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WSSF goes international with television deal


Festival picked up by Global, Fox and syndicates

The 2004 Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival is going global this year with the announcement of a major television deal that could see the festival broadcast in as many as 400 million households.

W1, the producers of the WSSF, secured the television agreement this week with Global Television Network in Canada, Fox in the U.S., and more than 100 countries around the world through syndicates. This is the largest television broadcast in the nine year history of the festival.

"This represents a substantial breakthrough for the festival," said Doug Perry, president of W1. "The scope of this agreement takes the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival into the next echelon of international exposure, and will be a powerful medium for introducing people to Whistler who may not otherwise be acquainted."

In Canada, the W1 deal with Global and the Xtreme Sports Network includes 28 hours of domestic broadcasting. W1 will produce three specials on the festival that will premiere in November, with repeat broadcasts through the winter season to the 2005 Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

W1 will also produce a one-hour special for Fox in co-operation with Tanacity Entertainment and Legacy Films. It will air on Fox’s sports channel FUEL.

The festival specials will also be syndicated world-wide to more than 100 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Austalia and Asia.

The television productions will reflect the three pillars of the festival, music, arts and sports. The television specials will also profile the artists and athletes featured in events like the World Skiing Invitational, the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational, the Panasonic Pro Photographer Showdown, the Panasonic Filmmaker Showdown and the DKNY//Jeans Outdoor Concert Series.

Creative control will come from W1 and Whistler, says Perry.

"Often television coverage of events is left to the discretion of television producers and editors from out of town who, understandably, may not be intimately familiar with the place," he said. "But in this case we will have hands-on control in all aspects of the production to make sure that Whistler is shown in the most positive light.

"Our goal is devote a considerable amount of airtime to show the beauty of Whistler and introduce viewers to its history, its people, its strengths and its accessibility."

The entire broadcast team for the project is based in the Sea to Sky corridor. The team includes the shooting, production and editing skills of Whistler’s own Jim Budge of Long Run Productions, the animated graphics and editing of Squamish’s Sean Horne and Associates, an original music score by Pemberton’s Martin Richmond, scripting by W1’s Christina Allsop, and camera work from local shooters. Festival director Perry will act as the executive producer.