While the Whistler Film Festival always offers up an impressive
roster of independent cinematic offerings to the film-loving public, this year,
organizers are focusing on the industry events.
Angela Heck, the manager of the Whistler Film Festival’s
Filmmaker Forum, said this year, there is a very deliberate shift towards
strengthening the industry aspect of the event.
This is the eighth year for the annual festival, which offers
up screenings of some of the year’s top independent films to the movie-loving
public, alongside seminars, meetings and other events geared towards members of
the filmmaking industry.
“People who are aspiring filmmakers, people who have projects
in the works, who are at different levels in their careers, as well,” she
Basically, the WFF is a great networking opportunity for
novice, midlevel and senior filmmakers and producers.
“That’s really the primary focus of the festival, is because
it’s small, because it’s intimate, you have access to people that you wouldn’t
have access to at a bigger festival,” Heck said.
Last year, the WFF created an environment that fostered some
big, new relationships. And this year, they’re hoping that trend continues.
“We’re hoping that a lot more business gets done at the
festival and deals are signed, and there were some pretty significant ones last
year,” Heck said.
Organizers released the schedule for the Filmmaker Forum last
week, and this year, many of the events again focus on creating networking
opportunities through round table discussions and one-on-one meetings scheduled
through the festival.
The forum kicks off with Pitch Fest West, which gives people a
chance to see what filmmakers are pitching and how their ideas are received by
editors and distributors. Then, they’re offering a master class with a master
of the genre to discuss decision-making in the production and creative aspects.
Another popular event is DOC Talk, which explores documentary production. There
is also a new focus on how new media is changing the face of the industry,
which is embodied by the tag phrase, “new terrain.”
“The new media aspect will really be quite large at this year’s
festival,” Heck said.
There’s also a strong focus on making connections outside of
Canada, with some big names making the trip to Whistler for the festival,
including Amy Beecroft of GreenStreet Films International, Mark Durand, senior
director of ESPN Films, and many other key players from the Los Angeles