, which this year recognizes the contributions that two filmmakers have made to the independent film industry.
"Because we think Bruce MacDonald's year has been so amazing, to have three films here at the festival and to have Hard Core Logo II as a world premiere, we're going to be doing sort of a co-tribute to Bruce and Monte Hellman, and it's going to be moderated by Atom Egoyan and hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos," Donen said.
Past Tribute honorees include Ivan Reitman, Donald Sutherland, William Vince, Atom Egoyan, Norman Jewison, Robert Lantos and Philip Borsos.
And speaking of Borsos: the WFF's annual Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature, presented by the Director's Guild of Canada, is named after legendary Canadian filmmaker Phillip Borsos.
The six films in competition for the 2010 Borsos Award and the $15,000 prize it carries - Good Neighbours, Hard Core Logo II, The Bang Bang Club, Jo Pour Jonathan, Small Town Murder Songs and The Whistleblower - will be judged by three jurors: actor Bruce Greenwood, producer Don Carmody and the winner of the '09 Borsos Award, Sophie Deraspe.
After an arduous selection process the festival winnowed down the films in competition to a mere six. "It was a difficult task as there were many wonderful films submitted," Borsos Jury President Greenwood said in a recent release. "Don, Sophie and myself will have a challenging time deciding on who the final winner will be."
And new for 2010, WFF's New Voices International Feature Competition will showcase six innovative
and original narrative films from around the world, judged by a jury that includes Bingham Ray, Callum Keith Rennie and Philippe Falardeau.
Both awards will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 5 at the Whistler Conference Centre.
The 10th annual Whistler Film Festival takes place from Dec. 1 to 5. For more information, visit www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.