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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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“Our film is ambitious,” Hagen said. “There are so many action scenes. We have a stunt coordinator. We wanted a helicopter to show off Whistler and all its summer glory with big, epic Braveheart -inspiring music.”

From a half a million dollar crane to a makeshift ice dolly fashioned from plywood planks with five pucks nailed to the bottom; from a local bar hockey team to a professional stunt person; from cameras operators propelled on rollerblades to directors riding in a helicopter; the independent filmmaking community is alive and well in The Heart of Whistler — and most importantly, well fed thanks to Boston Pizza in Whistler.

The fast and fun comedic tale of a bored Whistler banquet server thrust into a life-or-death race to deliver a frozen heart to a waiting transplant patient will come to life at the opening gala Thursday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. at the Telus Conference Centre.

Many Whistlerites will see aspects of themselves or the people they know as they follow the main character, a top-ranking Aussie athlete moonlighting in the food and beverage industry, who finds her inner Olympic spirit even in the most ringed out of circumstances.

“It’s sort of Run Lola Run meets Raiders of the Lost Arc ,” Hagen explained. “She is dubious about the Olympics, but over the course of the journey she has all these obstacles and she finds her inner Olympian.”

Mind you, she has to navigate her way through mocked Olympic sports to get there, but she does so just the same, just as Hegan hopes the audience will as well.

The Whistler Stories filmmaker outreach program isn’t the festival program fattening filmmakers’ wallets in an effort to encourage Canadian filmmaking. The festival awards more than $34,000 in cash/prizes, including the top accolade, the $15,000 Best New Canadian Feature Film Borsos award and a $5,000 development prize for the Best Script Award.

“People are coming from farther and farther a field,” Evans said. “We are offering something that is not being offered anywhere else — or at least not in Western Canada.”

“We are fun and business,” Hardy explained. “The festival is the fun part of it where we really have the opportunity to celebrate film showing some of the best films in the world… The forums are about business; getting the film industry here. It’s always leading edge. It’s always focused on evolution. We’ve always tried to be at the forefront…. We’ve obviously had some really challenging times, but we’ve got our feet on solid ground now. We’ve got a reputation in the industry. The buzz is out there. People are psyched.”