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The Whistler Film Festival and the Sundance ambition

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The true film enthusiasts that flock to Telluride don’t seem to mind the lack of star power. Evans mentions that it was the Telluride model that impressed the need for community events at the upcoming Whistler festival, like the outdoor short film screenings in the village on Friday Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4.

This year, 2004, is a year of tremendous growth for the Whistler Film Festival. Submissions were up over 100 per cent and total film screenings are at 93, up from last year’s 40, with nine world premieres. The best Canadian film in Whistler may not have debuted in Toronto this year, but $10,000 later, one filmmaker in particular may not mind so much.

Who knows who’s waiting in the wings to not mind so much in 2005? The next Steven Soderbergh or Quentin Tarantino? The next Philip Borsos?

A good festival, says Johnson, is a balancing act. As long as Whistler can maintain the balance there will at least be a chance to find out. Too much business and you lose the community. Too much community and you lose the business, therefore losing industry buzz-generating potential. A chicken and egg game – the films drawing the industry scene with the industry scene, in turn, drawing the films.

But each festival to its own. Why live up to an unattainable model? Sundance will be Sundance. Whistler will be Whistler with a little bit of Telluride and some Sundance thrown in for spice.

Maybe Robert Redford will swing by sometime.