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Whistler Film Festival announces new Director of Film Programming

Robin Smith replaces longtime incumbent Paul Gratton
The 2023 Whistler Film Festival Industry Apres Networking Reception.

Robin Smith is in as the new Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) Director of Film Programming. 

Smith assumes the role as Paul Gratton, who has served the WFFS since 2012, moves into the honourary role of Programmer Emeritus.

With nearly 30 years of industry experience, Smith was most recently the CEO of Blue Ice Docs Inc., a distribution and equity funding company dedicated to funding, acquiring and distributing the best non-fiction work from around the world. He has worked at various distribution companies including the National Film Board of Canada, Alliance Films, Lions Gate Film Entertainment, Seville Pictures, Capri Releasing and levelFILM.

Smith also programmed the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema for its first decade of operation, and was recently brought aboard as an advisor to the Vancouver International Film Festival and Vortex Media. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Whistler team,” Smith says in a press release. “The Whistler Film Festival has always held a special place in my heart, both personally and professionally, and I am excited to be working with their team in helping bring great talent and amazing films to their audiences and beyond.” 

Smith has managed a number of high-profile and notable film releases including All About My Mother, Away From Her, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Blackfish, Up the Yangtze, Kedi, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

He has also executive produced award-winning documentaries such as the Oscar-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, the Emmy Award winning Solitary and Advocate, A Glitch in the Matrix and the 2023 SXSW documentary The Hobby.

“With Robin Smith’s talent, experience, and impressive background, his addition to the team is both exciting and emblematic of WFF’s commitment to Canadian filmmakers, audiences and international award-winning programming,” says WFF Executive Director Angela Heck in a release.

“We are so grateful to Paul Gratton for all his work with Whistler Film Festival over the last 12 years. With his curation, guidance, and deep commitment to the Canadian film industry, Paul has helped elevate the festival and turn it into the highly respected institution and cinematic champion it has become. It’s a true delight to welcome Robin and continue to build on the festival’s strengths. We can’t wait to see the wonderful ways he will shape the festival in the years to come.”