On top of strong attendance at the ninth annual Whistler Film Festival this year, organizers also gave away thousands of dollars in prize money to a range of films.
Sophie Deraspe's Les Signes Vitaux (Vital Signs) won the $15,000 Borsos competition this year. The Quebec film, which is about a young woman who returns home to deal with her grandmother's death, made its English Canadian premiere at WFF. It captured the hearts of the jury, comprised of legendary director and producer Ivan Reitman, Emmy Award-winning director Niv Fichman and actress Jessica Paré. They selected Les Signes Vitaux from a range of new feature films that embody the spirit of independent filmmaking in Canada.
The $2,500 Best Documentary Award was actually awarded to two films this year: Pax Americana and Last Train Home. The $500 Best Mountain Culture Film award went to Mount St. Elias, directed and produced by Gerald Salmina.
The Cadillac People's Choice Award went to Rob Stefaniuk's Suck, a rock and roll vampire movie starring Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Rob Stefaniuk and Jessica Paré, produced by Whistler's very own Robin Crumley and Jeff Rogers.
In the short categories, the $1,000 Best Short Film designation was awarded to La Vie Commence (Life Begins) by Èmile Proulx-Cloutier.
The MPPIA Short Film Award was won by Kelly Ruth Mercier for Move Out Clean. Mercier walked away with a $10,000 cash award from the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of B.C. and a $5,000 cash award from British Columbia Film, plus additional in-kind production services. The completed project will have its world premiere screening at next year's Whistler Film Festival, which takes place Dec. 1 to 5, 2010.
VANOC looking for volunteer entertainers
Hundreds of amateur and professional performers will be roving throughout competition venues during the Olympics, keeping spectators entertained with song, dance and other talents.
This coming weekend, VANOC is recruiting volunteers to perform at the competition venues, namely, the Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Park and the Creekside alpine ski racing site.
"In past Games, we've always used volunteers for this type of entertainment for the competition venues, and it's always been our vision to engage the community - there's a lot of really talented groups out there," said Christie Nicolay, vice president of sport production and victory ceremonies for VANOC.
They plan to provide entertainment each day that there is competition in the venues, focusing on the times that people will be entering and exiting the venue, or lulls in the competition.
"Our first priority is to make sure that every spectator has a good time," Nicolay said.