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Film fest rolls into action

Whistler Film Festival announces 26 premiers and 92 films for this year’s lineup

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What: Whistler Film Festival

When: Nov. 29 to Dec. 2

Where: Whistler

Whistler Film Festival passes are now on sale and festival goers can look forward to more films, awards and special events than ever from the Whistler Film Festival, Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 in Whistler.

“Two-thousand and seven has been a great year for films and we strive to bring a healthy mix to our audience, from major films from world renowned filmmakers to thought-provoking documentaries and artistically adventurous films in our Borsos Competition,” said Bill Evans, director of programming. “We also include spectacular imagery in our Mountain Culture series and the bizarre in our Late Night film section, plus a great selection of short films and a new program: Kidz Fest.”

Festival screenings are organized into seven categories: the Borsos Competition, World Cinema, Documentary, Mountain Culture, Late Nite Series, Shortfest and Kidz Fest.

The finalists for the 2007 Borsos Competition will compete for a $15,000 cash prize. The all B.C.-premier film lineup includes River, Portage, Amal, Walk All Over Me, Family Motel and Continental, A Film Without Guns.

Highlights in the World Cinema category include Louis Lombardi’s Doughboys , the story of two Bronx brothers trying to save the family bakery from local gangsters, and Death Defying Acts , starring Guy Pearce as Harry Houdini and Catherine Zeta Jones as the woman who tries to seduce him.

Select documentaries to look out for include Chichester’s choice , a filmmaker’s exploration of her father’s descent into homelessness; Lovable , women discussing the challenges of being single; and Without The King , an exploration of the absolute monarchy of Swaziland and the freedom fighters seeking to end the King’s reign.

Mountain culture gets outdoor enthusiasts into nature with six films, one Canadian and five international.

For night owls, the Late Night Series includes They Wait , a Western medicine encounter with eastern mythology, and Nobody , a film noir nightmare of mob murders and mystery.

Family fun is slated for Kidz Fest with a screening of Luna: Spirit of the Whale , the dramatic story of a young stray orca that takes up residence near a small B.C. town.

Free films will head into the great outdoors with short films screened in Whistler Village, including a special showing of Whistler Stories films (four commissioned local films celebrating Whistler) as well as Snowing, Going, Gone , an environmental film made by Whistler youth.

Films in different categories will compete for five prestigious awards, including the $15,000 Borsos Award, $5,000 for Best Documentary, $1,000 for Best Short Film and $500 for Best Mountain Culture Film.

Special events are slated for the festival as well.

The opening gala presents the B.C. premier of Denys Arcand’s Days of Darkness , the follow up to his successful Decline of the American Empire and his Oscar-winning Barbarian Invasions. The comedy, about a middle-aged bureaucrat with an over-active fantasy life, closed the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The gala will open with the screening of Whistler Stories films for 2007. B.C. filmmakers produced the films as part of the festival’s Whistler Stories filmmaking commissioning program. Each year, from 2005 to 2009, four filmmakers are awarded $5,000 to create a short film based on Whistler stories.

The festival also honours a celebrated Canadian filmmaker at a special gala. This year the festival pays tribute to Atom Egoyan, president of the Borsos Competition. The producer most famously known for his Academy-Award-nominated film The Sweet Hereafter will discuss his life and work with Brian D. Johnson, noted author and film critic for Maclean’s magazine .

The B.C. premier of Paolo Barzman’s Emotional Arithmetic will also be a special presentation. The film features Susan Sarandon and Gabriel Byrne in a story of redemption and healing ignited by the reunion of three survivors of a WW II internment camp.

The festival hits the fast lane with the Celebrity Challenge, with industry celebrities, filmmakers and ski/snowboard pros tearing up Whistler Mountain at an invite-only dual-slalom race. The fun-raiser supports the festival’s professional development programs for independent Canadian filmmakers.

The Whistler Film Festival box office is now open for advance festival and Filmmaker Forum passes. Individual tickets go on sale online on Nov. 8.

For more information or to book passes, contact 1-877-913-3456 or visit whistlerfilmfestival.com.

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