Features & Images » Feature Story

Filmmakers’ festival

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



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Whistler Stories awards four independent B.C. filmmakers grant money to produce a five-minute short film every year, leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. With media attention turning to the resort in 2010, festival organizers wanted to ensure the B.C. community had a voice in contributing the stories they wanted shared around the world. The funding also provided an opportunity for filmmakers to take their talents to the next level.

Co-writer John Meadow’s idea to produce a film based on the theme that “every day is the gold medal game” was what first spurred Voice of Treason’s Heart of Whistler . However, the opportunity to produce a calling-card that would show to more than 1,400 people at the festival’s opening gala lent fuel to the creative fires already stoked by coffee and takeout pizza.

“Short films are not money makers; they are career builders,” Hegan said. “It gives us a chance to flex our short story-telling muscles and have some cash. The Whistler Film Festival’s generosity really made this happen.”

The festival presented the opportunity and Hegan ran with it, or rather rollerbladed with camera in hand barreling down the Valley Trail. However, the Heart of Whistler will beat long after the festival’s rolling credits. Hegan said he owes it to all those involved to ensure the film is shown to as many people as possible. The Internet, cell phone downloads and more festival screenings are in the works. Hegan has already received an invite to submit the film to the HBO-sponsored comedy film festival in Aspen.

Hegan has long had his eye on a career as a feature film director, and short films are door openers to the vocation. Based on two other short films on his resume, Hegan was recently recruited to write and produce four scripts for a new documentary for the TVtropolis network.

Even with $5,000 in hand, the indie spirit burned bright for the freelance journalist whose works have been seen in Rolling Stone, GQ and the Globe and Mail. He transformed the set budget into a $50,000 production, drawing on his promotional freelance writing talents exercised in his wedding, as well as industry friends volunteering their time, businesses lending equipment and supplies, and the generosity of the Whistler community.