Notes from the Back Row 

72 hours of glory

The World Ski and Snowboard Festival always delivers a banger week for movie fans. The 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown, the hottest ticket in town, popped off last Tuesday and eight of the nine finalists hail from the Sea to Sky corridor.

Highlights include Conrad Shapansky's Master of Fluppets, a mindwarp film about the value of imagination and the hidden gems of the Re-Use-It centre. Conrad's last production, 6/12 , was voted movie of the year by Pique readers and this time he's stepped things up again. Look for Master of Fluppets and all the 72-Hour flicks online.

Mike Douglas, known primarily as the godfather of new school skiing, threw his hat into the filmmaking ring this year with Like, a slick-looking take on the perils of contemporary relationships. Well-crafted, Like certainly cements MD as a force to keep an eye on in the local film scene. What can't that guy do?

Robjn Taylor is a legend in this event, with two victories and two close eliminations for handing in late. Robjn made it on time this year though and The Salad of Justice is a doozy film about love, trust, revenge, transmogrification and why "Chad" is a kind of dick-sounding name. More wacky awesomeness from the king of weird.

Board Sitter and Love at First Slide injected some sweet action to the evening while tackling the theme of finding love in the mountains. Liz Thompson's Sock Movie literally created her own set-dec world whilst pondering what happens to all those socks that get lost in the wash, while Chairlift Time Machine and Zoolander: A Whistler Snowboard Adaptation provided plenty of derivative parody.

But there can be only one, and the winner was Poached Earth , a nature-docu style masterpiece about the time-honoured Whistler art of poaching hot tubs. With buttery narration and go-for-the-nuts acting, directors Johnny Fleet and Patrick Henry took home the big $10,000 cheque and a place in Filmmaker Showdown history as two-time winners of the contest. They also deserve a mention for sexiest use of the mandatory prop, a green apple. Johnny and Pat also recently won the Heavy Hitting B-Grade HorrorFest and a few contests in Vancouver as well. When's the feature coming boys?

Speaking of features, with three film nights and a photo showdown capturing all the local attention (and dollars) last week the Village 8 is only bringing one flick in this Friday, but it stars Robert Pattinson so Twilight fanatics will be lining up regardless.

I haven't seen Water for Elephants (no time this week, no pre-screenings either) but a chick who read the book tells me Pattinson stars as an almost-veterinarian running from his problems who ends up on a circus train and falls in love with the chick who rides the horses (Reese Witherspoon). Problem is, she's already married to an animal-hating dick (Christoph Walz from Inglorious Basterds) who is also the boss of the circus.

Somewhere in there is an elephant and some drama, albeit the PG-13 kind. With big name actors and Francis Lawrence ( I Am Legend) directing, Water for Elephants should do okay with female audiences although the lack of pre-screenings is almost never a good sign. Animal lovers might be a bit bummed - a film set is a boring, painful place to be for humans, I can only imagine how much it must suck for a wild animal - especially when "love of animals" is a theme the film is championing. Seems kind of hypocritical to me but as I said, I haven't seen it. Regardless, Pattinson needs a hit to prove his range extends beyond suck-hole Vampire. Stay tuned.




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