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Whistler Festival Film unveils 2020 lineup

Mix of online and in-person screenings take place throughout December
The Whistler Film Festival will have select in-person screenings this year. Photo by Mike Crane/ Tourism Whistler

The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) released its 2020 lineup on Thursday, Nov. 5.

In total, 89 films—including 32 features and 57 shorts, selected from 1,350 submissions—will be screened both in-person and online next month.

The theatre screenings will take place in Whistler from Dec. 3 to 6 with eight feature films and up to 10 shorts. Then, from Dec. 4 to 6, five features will premiere in Vancouver.

"To ensure a safe viewing experience, provincial health and safety protocols are in place at both theatres, and capacities are limited to 50 seats per show," organizers say in a release.

Meanwhile, 30 features and up to 51 shorts will be available for a national audience to screen online from Dec. 1 to 31.

“With particular emphasis on Canadian content creators and distinct and emerging new voices, the Whistler Film Festival continues to fill a valuable niche within the Canadian film ecosystem,” says Paul Gratton, WFF’s director of programming in a release. “This year, we’re excited to bring the magic of WFF to a national audience through our online offerings and in-theatre for our regional fans. WFF has evolved into a premium showcase for exciting new motion pictures not previously shown at other film festivals. With our strongest lineup ever of Canadian gems to topical American Indies, our 20th edition selections simply crackle with the energy and creativity that result when brand new voices are mixed in with more established filmmakers.”

A few highlights include:

  • The world premiere of Sugar Daddy, written by and starring Kelly McCormack and directed by Wendy Morgan, about an aspiring musician who goes on dinner dates with men in exchange for money, as the online debut.
  • The world premiere of In Her City, directed by B.C. filmmaker Carl Bessel, featuring short vignettes with 17 young actors from diverse backgrounds, as the in-theatre festival kick-off. 
  • Fifteen Canadian films competing for the Borsos Competition awards, including: An Introvert's Guide to High School, directed by Sophie Harvey; Indian Road Trip, directed by A.W. Hopkins; Mercy, directed by Sam Flamont; All-In Madonna directed by Arnold Lim; Ruth Lawrence's Little Orphans; Joshua Demers' Quebexit; The Corruption of Divine Providence directed by Jeremy Torrie; Underground (Souterrain); Eric Tessier’s You will Remember Me (Tu Te Souviendras De Moi); Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Goddess of the FireFiles (La Déesse Des Mouches à Feu); Christophe Levac’s The Marina (La Marina); Virginia Abramovich’s Between Waves; and Susan Rodgers’ Still the Water—in addition to Sugar Daddy and In Her City.
  • Documentary world premieres include: The Decline, about East Vancouver’s growing fentanyl problem and Paperman (Lafortune Sur Papier) about Quebec’s own version of Mr. Rogers, Claude Lafortune.  
  • Films from Away will feature topical films making their Canadian debut, including: American Thief, a thriller about cyber hacking the 2016 presidential election; A Shot Through the Wall about a Chinese-American cop who accidentally shoots a black youth leading anti-racism protests; and Small Time about the loss of innocence in drug-ravaged rural America.

Films will vie for 16 awards and $38,500 in cash and prizes, awarded by juries.

This year, the festival will feature 18 first-time feature films, 13 feature films directed by women, and 71 per cent Canadian content.

WFF has decided in this challenging year to share half of the net online proceeds directly with the filmmakers or Canadian rights holders.

To see the full lineup, more details, and tickets, visit