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Halloween Party showcases independent filmmaking talent

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B-grade horror film festival hits GLC

By Kara-Leah Grant

What: B-grade Horror Film Festival

Who: Heavy Hitting Films with Shits ’n’ Giggles and Mr. Fister

Where: GLC

When: Oct. 31, 8 p.m. SHARP

Heavy Hitting Films could not have cast a better spell for Halloween.

They’ve taken two of Whistler’s passions, partying and filmmaking, and combined the extraordinary decorating skills of Shits ’n’ Giggles, unleashed inside the inspirational GLC, and set it all to a soundtrack by the talented Mr. Fister, a.k.a. Scott Arkwell. The concoction is nothing less than the most anticipated Halloween night in Whistler. Tickets are flying out the door and Feet Banks, one of the organizers, estimates they will all be gone by tomorrow.

"It’s Halloween, which is all about Whistler locals and everyone is going to party anyway, but I think the movies are going to be an added bonus, especially for those that went out and made them," said Banks.

"I’ve already had a great response from those who went out and made movies, they said ‘this is such a great idea, we had so much fun doing this, I can’t wait for Halloween.’ All I can say is make sure you are there by 8 p.m. because otherwise you are going to miss it."

And Banks means what he says. He’s got three movies in, and three or four on the way, plus the movie he’s in the middle of filming as part of Heavy Hitting.

"Doors open at 8 p.m. and movies start at 8.15 p.m. sharp. We are going to show them once on the big screen and then when they are done, we are going to give out a big trophy. And then we are going to start partying and that is it," said Banks.

"You miss the movies, you miss the movies. I don’t care if there are 15 people there or there are 150, the movies start at 8.15 p.m. And you don’t want to miss them. The movies are all across the board, from really artsy, glossy productions, to really low budget, indie, by the seat of your pants productions. They are all very different so far, and the ones coming in will be more scripted, cheesey plots lines. I am excited, I think the response was better than we could have hoped for."

The idea for a B grade horror festival sprang from a desire to do something different with this year’s Halloween party and a desire to provide Whistler’s independent filmmakers with a forum for their work.

"I am throwing this festival because while there is a big film scene in Whistler it mostly relies on sports action videos and the other big budget stuff. What we are trying to showcase is the kid that might be busing tables by night and yet playing around with his camera by day," said Banks. "It’s to just get these kids noticed, give them a forum. You don’t need money to make a movie – you just need good ideas and a little bit of determination."

It was that determination that led to Heavy Hitting Films acclaimed first production, Parental Advisory I. The film featured talented local skiers and a solid dose of creativity sprinkled throughout. But after over a year of filming and editing the movie, Heavy Hitting was ready to explore other topics.

"You can only watch so much skiing before you start to think that maybe you should do something else with your camera," said Banks. "We had talked about making a B grade horror movie for a while but there is no forum for anyone to show their little independent productions."

The lack of a forum for independent filmmakers is something that concerns Banks. He hopes to continue to organize film festivals to address this need in Whistler.

"The 72 hour Filmmaker’s showdown proved that there were a lot of people in town with cameras interested in filming low budget movies," said Banks.

"We’ve got MY Place, so you could potentially have a local film festival every four months, where everyone in town who wants to make a movie and everyone gets together, sits in MY Place, watches the movies, has a good time and cheers each other’s ideas on. The facilities are already there, the only problem is those facilities cost money and it’s really hard for anyone to get money to rent out a room like that without charging everyone. It shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg to make a short little fun movie and have your friends watch it."

And at the GLC next Thursday, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg, just $25.

"It’s going to be scary and spooky and there will be lots of blood," promises Banks, adding he hasn’t even thought about his Halloween costume yet.

"We’ve been too busy chopping things up and shooting things and organizing blood spray to think about costumes."

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