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Youth look at Whistler

Getting youth involved in the film fest experience

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By Nicole Fitzgerald

A short film, Living the Dream , made for and by Whistler Youth, joins the Youth Film Program at the Whistler Film Festival Thursday, Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. at Village 8 Cinemas.

“They wrote and conceptualized it,” explained filmmaker Xandra Grayson of Brand X Productions, who assisted with the project. “It’s about coming to Whistler and all the things you need to know to live the dream. Kind of like a video survival guide. It shows the great things and the pitfalls that come with the town.”

Whistler Secondary School students Sandy Barrett and Stephan Lee were the creative forces behind the student-produced film.

The Leadership Sea to Sky program film examines all kinds of characters, from a new-to-Whistler youth with no insurance breaking both his arms to government officials and Olympic snowboarders.

“It’s pretty candid,” Grayson said. “Kids aren’t afraid to tell the truth. There is definitely no corporate fast talk in the piece. It’s a pretty interesting reflection on our town.”

Citizen Duane will follow Living the Dream.

The comedy/drama has been described as unfolding with a Napoleon Dynamite-type feel as viewers follow the tale of a teenaged Don Quixote being born into a family of spectacular failure. Schoolyard rivalry leads to teenager Duane Balfour deciding to run for mayor in the small town of Ridgeway, where he runs against long-time incumbent Kelly Milton, the town’s homeless man and his own grandmother.

Director Michael Mabbott is the mastermind behind the project. Mabbott is most famous for his highly successful The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, which won the Citytv Best Canadian First Feature award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Admission is free for youth 18 years and younger.

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