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iF3 Festival returns to Whistler after two-year hiatus

Freesports film festival packed with ski and snowboard movies on Nov. 9 and 10

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After a two-year break the iF3 Festival is bringing its satellite event back to Whistler—with one major tweak.

In 2017, the event formerly known as the International Freeski Film Festival became the International Freesports Film Festival, this year screening over 80 films at the main event in Montreal last month.

"(Last year) was a reset year," says Luc Skypowder, president of iF3. "What we did was we took that opportunity to include and add snowboards. Before that, snowboard movies were not part of iF3. Now, with 'freesports' it includes snowboarding, skiing, anything on snow can be included. It's something long overdue, depending on where you are in the world, it's something that would've been natural to do long ago."

To that end, the festival is bringing 28 ski and snowboard films to Whistler—a satellite festival location alongside Quebec City and Santiago, Chile—on Friday, Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 10.

"We've been absent (from Whistler) for the past two years. The last time we were there was in 2015," Skypowder says. "We hope we're back to stay."

Alongside the new addition of snowboard films, festival-goers can expect a wide variety of snowsport films as well. "What has occurred to us is everything we have is general public now—urban, girls and boys, skiers and snowboarders. Everything is mixed. It makes it much more fun to the general public to come enjoy the movie," he adds.

The films set to screen include several that won top honours at the iF3 festival back on Oct. 20 in Montreal like Film of the Year, Zig Zag by Level 1 Productions. "That particular movie is going to be featured on Friday night for an adults-only show," Skypowder says.

Another must-see film is Kamikazu, which was named Jury's Pick and also features this year's Best Male Freeride Segment winner on the snowboarding side, Kazu Kokubo. "(It won) jury pick, which means skiing and snowboarding judges came together and picked this movie of the year. Kazu Kokubo is a beautiful rider to watch. He also won. That's one not to be missed," Skypowder adds.

Another must-see film this year is Hoji, featuring beloved professional freeskier Eric Hjorleifson. That film is screening twice at the Maury Young Arts Centre on Nov. 10: once at 6 p.m. for an all-ages crowd and again at 8:30 p.m. for the 19-plus audience.

"Hoji won best storytelling (at iF3)," Skypowder adds. "Eric is such a legend."

The weekend will be separated into six segments. On Friday, catch a free afternoon "100 per cent ski" series at the Longhorn Saloon, starting at 3 p.m., followed by a ticketed evening event of "100 per cent ski" movies at the same venue at 7 p.m. Then on Saturday, stop in to the Longhorn at 3 p.m. for the free "100 per cent snowboard screenings," again, followed by the ticketed evening event for "100 per cent snowboard" films starting at 7 p.m.

Both jam-packed days are 19-plus and feature an après event with DJ Praiz on Friday and We Hunt Buffalo on Saturday. Tickets for the ticketed events are $10.

Kids, however, can catch the Hoji screening at the Maury Young Arts Centre at 6 p.m. followed by the adults-only screening at 9 p.m. (Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 day of for those.)

"There's so many good movies it's tough for me to single any out," Skypowder says. "There will be athletes and producers there as well."

While iF3 organizers always intended to bring the satellite festival back to Whistler, it was thanks to some local guidance that they decided on the weekend: smack in the middle of shoulder season, just on the cusp of the mountain's opening day.

"We're so fortunate to have great people in Whistler telling us that this is the best time to come," Skypowder says. "We just want people to have a good time and support these events so we'll be able to come back in the future. There's a ton of people coming from (the Whistler) area getting involved in these movies. To support that will make sure they continue."

For the full lineup, or to buy tickets, visit festivalif3.com/en/.

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