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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
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
The festival presented the opportunity and Hegan ran with
it, or rather rollerbladed with camera in hand barreling down the Valley Trail.
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.