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Filmmakers’ festival


Nicole Fitzgerald
gives us the scoop on what's rolling at the Whistler Film Festival.

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The forum lineup is the equivalent of a feature-film, reducing this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival networking forum to little more than a preview trailer.

Great things come in small packages. Hardy Mishaw aims to keep the Whistler Film Festival the intimate gathering the mountain town inspired, so filmmakers can continue to bump into contacts along the Village Stroll in between screenings rather than get lost in the gridlocked rush hour of film festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival, where filmmakers fall through the red carpet cracks.

Echoes of a festival contact

0pt; font-family:Times'>Maybe that is why James Upton, despite attending the Vancouver International Film Festival for three years, didn’t land his first big break until he headed north of the city lights to a town more famous for its great outdoors than its culture.

While the festival sparks connections, how a filmmaker/producer follows through and what they bring to that connection determines whether that initial meeting is going to spread like wildfire or fade to black with the festival’s closing credits.

Talking with Upton, co-founder of Talelight Films, the level of professionalism and organization for his young production company was clearly evident; He explained the company’s mandate and current and future film projects with the polish of a press release.

It was this cross every “t” and dot every “i" dedication that closed a film deal this year. However, even with all the talent and dedication in the world, conquering the film industry beast requires more than a quality product, it requires contacts with the right people and being in the right place at the right time.

And thanks to the Whistler Film Festival, all three components — talent, contact and timing — came together, resulting in Talelight Films landing a three-feature-film contract with Montreal-based Equinoxe Films.

“I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded filmmakers, sales agents and distributors,” Upton said of coming to the Whistler Film Festival last year. “What an incredible environment to host a festival where independent film can be celebrated in a relaxed, but professional atmosphere.”

Upton approached Michael Mosca, senior vice-president of Equinoxe Films, after attending one of the filmmaker forum discussion panels last year. Business cards were exchanged and Upton arranged a meeting the next day to discuss his company and a short film Talelight was currently in post-production with called Echoes of an Epic .