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I Heart the WFF



The Whistler Film Festival is definitely after my heart this year. They want to tear it from my chest in a wet burst of pulpy gore and then plunge an arm deep into the wound so they can tickle my fancy from the inside.

That kind of blood-drenched awesomeness kicked off WFF's Late Night TerrorFest series last night with American Mary, a slick and twisted revenge flick from Vancouver's Soska sisters that seems custom-made for Whistler's horror scene. It's also one of 22 Canadian features screening at this year's festival. Well played WFF, now hit me again.

Less bloody, but equally Canadian, Picture Day is about a rebellious teen girl redoing her last year of high school. Toss in a love triangle, a nerdy weed genius, an aging rocker, and some blue hair for picture day at school and you have a funny, charming flick that sees first-time writer/director Kate Melville in competition for the prestigious WFF Borsos Award for best Canadian Feature.

Lead actress Tatiana Maslany exudes charisma and one of the producers on Picture Day is Whistler-kid Pete Harvey. To have a feature competing for the top prize in your own hometown festival has got to be pretty wild so show up and support Pete and his team. Picture Day plays at 5 p.m. tonight (Thursday) and 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Whistler Conference Centre.

Canada's most successful documentary of 2012 is Driving to the Edge (Dérapages). Director Paul Arcand is known for pushing social-issue buttons and this examination of youth, speed and driving/racing cars has been described as slick, seductive, and disturbing. It sounds like it should be required viewing in high school and Driving to the Edge plays tonight at 7 p.m. at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) and then again there on Friday at 4:45 p.m.

Another big Canadian flick is My Awkward Sexual Adventure, about a hapless, nerd-type who watches the bottom fall out of his romantic life then attempts to get things back on track by floundering around the big city. WFF director of programming Paul Gratton says it has "incredible laughs-per-minute from start to end and there is real human warmth in there too." Catch it tonight at 8 p.m. at the Whistler Conference Centre and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. in the antiquated Rainbow Theatre.

Back to the blood and guts. Thursday's Late Night Terrorfest offering is Japanese classic Battle Royale, a high school fight-to-the-death game show film that predates The Hunger Games (but not The Running Man). It screens tonight at 11 p.m., Whistler Conference Centre.

Friday's Late Night flick is El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1970 masterpiece of violent-surrealist sloshed into a spaghetti western template. Words can't even describe this one, you gotta see to believe. Friday, 11 p.m., conference centre.

On Saturday I'm hosting the Shortwork Showcase at Maxx Fish at 7 p.m. and expect all our local filmmakers to show up, have a drink and see how our stuff stacks up with some of the best from Canada and around the world. Last year this was really fun.

The Saturday Night TerrorFest flick is The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, directed by Rodrigo Gudiño, the founding editor of Rue Morgue magazine and one of this country's premier horror aficionados. It looks like a haunted house movie but Gudiño is a pro so buckle up and try not to crap yourself.

The Whistler Film Festival has over 70 other films screening through the weekend so get out and support. Watching movies is good for your heart.

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