Whistler's filmmaking talent pool only has a deep end and the proof was on display last Tuesday for the 13th annual 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival.
With just three days to film, edit and finish a three-to-five minute flick, teams generally operate on little or no sleep in hopes of making it to the big show and a shot at the $10,000 cash prize.
Many of Whistler's cinematic heavy hitters entered this year, including two-time champion Robjn Taylor, who collaborated with local wunderkid Christopher Smith on Of Cobblings and Shiny Things, an oddball look at obsession and the human "sheep" instinct.
Jill-of-all-trades Angie Nolan also brought her A-game with Adventures in Loonie Land, an ensemble piece examining the merits of being a Canadian woman (in a country that is seemingly being run down the drain by its politicians). Don't let the "message" fool you however, this one earned the most laughs of the night.
Perennial crowd favourites Rebecca Wood Barrett and Lisa Fernandez started the night off on the right note with Designer Genes, a cautionary tale about the perils of dicking around with nature and why being a monkey might not be as awesome as you'd hoped.
Not playing at the big show, but still an instant local classic, Heather Paul and Liz Thompson's Busted puts some of Whistler's funniest and most loved locals through a gender blender. Find it online.
In the end, however, it was Conrad Shapansky who took home the big money with Katch-Up, a black and white nod to film legend Charlie Chaplin remixed into a ski town love story by way of '70s TV classic I Dream of Jeannie. Exceptional cinematography from Garry Pendygrasse, actressing from Sharai Rewels, and physical comedy/stuntwork from Fish Boulton helped propel this one to victory. Congrats team. All the 72-Hour films ought to be online by the time this sees print, start looking at wssf.com and go from there.
There are also new flicks at the Village 8 this week and one of them is Evil Dead, a remake of the Sam Raimi DIY gore classic about a group of kids, a cabin in the woods and the Necromonicon, a human skin-bound book full of evil and badassery. This time around there's more money, more blood and slicker scares. Hardcore horror fans might deem another Evil Dead flick unnecessary but at least this one is well done, extra bloody and creepy as hell. There's no Bruce Campbell but otherwise it's worth checking out.
Also opening Friday: Oblivion, a dystopian sci-fi effects film starring Tom Cruise as mankind's last hope and Morgan Freeman as the voice of reason. Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) this one doesn't have quite enough dramatic tension or fresh ideas to attain classic status but the visuals looks pretty fantastic. At just over two hours, however Oblivion watches a bit long. The writing slows it down and Tom Cruise plays it kind of safe. Still worth checking out but if Oblivion was truly epic you know they'd have released it in the summer.
Same with Pain and Gain, a Michael Bay-directed, based-on-a-true-story action flick about a group of body builders with kind hearts who opt for a life of crime. No prescreenings on this one (bad sign) and it's odd to see a glossy Michael Bay movie come out in April (another bad sign) but this one stars Mark Walberg, The Rock and Anthony Mackie so there will have to be at least some redeeming qualities. Bay films are stupid but they're also pretty fun to watch. Get an extra bag of peanut M&Ms and give'r.