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Whistler Film Festival Society elects three new members to Board of Directors

John Ritchie, Liane Bedard and Dipo David Ziwa join the board; Sue Brouse and Ann Chiasson re-elected
Photo courtesy of the Whistler Film Festival

On Aug. 24, the Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) held its annual general meeting, electing three new members to its Board of Directors and re-electing two previously serving members. 

John Ritchie, Liane Bedard and Dipo David Ziwa now join the board for three-year terms, while Sue Brouse and Ann Chiasson return. 

Ritchie has overseen the creation of more than 500 hours of scripted and documentary films, television series and one-shots through his company Force Four Entertainment in a career that spans three decades. Ritchie—who has won numerous Gemini, Leo and Canadian Screen Awards for his work, as well as the Peabody Award—now heads his own eponymous independent company, John Ritchie Productions, focusing on feature documentaries and scripted series. As an executive producer, he has overseen factual series including Border Security, The Bachelor Canada, First Dates, The Audience, Keeping Canada Alive and Keeping Canada Safe. Ritchie is the former President of Field and Post Vancouver and its affiliate annual conference Factual West. He is currently the Chair of the BCIT Broadcast and Media Communications Industry Advisory Board.

As a longtime Sea to Sky local, Bedard works as the Director of Revenue Management at Fairmont Chateau Whistler and advocated for tourism growth for over 25 years. She has also volunteered at myriad events and activities in the corridor, and was one of the original board members for Whistler’s animal shelter, WAG (Whistler’s Animal Galore). 

Ziwa is a Vancouver-based lawyer and the Senior Legal Counsel for HSBC with a passion for production. After graduating with honours from the Dalhousie University, he worked as an in-house counsel at lululemon before continuing his private practice at a boutique law firm. As an entertainment lawyer, Ziwa played a key role in the production and distribution of several award-winning films and has worked with Oscar-winning producers and critically acclaimed filmmakers. He is also the founder of The Little Park, a production studio focusing on stories about the intersectionality of sport and culture. 

“I look forward to working with this highly experienced and talented group as we navigate the years ahead,” says WFFS chair Brouse in a press release. “Their perspectives allow the festival to continue to amplify diverse voices, elevate emerging creators, and build strong, trusted relationships across the industry." 

Outgoing board members include Roger Soane, Nathaniel Lyman and Tracey Friesen. 

The Whistler Film Festival returns in person Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, 2023 with an online edition Dec. 4-17. Films will be announced on November 1. More information is available online.