There wasn’t a lot of snow on the mountain last weekend in Whistler, but there was plenty at the Talelight Films party Thursday night to kick off the 8th annual Whistler Film Festival.
Snow spewed out of a machines and sprinkled into the drinks of filmmakers, industry professionals, media, film-goers–all of whom gathered to what is becoming a noted stop on the festival circuit.
It was rain, in fact, that greeted the over 7,500 attendees this year and I toted my umbrella around from film to film (and party to party). Highlights for me were Director Ileana Pietrobruno‘s innovative faux documentary, Girlfriend Experience (an examination of the john as he reflects on his own sex addiction problem) and short film Walk the Dog.
I also had fun at Brightlight Pictures party at Araxi (I think I ate twenty oysters) and the Directors Guild of Canada party at Bearfoot (there was poutine in mini cups!).
This year’s festival showcased 92 films, including 37 feature and mid-length films and 55 shorts, with eight Canadian permieres (and nineteen British Columbia premiers), the festival is hands out and over $42,000 in prizes and commissions were awarded, including the $15,000 Borsos Competition for Best New Canadian Feature Film, awarded to 3 Seasons, directed by Jim Donovan.
There was also a tribute to Donald Sutherland and a memorial to William Vince–the noted Vancouver producer from Infinity Features who passed away this year.
In conjunction to the Festival was the Whistler Filmmaker Forum–a four-day industry conference designed to provide industry professionals with the necessary tools and knowledge to compete in the Canadian and international film industry. There seemed to be a big focus on international co-productions, which seem to be quite a trend in filmmaking now, and the Forum held some roundtables on working with China.
I don’t go up to Whistler often but there was something mesmerizing with regards to how the people attending the festival almost clashed completely with the wondrous alpine landscape. Due to the mild weather, women wore there cocktail dresses and bare legs, sipping on chardonnay, stiletto heels clacking against the pavement late at night and echoing into the mountains. It’s a unique setting and an equally distinctive event for the industry.