A&E » Arts

Short films tall on creativity



Two world premieres and four Canadian premieres in this year’s lineup

What: Whistler Film Festival ShortFest

Where: Village 8 Cinema

When: Saturday, Dec. 6

Tickets: $8.50

It’s likely the result of a childhood filled with Saturday morning cartoons and the abbreviated sketch educational comedy of Sesame Street, but the short films are usually the highlight of any film festival for me.

Ranging from single scenes lasting mere minutes, up to half-hour epics, the common denominator among short films is that when the length is abbreviated the creativity steps up. The result is a potent punch of filmmaking. Shorts are the icewine to the feature length box of Hochtaler.

Like any film festival worth its spit, the Whistler Film Festival has compiled an impressive list this year. Eleven selections have been grouped into the Shortfest I and Shortfest II collections screening Saturday evening at Village 8 Cinema. The remaining 13 are screening in conjunction with feature and mid-length films, usually sharing a common theme or style. Since most folks plan their festival schedule around the features, a preceding short is often a nice, unexpected bonus.

Two films from the ShortFest groups, Drive and Jam Space, both Canadian productions, are making their world premiere at the Whistler Film Festival. It will be the Canadian premiere for ShortFest films Out of Habit and Eulogy, as well as Pororoca: Surfing the Amazon, Dead on Page Six, Stealing Innocence, and Dissident: Oswaldo Paya & the Varela Project, four films preceding feature screenings.

A mini-festival inside the festival, the shorts will be evaluated for their own people’s choice award, not surprisingly sponsored by CBC TV’s ZeD program. The winning film receives a $500 cash prize and will be slated for broadcast on the innovative anything-goes late night showcase of the best underground music, art, film, and general eclectica in Canada. The show has consistently supported and provided a venue for short filmmaking since its debut.

With the increasing availability of digital technologies making filmmaking in general more accessible, it can only mean more creative gems are coming to the screen.

Shortfest I and II screen at Village 8 Cinemas on Saturday at 7 and 9 p.m. The remaining 13 short films precede regularly scheduled features. Tickets are $8.50, available at the festival box office in the lobby level of the Blackcomb Lodge, or from outlets at Tourism Whistler’s Information and Activity Centre and Nesters Market. Call 604-938-3323 or check out www.whistlerfilmfestival.com for information.

Chimps plus snowboards equals family fun

What: Family Program — Most Xtreme Primate with Youth ShortFest

Where: Village 8 Cinema

When: Dec. 7, 1 p.m.

Tickets: $5-$7.50

Having a youth focus to the Whistler Film Festival has been important to artistic director Kasi Lubin from the start. This year she’s made the winning choice of a snowboarding chimpanzee for Sunday afternoon’s family program. Vancouver director Robert Vince’s Most Xtreme Primate will be making its world premiere alongside the results of the youth film workshops held back in November that gave local kids a hands-on opportunity to make their own films.

The family program screens at Village 8 Cinemas at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7. Call 604-938-3323 or check out www.whistlerfilmfestival.com for information.