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Whistler Film Festival to show 84 movies, including 19 world premieres

Lineup for announced, Jason Priestly's Cas & Dylan opens festival



The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced its full film lineup for the event, which runs from Dec. 4 to 8.

Eighty-four films from 14 countries will be shown, selected from more than 700 submissions.

This includes 42 feature films and 42 shorts that will be shown on five screens.

The feature film list includes an unprecedented 19 world premieres, one English Canadian premiere, 34 Western Canadian premieres, three B.C. premieres and seven Whistler premieres.

WFF's director of programming, Paul Gratton, said programming has evolved from last year, which was his first year in the job.

"I looked at what worked and didn't work last year and adjusted to try to make it more successful," Gratton said. "This year, I am taking a different approach to late-night movies, for example. The reach is broader, rather than just horror movies, which we did last year."

WFF, because it takes place in early December in a ski resort and is short running, has a "very particular vibe," he added.

"It's very youthful, very celebratory and high energy. I'm programming to that. The American indie movies are all edgy, like meth head. I found a lot of interest B.C.-based productions last year. We had a surprising hit with Hit 'n Strum, for example, that went on to get a distributor. Our opening film American Mary was picked up for distribution, and our closing night film and our Bruce Cockburn film... I'm looking at this going let's focus on local productions. I've got about five coming out of Vancouver that are world premieres."

World premieres include snowbound rom-com Three Night Stand and late-night thriller Ice Soldiers.

Other notable themes for the festival, Gratton added, were a series of films by indigenous filmmakers, and Canadian filmmakers accessing more international casts and financing.

Case in point is Canadian director and actor Jason Priestly's road movie Cas & Dylan. The movie is the festival's Opening Night Gala presentation on Dec. 4, getting its Western Canadian premiere. Cas & Dylan star last year's Borsos Best Actor winner Tatiana Maslany and Oscar and Golden Globe winner Richard Dreyfuss.

Cas & Dylan is one of the films vying for the 10th anniversary Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature, presented by the Directors Guild of Canada — British Columbia. The others are The Husband, Patch Town and Uvanga, as well as Louis Cyr and Siddharth.  The six films vie for a $15,000 first prize.

The closing film is The Crash Reel on Dec. 8, also a Western Canadian premiere. It tells a story about the recovery of champion half-pipe snowboarder Kevin Pearce following a terrible neck injury and is the work of two-time Academy Award-nominated documentary director Lucy Walker.

Gratton said The Crash Reel was one of the first entries he saw and he knew it would be perfect for the Whistler audience. Pearce is expected to be there for the premiere.

Whistler attendees will also get to see River Phoenix's last uncompleted film Dark Blood. Considered one of the best young actors of his generation, Phoenix died of a drug overdose in Los Angeles in 1993.

The documentary competition returns with five films, including Filthy Rich: The Bob Guccione Story and the Canadian premiere of Misfire: The Rise and Fall of the Shooting Gallery.

International filmmaking is represented by Finding Mr. Right (China), Cinco De Mayo: The Battle (Mexico) and Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian (France/U.S.), starring Benecio Del Toro.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.

WFF 2013 complete feature film listing

World premieres:

Afterparty (Canada), dir. Michelle Ouellet; Down Here (Canada), dir. Teach Grant; If I Had Wings (Canada) dir. Allan Harmon; Ice Soldiers (Canada), dir. Sturla Gunnarsson; No Clue (Canada), dir. Carl Bessai; Three Night Stand (Canada), dir. Pat Kiely.

Canadian premieres:

Cinco De Mayo: The Battle (Mexico), dir. Rafa Lara; Best Man Down (U.S.), dir. Ted Koland; Finding Mr. Right (China), dir. Xiao Le Xue; Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian (U.S./France), dir. Arnaud Desplechin; Jingle Bell Rocks! (Canada), dir. Mitchell Kezin; Meth Head (U.S.), dir. Jane Clark; Patch Town (Canada), dir. Craig Goodwill; Misfire: The Rise & Fall Of The Shooting Gallery (Canada), dir. Whitney Ransick; Savaged (U.S.), dir. Michael S. Ojeda; Wait, The (U.S.), dir. M. Blash.

Western Canadian premieres:

Animal Project, The (Canada), dir. Ingrid Veninger; Amazonia 3D (France), dir. Thierry Ragobert; Cas & Dylan (Canada), dir. Jason Priestley; Citizen Marc (Canada), dir. Roger Larry; Cheap Thrills (Canada), dir. E.L. Katz; Crash Reel, The (U.S.), dir. Lucy Walker; Dark Blood (U.S.), dir. George Sluizer; Devil's Knot (U.S.) Dir. Atom Egoyan; Empire Of Dirt (Canada), dir. Peter Stebbings; Filthy Rich: The Bob Guccione Story (Canada), dir. Barry Avrich; Hi-Ho Mistahey! (Canada), dir. Alanis Obomsawin; Husband, The (Canada), dir. Bruce McDonald; Le Demantelement (Canada), dir. Sebastien Pilote; Life's A Breeze (Ireland), dir. Lance Daly; Louis Cyr, Strongest Man In The World (Canada), dir. Daniel Roby; Odd Thomas (U.S.), dir. Stephen Sommers; Ridge, The (U.K.), dir. Pablo Iranburu; Siddharth (Canada), dir. Richie Mehta; Station, The (Austria), dir. Marvin Kren; Sklmnti (Latvia), dir. Ernests Cerbul; Uvanga (Canada), dir. Marie-Helene Cousineau, Madeline Piujuq Ivalu.

B.C. premieres:

Grand Seduction, The (Canada), dir. Don McKellar; Sex After Kids (Canada), dir. Jeremy Lalonde.

Whistler premieres:

Caligula (U.S.), dir. Tinto Brass/Bob Guccione; Dallas Buyers Club (U.S.), dir. Jean-Marc Vall; Gabrielle (Canada), dir. Louise Archambault

Special presentation:

Prisoners (U.S.), dir. Denis Villeneuve.