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Feature - A declaration of independents

The Third Annual Whistler Film Festival celebrates accessible filmmaking technologies

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The Third Annual Whistler Film Festival celebrates accessible filmmaking technologies

It’s not easy to make an independent film.

The list of adjectives describing the process of bringing a set of brainwaves to cinematic fruition without the blank cheque sponsorship of a major Hollywood studio would fill this publication and most of its archives. It’s a lot of things to make an independent film, but easy, it is not.

Of course, the best things in life may be free but the most exciting things are never easy. And if it weren’t for that excitement, there wouldn’t be events to celebrate independent filmmaking like the Whistler Film Festival, which sets itself down and digs into a big, ol’ sloppy third birthday cake this Thursday.

Save the biggest pieces for the original festival creators and current directors Kasi Lubin and Shauna Hardy, who have stayed true to their original vision of creating a major cultural event primarily for the people of the Sea to Sky corridor. Their vision continues to grow as this year the festival will showcase 40 feature and short films, including six world premieres (a six-fold increase over 2001 and 2002 combined), an eight-session filmmaker forum and workshop series, and even a youth-directed mini festival.

Declares Lubin: "We’re on the radar now," right proud, as she should be.

Run as a non-profit society, as are the majority of major film festivals, both Lubin and Hardy are adamant the Whistler festival will retain its community focus.

"To me this film festival is not going to be successful unless we have buy-in from the locals," says Lubin. "We want them to come and support us. Everybody else is gravy."

Adds Hardy: "We want to be one of Whistler’s premier cultural events, we want to provide a really entertaining and engaging lineup for our audience so our programming should appeal first and foremost to Whistler filmgoers."

Those looking for an easy typecast will pin the duo’s statements on the Adventure and Action Sport Filmmaking forum. The Thursday session features celebrated figures such as mountain bike/snow film auteur Christian Begin and the man carrying the torch for Endless Summer, director Bruce Brown’s surf film legacy, son Dana Brown. There are also film offerings such as Dana Brown’s surf documentary Step Into Liquid, part of Thursday’s launch lineup, and Farther than the Eye Can See, a Sunday, Dec. 7 screening documenting the incredible first ever summit of Everest by a blind man.

Athleticism and grand vistas are inseparable from the area and while this year’s festival subtitle, "Experience the Adventure of Film," would appear to draw from the theme, there is also a deeper meaning behind it.

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