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Looking back at some of Whistler's best 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown submissions over the years

Take a trip down memory lane ahead of Tuesday night's 2023 showdown
The 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown makes its long-awaited return on April 11.

After three long years of pandemic restrictions, the World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF) is officially back for its first in-person iteration since 2019. 

The multi-day winter send-off party has gone through its fair share of changes over the years, from sponsors to performers to venues to on-mountain events to the team in charge, to name just a few. But there's a few familiar aspects of the festival that have stood the test of time. Basically, the kind of unique, Whistler-specific cultural events where everyone in the crowd is in on the jokes that show up on the big screen, and where locals can stretch their creative muscles beyond the confines of their Instagram feeds. As we learned over the last couple of years, a WSSF without these events just doesn't hit the same. 

The first of those, the 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown—presented and produced by the Whistler Film Festival this year—is scheduled for Tuesday night, April 11, this time in the Westin Resort's ballroom. It's already sold out, as is Thursday night's Intersection and the three-pack multimedia bundle. (There's still a few tickets available for the Sea to Sky Photo Challenge on Wednesday night, if you're interested.) 

The gist? Teams are challenged with shooting, editing and producing a three-to-five-minute film in just a 72-hour window, with all filming required to take place within 100 kilometres of Whistler. There's more up for grabs than bragging rights, with a grand prize of $5,000. 

So, before the community packs into the venue for tomorrow night's show, we thought we'd blast down memory lane with 10 of our favourite submissions from past years, in no particular order. Press play for a little nostalgia and a lot of laughs, and if you have a fave we missed, drop it in the comments! 

2019: Benched

That year's people's choice winner is a classic tale of miscommunication—with an M. Night Shyamalan-worthy plot twist—courtesy of The Dontas Brothers and Ryan Proctor. 

2019: One Year

This one-take wonder showcases a year-in-the-life of a typical Whistler share house in just five minutes. It was written and directed by Jonny Fleet, and probably hits just a little too close to home for more than a few current and former locals.

2019: Kevin 

The talent in 2019 was next level—what a year to cap off the Before Times! Kevin, an inspiring stop-motion film by Kyle James about the title character's brave escape to the great outdoors, took the win in 2019 without even a single line of dialogue. 

2011: Poached Earth 

A traditional nature doc about Whistler's most prolific poachers, written and directed by Jonny Fleet, and produced by Patrick Henry and Justin Hannewyk alongside Fleet, with cinematography by Naim Sutherland and editing by Kelvin Tseng. 

2010: Missing

A serious film by Leslie Anthony, featuring cameos from local legends discussing the tragic disappearance of a friend who set out on a long, dangerous trek that still claims locals and visitors as its victims to this day. 

2009: The Staff: A Ski Bum Musical

This hilarious musical about life in staff housing was 2009's winning submission. It was directed and written by—you guessed it—Jonny Fleet, with filming by Naim Sutherland and editing by Kelvin Tseng. It was produced by Patrick Henry, Luke Dunn and Fleet. 

2018: H.E.N.K. 

The winning submission, by Charles Nasby, Beau Nasby and Jordan Ettinger (a.k.a. TheTrioQuartet), painted a picture of life with the help of A.I. long before ChatGPT found its way into your bookmarked tabs. 

2018: Bromeo & Kate 

This People's Choice winner by Ryan Kenny (an updated version of 2013's Snowmeo + Juliet 72-hour submission by Peter Whittaker, Michelle Grace and Steven Shore) put a Shakespearean spin on Whistler's dating scene, and the epic battle between good and evil (or rather, skiers and snowboarders), with a few digs at Vail for good measure. 

2017: Two Guys One Shirt 

This Brothers Grimm-esque tale, featuring another miscommunication with a heartwarming ending, won 2017's "Best in Show."

2017: Dawn Of The Dead Season

Kyle Killeen's ski town-centric take on the zombie flick, in this case detailing the fallout from "a sexually-transmitted superbug" making its way around Whistler, earned the filmmaker a people's choice award six years ago.