Weird Sex and Snowshoes will set Canadians free 

Whistler Film Festival world premiere

What: Weird Sex & Snowshoes

Whistler Film Festival world premiere

Where: Village 8 Cinemas

When: Friday, Dec. 3, 9:30 p.m.

free·dom

Function: noun

1: The capacity to exercise choice; free will

2: The condition of being free of restraints.

Also see: Weird Sex and Snowshoes , a documentary film based on the book of the same name by film critic Katherine Monk, screening as a world premiere as part of the upcoming Whistler Film Festival.

It’s a must-see for any movie lover and/or Canadian citizen. By playing off the clichés that often tag Canadian cinema, Weird Sex and Snowshoes has the power to open your eyes to a side of Canada’s home and native film industry you may never have considered. Canadian Cinema emerges profound – particularly in our country’s willingness to explore the idea of art as a collaboration.

No limits. No restraints. Creative freedom.

The film was brought together by a dynamic group: renowned producer Gabriela Schonbach, long-time documentary film director Jill Sharpe and of course, the author of the book that inspired the production, Katherine Monk.

It was no easy undertaking. Monk’s thorough tome is in essence a comprehensive reference book for Canadian film and roves across the vast cinematic landscape, jumping from film to film and genre to genre, making Weird Sex and Snowshoes – the movie – no easy feat.

Sharpe set out to speak with 20 prominent Canadian film directors, including Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, Léa Pool and Robert Lepage, just to name a few, to get their opinion on what Canadian film means to them. What she found in all directors was an unswerving dedication to creative vision.

"It was a subject that I approached with trepidation," said Sharpe. "I wanted to take the viewer on a musing through some of the scenes that we might find in our films and at the same time, show that our film styles are a looking glass into our own cultural personality."

Sharpe said her history as a documentary filmmaker prepared her for the process of tackling a subject with questions, then looking for the answers.

"In documentary filmmaking, its what comes through the material that you’ve got to be true to, whether it’s what you went hunting for or not," she states. "I didn’t have a vested interest imposing my view on the directors I spoke with. I wasn’t someone with a particular film agenda to thrust upon them.

"In a way, it gave me a neutrality. I was given the privilege of doing an intense Canadian Film 101, and walked away from every interview inspired."

One thing that Sharpe admitted she found difficult from the filmmaker’s perspective was how to take 20 interviews and 70 film clips and create a coherent story line.

"That’s why we call the film ‘a Trek through the Canadian Cinematic Psyche,’ she noted. "We’re just going down a few trails here, and showing some sign posts along the way."

She expressed gratitude for Monk’s attitude towards her filmmaking approach.

"Katherine, unlike a lot of people who offer up their book as a basis for a film, really stood back. It was a real act of trust on her part, and it was amazing that she was able to be so hands-off on a subject that she’s obviously so passionate about."

A tradition of artistic expression is something all Canadians can hold close to their hearts. It’s part of our film culture. Thankfully all of us Canadians in some sort of way, have a tie to weird sex, and of course, snowshoes.

Weird Sex and Snowshoes screens Friday, Dec. 3 at 9:30 p.m. at Village 8 Cinemas. For more information on the Whistler Film Festival go to www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.

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