In less than a month, members of the filmmaking industry and the film-loving public will flock to Whistler to take part in the ninth annual Whistler Film Festival. Now, they can go online to check out the films that will be screened during this year's four-day event.
Stacy Donen, artistic director of WFF, joined the festival earlier this summer and was the key decision maker for this year's programming, working with a Los Angeles-based consultant to select the feature films and documentaries, and a separate film programmer to build an impressive roster of short films.
"It was important for me to really have a film festival that's different, that's our own place, a singular place, as much as when I look at films to find films that have singular voices, to find films that are about something, we want to be the same thing - we want to stand for something, we want to be a festival that means something to people," Donen said.
While the WFF will include some of the festival circuit favourites, it will also feature a lot of new material. The roster includes 80 films, with more than 80 per cent of them making their B.C. premiere, five making their Canadian debut and three making world premieres.
"I'm trying to just focus on what we can do well here and I'm interested in emerging filmmakers and discovering filmmakers," Donen said. "...To me, it's more of emerging filmmakers, of new talent, and I want Whistler to be a real focus on finding new talent and new films and discovery."
Donen is hoping that this approach will help WFF stand out from other popular film festivals.
"We're trying to grow as a festival, to carve out our own identity and have a place, and because of what Whistler is as an attraction, in terms of an intimate place where people gather or people want to be and continue to come to."
The programming is broken down into eight categories to make the festival easily navigable for everyone: Borsos, World Cinema, Documentary, Late Nite, Mountain Culture, Shorts, Whistler Stories and Family.
The end goal, really, was to ensure there was something for everyone at the festival, from industry folk and film buffs to the average Joe just looking to see something that isn't a mainstream box office bomb.
"It's all about sharing stories and connecting with people from around the world," Donen said.
"...I do hope that people do see more than one film because I think when you go to one film and you realize the energy in the room and that the filmmaker is there and you can ask questions, it becomes such an exciting event - it's not just going to see a movie anymore."
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