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Arts Now money flows to Whistler

$6,000 to Whistler Writers, Film Festival

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A local writers group and a film festival are moving forward thanks to funding from 2010 Legacies Now, a program aiming to build the arts capacity of B.C. communities in time for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"Arts Now is absolute magic," said Lisa Richardson, spokesperson for the Whistler Writers’ Group, one of two local organizations benefiting from this week’s funding announcement.

"It is really making things happen. Until our festival grows to critical mass where it can sustain itself, we really need financial support from programs like these."

Arts Now is a division of the provincial government’s 2010 Legacies Now program, which recently invested more than $600,000 in 58 organizations in 27 communities across B.C. The program has invested $2 million in B.C. art communities to date.

The Whistler Writers’ Group, a.k.a. The Vicious Circle, received $6,000 to support the fifth annual four-day Writers Retreat and Festival, and the Whistler Film Festival received $6,000 for the second annual Whistler Stories, a short film competition for B.C. filmmakers.

Richardson credited the Arts Now funding, along with a $1,000 grant from the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s Community Enrichment Program, for the organization’s ability to bring in big-name authors while at the same time keeping workshop and reading event fees affordable.

Scribblers have plenty to look forward to at the Writers Retreat and Festival Sept. 14 to 17. Guest literary talents include Joseph Boyden, author of Three Day Road ; Eden Robinson, author of the Governor General’s Award-nominated Monkey Beach ; and Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians chairperson and author.

The festival hosts a myriad of activities, including everything from workshops and roundtables to readings and lectures. For more information, visit www.theviciouscircle.ca.

The Whistler Film Festival is also pleased to move forward with the Whistler Stories program thanks in part to Arts Now.

"It enables us to run the program; it basically is great support to Whistler and area filmmakers," said Bill Evans, the festival’s director of programming. "(Whistler Stories) gives us the opportunity to tell our own stories to the world. That is part of the idea behind the inception of the Whistler Stories program. World attention is going to be focused on us more and more over the next four years. Rather than outsiders coming in and telling the world what we are about, why not tell our own stories leading to the Olympics?"

The submission call for the Whistler Stories competition was announced last week, inviting filmmakers to submit applications to compete for one of four $5,000 production grants. Grant monies will be used to produce a five-minute short film for the 6 th Annual Whistler Film Festival. Deadline for entries is June 9.

For entry forms, visit www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.

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