All the greatest filmmakers have to start somewhere.
And usually the first project they undertake is a short film demonstrating their potential.
With that in mind the Whistler Film Festival is showcasing up and coming talent with the 2011 Student Shortwork Competition.
This gives film students a unique opportunity to have their films screened with the "big guns."
"Any venue where our student's films can be shown is a big deal for us," said Michael Baser, head of writing for film & television at the Vancouver Film School (VFS).
"It's a thrill for them to get their material exposed to the public and it's a great first step for getting broader recognition," he said.
Seven entries were vetted from post secondary film students and recent graduates with films ranging from a Dodgeball-style smack talking comedy in Shuffleboard Kings to a dark look at a near-future parasitic alien invasion with Kaboomtown.
In one of the films VFS graduate Barbara Campbell features her written story of a Columbian refugee facing the bureaucracy of immigration in Breaking Ground, directed by Olesia Shewchuk.
After a public screening such as the Student Shortwork Competition, these students will continue to hone their film-making skills through other shortwork productions, eventually looking towards the goal of their shorts getting produced into feature films.
But the road to success can be long and arduous, requiring years of dedication. Promotion (or lack thereof) can make or break a film in its early stages. However, by utilizing free tools such as social media, allocating budget for copy distribution and entering as many festivals as possible, the students can build their portfolio and their name. With over 500 accredited industry guests and delegates, the WFF is an excellent venue for young filmmakers to network with industry professionals.
"Its very important for students to be included as part of major film festivals" said Bill Thumm, director Bosa Centre for Film and Animation (formerly known as the Capilano Film School) at Capilano University.
"Every year we have films coming out of [the Bosa Centre] that are worthy of international recognition," he said.
Capilano has supported the Whistler Film Festival since its inception in 2001, providing volunteers from their film school and assisting with promotion all around the province.
Baser, who is from Los Angeles and spent much of his career writing films in Hollywood, attends several film festivals every year.
"The Whistler Film Festival is a very strong regional festival with a lot of potential to grow. It's a great way for the community up there to celebrate all things cinema," he said.
The Student Shortwork Competition will be screening on Sunday Dec. 4 at 1p.m. at Millennium Place.