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Borsos Award contenders announced

Whistler Film Festival wields star-studded jurors and competitors

Ninety films, six Borsos Award contenders, 10 filmmaker workshops, one youth film production workshop and producer round tables cut together for the Whistler Film Festival’s biggest celebration yet, Dec. 1 to 4.

The Borsos Award, named after Canadian filmmaker Phillip Borsos, best known for his film The Grey Fox , enters its second year, awarding $10,000 for Best New Canadian Feature Film.

The honouring of such a film industry icon has attracted a star-studded panel of judges this year along with double the number of film entries from the inaugural year.

"I hope it says we are making some waves," said Bill Evans, director of programming for the Whistler Film Festival (WFF), of the caliber of judges this year.

"I really feel strongly that this is an important competition because it gives the opportunity for filmmakers, who are pushing boundaries and working against the mainstream of filmmaking, to give them some recognition that they often don’t receive."

The award has attracted three film industry legends: Don McKellar, who co-wrote Dance Me Outside and The Red Violin along with writing, directing and starring in Childstar .

Molly Parker who is currently filming the third season of HBO’s Deadwood . Parker’s other credits include roles in Men With Brooms , The Five Senses and Six Feet Under . She recently wrapped up her latest feature, Wicker Man , working opposite Nicolas Cage.

Robert Lantos is no stranger to the big leagues. He produced more than 30 films, including Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominated Being Julia , Golden Globe nominated Sunshine , Academy Award nominated Sweet Hereafter and Canadian box office hit Men with Brooms .

The jurors have a tough job in front of them with a well-rounded selection of finalists, spanning everything from social-commentary documentaries to poetic personal diary accounts.

"There are a wide variety of styles unified by a strong vision of the filmmaker and their embodiment of an independent spirit, which is what we want to celebrate with the Borsos Award," Evans said.

Anita Doron’s The End of Silence is a love story that follows the story of a would-be immigrant and former ballerina in a multi-cultural city forced to feel poverty and obscurity for the first time.

Ilan Saragosti’s Exiles in Lotus Land captures the journey of two Quebec street kids who travel to Western Canada to live on the edge of society.

David Ray’s Fetching Cody is an offbeat love story about transporting through time and the realization that changing fate is a lot harder than one imagined.

Johnny Kalangis’ Love Is Work sheds insight into the lives of five couples who talk on love, money, sex, death, birth and fame over dinner at a restaurant.

David Christensen’s Six Figures is a murder-mystery about a happily married couple with two kids and rewarding careers. But do pressures to keep up lead to murder?

Raphael Assaf’s The Zero Sum relays the tale of two brothers who will do just about anything for each other – even if it means doing time in jail for a crime that one of them did not commit.

The six Canadian premieres will be screened alongside 36 feature films, 54 short films and 15 B.C. premieres. Special screening events for the festival include A Tribute to Robert Lantos and the opening gala with a screening of C.R.A.Z.Y., an award-winning film about growing up in Quebec in the 1970s, as well as screenings of Whistler Stories, four five-minute shorts awarded grants from the WFF legacy program. Watch out for local filmmakers Rebecca Wood Barrett’s First to Go Down film and Feet Banks’s Sojourn documentary. The 5 th Anniversary Party, Awards Brunch and closing film screening of Mrs. Henderson Presents (UK) are other events to look out for.

This year’s live national broadcast of CBC Newsworld’s The Hour on the festival, featuring WWF stars and other special guests Dec. 1 at the GLC, will coincide with the launch of CBC’s documentary festival Cinema Real.

There are plenty of opportunities to learn about the filmmaking industry with 10 Bell Filmmaker Forum workshops Dec. 2 to 4 at MY Millennium Place. International Sessions educate Western Canadian filmmakers about the industry marketplace Co-Ventures, Co-Financing and International Sales and Trends in North American and International Distribution Dec. 2. Regular sessions between Dec. 2-4 include The Rebirth of Canadian Dramatic Television, New Directions in Documentary, Short Script Analysis and Competition, Digital Demo: HD for Indies, Challenges and Opportunities for Short Film, Inside the Actor’s World and Feature Script Reading.

The Get Reel youth film workshop, Nov. 18 to 20, will also screen the short film the group produces at the festival. The registration deadline is Monday, Nov. 14. For more information, call 604-902-0996.

Film tickets are now available at or by phone at 604-628-0298 as of Nov. 17. Visit the festival website for details.

The WFF wraps up its Reel Alternative 2005 independent film series with Gus Van Sant’s Last Days , a film inspired by the final hours of Kurt Cobain, Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Village 8 Cinemas. There are two showings: 7 and 9 p.m. Advanced $9 tickets are available at Nesters Market and on show day after 6 p.m. at Village 8 Cinemas.