This week may be Whistler’s celebration of food and wine,
but film buffs can start getting excited for the next big event around the
corner – the Whistler Film Festival (WFF).
Festival organizers just released their full line-up of all
92 films – short, mid and full-length – that will be shown at this
year’s festival on Tuesday morning, and the assortment is impressive.
Bill Evans, director of programming for the WFF, explained
that the film selection process actually began back in the summer, with the
short film submission deadline in July, and the feature-length film deadline in
August. In addition to submitted films, programmers also solicited a number of
distributors at other festivals, seeking out specific films to screen at this
“So there’s two things happening simultaneously –
filmmakers from around the world are submitting their films to us, and we’re
also actively seeking out films that we’re reading about at other festivals,”
The subject matter of the films also runs the gambit from
the Borsos Competition films, World Cinema, Documentary and Mountain Culture to
the Late Nite Series, Shortfest and Kidz Fest.
“I think we’ll have something for everybody,” he said. “We
just look for films that are compelling, I guess, that are telling an
interesting story in an interesting way, with an understanding that some films
are not going to be appreciated by everybody.”
Some of the highlights of the festival include a number of
Canadian premieres, and even a few world premieres.
“Last Chance Harvey,” a major studio film that starts Dustin
Hoffman and Emma Thompson, will be screened, and the director Joel Hopkins will
also be in attendance.
Evans is also excited to announce that the film, “Yonkers
Joe,” another Canadian premiere which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival
earlier this year, is also going to be shown during the five-day festival.
“It was very well received, and its from an American
independent film from a company called Magnolia Pictures,” Evans added,
pointing out that organizers have taken a bit of a new approach when seeking
out films to premiere, reaching beyond Canadian filmmakers and studios and
going after American production companies and distributors as well.
“It was just a decision we made to kind of widen the scope,”
he explained, “We weren’t really content to just choose a bunch of films that
had already played, say, at the Vancouver Film Festival. We wanted to do
something a little bit different.”
The organizers’ new, wider reach has also enabled them to
bring in films like, “Black Balloon,” an Australian film which will make its
Canadian premiere at the Whistler Film Festival.
This year there are the same number of films being shown
with only one overall addition to the documentary category, though
documentaries are still an important part of the festival.
“R.I.P.: A Remix Manifesto,” is a new, cutting-edge film
project by producer Daniel Cross, who also produced the Genie Award-winning
film, “Up The Yangtze.” It uses open-source cinema to explore the concepts of
“So it’s going from Montreal’s New Media Festival, which
happened last month…to the International Documentary Film Festival in
Amsterdam, then it’s coming to us, and then it’s going off to South By South
West in Austin, Texas, and in between all of those festivals, it’s going to be
remixed by users online,” he explained, “So that’s a really innovative and
interesting project, and we’re very excited to be part of that.”
Organizers also announced that six Canadian films have been
selected to compete in the Borsos Award for Best New Canadian Feature Film: “3
Seasons,” “Before Tomorrow,” “The Baby Formula,” “Girlfriend Experience,”
“Nurse.Fighter.Boy,” and “ Who is KK Downey?” The award, which was started at
the festival five years ago, is intended to recognize new Canadian filmmaking
talent, and the honour carries with it a cash prize of $15,000 — the
largest cash prize in Western Canada for Canadian film.
And this year, the WFF has another heavy-hitting name to add
to their roster of attendees and participants: the winner will be selected by a
Canadian industry jury, comprised of legendary Golden Globe and Emmy-winning
actor Donald Sutherland, Oscar-nominated and Genie Award-winning director
Sturla Gunnarsson, and Emmy winning director/writer Patricia Rozema.
Sutherland will receive a special tribute at the Festival,
on Saturday, Dec. 6.
Individuals tickets and packages to film screenings are now
available online at www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.