Actors Robert Carlyle and Kiefer Sutherland are coming to the Whistler Film Festival (WFF).
Carlyle — famed for his roles in Trainspotting, The Full Monty and his current TV role as Rumplestiltskin on Once Upon A Time — is being honoured by the festival with the WFF 2015 Maverick Award.
He is bringing his feature film directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson, which receives its North American debut in Whistler.
The film stars Carlyle, along with Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone and Tom Courtenay. It is the story of a hapless Glaswegian barber who is suddenly drawn into the life of a serial killer.
Carlyle will be In Conversation on Saturday, Dec. 5.
And U.K.-born Canadian actor Sutherland is the recipient of the Whistler Film Festival Tribute — Trailblazer in Acting Award. He is known for his work in The Lost Boys, 24 and Flatliners.
Sutherland stars alongside his father Donald and Demi Moore in the western Forsaken, which gets its Western Canadian debut at WFF. It is also one of the nominated films for the festival's Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature.
Sutherland will be In Conversation at WFF on Friday, Dec. 4.
Coincidently, his brother Rossif Sutherland is also in competition for the Borsos Award, coming to Whistler with his film River, which gets its Western Canadian premiere.
This year, the festival celebrates its 15th anniversary, from Dec. 2 to 6.
"Our signature series honours the leading talent of our time," says WFF executive director Shauna Hardy Mishaw.
"And three Sutherlands are battling it out, basically for best performance."
She adds that 20 films will compete for the Borsos Award in 2015, up from the previous number six, because WFF opened it up to all films that are Western Canadian premieres. The winning film receives $15,000 — the second highest cash prize in Canadian film — plus $15,000 in post-production help from Encore.
Last year's Borsos winner, Félix et Meira, is Canada's nominee for the upcoming Oscars.
Also confirmed for this year are actors Bruce Greenwood, Enrico Colantoni, Mary Walsh, director Bruce McDonald and actor-director Lorne Cardinal.
There are a few other invitees that have yet to be confirmed, says Hardy Mishaw.
As well, Variety magazine named its 10 Screenwriters to Watch, an event that is returning to WFF for the fourth consecutive year as an in-conversation session with the writers discussing their work, on Saturday, Dec. 5.
Steven Gaydos, the executive editor of Variety, will host the talk.
The 10 are Alice Winocour (France) for Disorder, Emma Donoghue (Ireland/Canada) for Room, John Pollono (U.S.) for Stronger, Bryan Sipe (U.S.) for Demolition, John Scott III (U.S.) for Maggie, Jon Herman (U.S.) for Straight Outta Compton, Josh Golden (U.S.) for Road to Oz, Meg LeFauve (U.S.) for Inside Out, Mike Le (U.S.) for Patient Zero, and Yared Zeleke (Ethiopia) for Lamb.Six of the 10 screenwriters have confirmed they will be attending the festival, including LeFauvre, whose animated film Inside Out for Walt Disney Studios is considered by many to be a favourite for an Academy Award. Canada-based Donoghue, whose novel Room was the basis for her screenplay, was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.
"Whistler Film Festival has proven to be a wonderful destination for Variety's 10 Screenwriters to Watch, so it's great to be able to celebrate writers and writing in this convivial atmosphere where international film professionals gather to celebrate the best in cinema," said Gaydos in a release.
Variety's connection with Whistler continues to grow, says Hardy Mishaw, with the 2015 festival opening with a screening of Todd Haynes' film Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Carol's screenwriter Phyllis Nagy was a recipient of the Variety screenwriters honour at WFF in 2014.
Meanwhile, Hardy Mishaw is happy with the profile the festival has been receiving in the film industry press and elsewhere, with cover stories in Hollywood Reporter and Variety."We are knocking it out of the park with news," she says.
"There was a story in Canada.com about Carol bypassing TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) to go to Whistler. The coverage is terrific; it's ramped up and very exciting because we are getting Oscar buzz with many of the films, too."
In all, 89 films are currently screening at WFF this year, with two films — A Royal Night Out starring Sarah Gadon and Emily Watson and I Smile Back starring Sarah Silverman — added to the roster on Monday, Nov. 16.
Along with the films is the behind-the-scenes Industry Summit for filmmakers and industry executives.
"What is really cool is that 230 of our guests are coming with film premieres this year — 125 are participating in the Industry Summit, and 56 are in our project development programs," Hardy Mishaw says.
"Hollywood and Toronto are converging in Whistler. This is the whole other side of what we do, connecting the filmmakers with the deal makers."
Tickets and passes for WFF can be purchased at www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.