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Sea to Sky Film Fest screens lucky 13

Squamish’s plucky little Sea to Sky Film Festival, a one-night gala of independent short filmmaking, is celebrating its ninth birthday next Friday evening with a 13-film lineup that includes three world premieres.

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What: 9 th Annual Sea to Sky Film Festival

Where: Eagle Eye Theatre (Squamish)

When: Friday, Sept. 24

Tickets: $8/$5

The lineup is an increase from last year’s 11-film offering, however festival director and creator Adriane Polo said the overall running time will be similar since this year’s films are shorter on the whole.

"We have a lot more variety this year," commented Polo. "We went with more fantasy and myth and more comedy. We’re heavy on comedy.

"It’s got to do with the general audience and the general audience likes comedy and drama the best."

A feature filmmaker and children’s theatre director from the Howe Sound area, Polo started the annual festival as a way to expose the average filmgoer in Squamish to a more quirky, non-Hollywood style of filmmaking.

With this in mind, even the two experimental "art films" included in this year’s festival have been selected to have wide appeal.

All films are what Polo considers "rated G." Special efforts were taken to build a lineup with no foul language and no nudity. One entry from West Vancouver considered brilliant by festival programmers was axed due to an effusive use of the "F-word." Even the risque-themed experimental entry The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is suitable for a mainstream audience, Polo assured.

While last year’s lineup included films from California and Australia, this year is an all-Canadian affair with four Quebecois films and one entry each from Toronto and White Fox, Sask. The remainder hails from B.C., mostly the Lower Mainland, with the exception of The Story of Whistler Mountain , a world premiere documentary by Edward Homer of Gabriola Island. Polo is confident most of the B.C. directors will be in attendance.

The films will compete for prizes in drama, comedy, documentary and experimental categories, judged by a festival panel. The event will be hosted by Mountain FM personality Steve Hainsworth.

The festival is more than twice the age of Whistler’s four-year-old film festival, although it remains a fraction of the size and scope. But Polo asserts that the local mindset is served by the event’s intimacy.

"We’re smaller," she stated matter of factly. "And we’re geared more toward the audience in Squamish. Whistler gears toward worldly audiences. We do it very much for a local audience and that’s the difference. It’s more indigenous to Squamish and what we would like to see here."

The 9 th Annual Sea to Sky Film Festival screens at 7 p.m. at Squamish’s Eagle Eye Theatre next Friday, Sept. 24. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 students and seniors, available in advance from Mostly Books and Highland Video and at the venue.

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