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MAC launches short film project aimed at capturing Whistler's iconic past

interviews with local seniors, historical footage to be included
time honoured A new film project aimed at capturing Whistler's rich history will included archival footage and interviews with some of Whistler's pioneers, like Florence Petersen, pictured, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 83. file photo

A new film project being launched by the Mature Action Community (MAC) aims to capture the stories of Whistler's past before they're lost to the annals of history.

The non-profit organization has put the call out to emerging auteurs to spearhead a digital storytelling initiative that will share the memories and reflections of Whistler's time-honoured citizens in the form of a 20-minute short film.

"A lot of our elders are passing away and we will lose those stories if we don't capture them," said Sue Lawther, former MAC president and current chair of the organization's senior needs assessment focus group.

The film will blend interviews with some of the resort's elder statesmen and local First Nations — Lawther said former citizens of the year would likely form the basis of the interview portion — with historical footage and photographs from the Whistler Museum's extensive archives.

It's being envisioned as an innovative film that will bridge the generational gap with a student filmmaker in the director's chair.

"We approached the Whistler Museum and the Whistler Arts Council because we're a bunch of seniors — what do we know about making a film? Especially a cutting-edge, funky film," Lawther laughed, adding that the chosen directorial candidate will be revealed at the end of the month.

"They can bring it to life with today's technology. We don't want something that's static and boring."

In a community with such a young, transient population, the link to Whistler's diverse history can be tenuous, and Lawther hopes the project will serve as a useful educational tool for future generations.

"We don't have a sense or perception of the seniors in this community," she said. "I think when the people see the video they'll realize these people are all still here, and these are their stories... This is our heritage, these are our roots."

Lawther said plans are underway to make the film as accessible as possible, offering it to local organizations and resort stakeholders so they can use it for their own purposes.

"We want to use this almost as a seed project so that other groups can then go out and start telling their own stories," she said, pointing to the rich histories of local stakeholders like the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb and community rotary groups.

The project is slated for completion in February 2016, and will be made available to the public shortly thereafter.

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