Whistler Film Festival Offers Sneak Peek of 2012 Film and Summit Programming
Early Bird Industry Registration, Festival Passes and Accommodation Now Available.
The countdown has begun! The 12th annual Whistler Film Festival returns November 28 to December 2, 2012 and the Festival is proud to offer a sneak peek of the first wave of confirmed films as well highlights from its industry program designed to foster innovation, connections and deals.
Set in North America’s premiere mountain resort, the Whistler Film Festival combines an esteemed international film competition with a concentrated screen-based industry Summit organized to address the ever-evolving landscape crossing borders and platforms in the digital age. The Festival hosts filmmaking luminaries for an intimate five-day program of screenings, tributes, industry initiatives and special events. Up to 90 innovative and original films from Canada and around the world will be presented. Recognized by filmmakers and film lovers alike as one of Canada’s most important showcases for film, the Festival is a place where artists are celebrated, audiences are inspired, new ideas are discussed, and business opportunities are solidified.
“This year’s Whistler Film Festival program will prove to be an exciting and eclectic mix of traditional quality festival fare, sprinkled with a large sampling of the unusual, the unexpected and the just plain entertaining,” comments Paul Gratton, WFF’s Director of Programming. “From the sublime to the outrageous, the films at WFF this year will offer something for everyone, with more than a few surprises along the way. The Summit will complement our film programming by addressing key challenges and opportunities facing the industry this year.”
The Whistler Film Festival is pleased to announce the first round of confirmed titles. Leading off the charge in this year’s Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature are two world premieres, named in honor of legendary Canadian filmmaker Phillip Borsos. The Mad Ship, a first feature from Winnipeg based filmmaker David Morton, presents some of the most breathtaking shots of the prairies ever committed to film, and tells the true story of a Scandinavian immigrant caught in the Depression-era dustbowl where drought destroyed the farming hopes of a generation of would-be Prairie settlers. Having lost everything, he embarks on the Sisyphean task of building a boat in the middle of nowhere, far from any body of water. The Mad Ship features performances by Gil Bellows, Martha Burns and Aidan Devine, with Nikolaj Lie Kass in the lead. Sean Garrity’s pulse-pounding thriller Blood Pressure about an unhappy wife who starts receiving anonymous notes enticing her to perform certain inexplicable acts of voyeurism directed towards a mysterious young man. Michelle Giroux, Tatiana Maslany and Jonas Chernick are featured.
Another Borsos contender returns Garrity and Chernick with My Awkward Sexual Adventure, undoubtedly the funniest Canadian sex comedy ever made. A nerd is dumped by his true love for being a lousy lover. When he attempts to drown his sorrows, a Toronto stripper played by Emily Hampshire takes pity on him and teaches him the ropes, so to speak. Also featured in the Borsos Competition is Michael McGowan’s moving new film, Still, featuring unforgettable performances by James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold, who play an aging couple that lead the fight against diminished faculties by attempting to build their own dream house, despite objections from family members and the Maritime municipality in which they live.
A film that will have everyone talking is the English Canadian premiere of Martin Laroch’s faux documentary Fair Sex (Les Manèges Humains), featuring a courageous, unforgettable performance by Marie-Evelyne Lessard, who plays an African-Québecoise making a documentary on her summer job with itinerant country fair workers. What starts out as a light-hearted treatise on how to lock up a ferris wheel at night, soon transforms itself into something far more substantial, as a shocking reveal at the halfway mark leads to the most human, extended sex scene between a young woman with a very particular request and an older man in his 40s who reluctantly agrees to her proposal. This is one movie that will not leave you indifferent.
Other titles confirmed for Whistler include Mountain Culture entry The Mountain Runners, an engrossing docudrama about the first mountain footrace held in Bellingham, Washington in 1911 directed by Todd Warger and Brian Young. Two other American indie films, both featuring the charismatic Julia Stiles as part of talented ensemble casts who is confirmed to attend this year’s fest, will have their BC premieres at Whistler. It’s a Disaster is a dark comedy about four couples who get together for Sunday brunch regularly, only on this particular occasion, a ‘dirty’ bomb has gone off in downtown San Francisco, forcing them to seal up their windows, and try to carry on as usual, with David Cross and America Ferrara. Also starring Ms. Stiles is Dan Mirvisch’s first feature Between Us (David Harbour, Taye Diggs and Melissa George) about two couples who get together after years of estrangement to patch up old differences, only to find that some broken things can’t be mended.
Taking place during the 2012 Whistler Film Festival, the Whistler Summit features three concentrated days of business programmes and networking where industry can delve into the ever-evolving convergence of the art, technology and commerce of cinema. Wondering about digital platforms and distribution, how to break into the China market, the latest trends in Visual FX, or the business of made for TV movies? Offering in-depth conversations, lively debates, and critical insight into a broad range of issues vital to the international and domestic film communities that address crossing borders and platforms in the digital age, Whistler is the place to be, to connect and to deal. New for 2012 is the China Canada Gateway for Film® Script Competition, a dynamic pitching competition designed to stimulate international financing for Canadian feature film projects by introducing experienced Canadian writer/producer teams to Chinese studios with up to $15 million on the table for three selected projects.
“This year’s festival marks our 12th edition and we have some major developments which will reinforce Whistler’s reputation as being an important place to experience fresh films and connect with industry leaders,” says Whistler Film Festival Society Executive Director Shauna Hardy Mishaw. “Prepare to be inspired; our lineup this year promises to exceed expectations.”
The Festival’s online box office is now open for early bird industry registration, festival passes and ticket packages until October 31st. Best accommodation rates are also available starting from $79* per night until November 8th. The Festival lineup and film schedule will be available online on November 1st.
Individual film and special event tickets go on sale on online November 1st (until December 2nd). The Festival Box Office opens November 1st for phone sales and on November 22nd for walk-in sales. For information, go to www.whistlerfilmfestival.com
The Whistler Film Festival is supported by Telefilm Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Tourism Whistler, and is sponsored by Bell Media, Variety, the Directors Guild of Canada – British Columbia, American Airlines, Sorel, Kokanee and the Westin Resort & Spa Whistler.
About the Whistler Film Festival Society
The Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) is a charitable cultural organization dedicated to furthering the art of film by providing programs that focus on the discovery, development and promotion of new talent culminating with a must attend festival for artists, the industry and audiences in Whistler. WFFS produces one of Canada’s leading film festivals and plays a leadership role in offering project development programs and opportunities for filmmakers.
Located in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and just two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler is Canada’s premier, year-round destination. Consistently ranked the number one mountain resort in North America, Whistler features two majestic mountains, epic skiing and snowboarding conditions, four championship golf courses, more than 200 shops, 90 restaurants and bars, accommodations galore, hiking trails, spas and arguably the best mountain bike park in the world. In short, Whistler has everything you will ever need to have the time of your life – and so much more.