An expansive offering 

Whistler Film Festival to feature six films from National Film Board, ranging from animated short to documentary

Canada’s public film producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is making quite the appearance at the eighth annual Whistler Film Festival (WFF).

This year, they have a wide range of films being screened at the Festival, including a varied selection of feature-length documentaries and an animated short.

“The quality of films is really good and really diverse, so they’ve done a really good job of selecting them,” said Lindsay Nahmiache, publicist for the NFB.

“…It just shows that they’re funding a lot of really diverse projects and getting involved in a whole host of things; they’re not pigeon-holing themselves, which I think makes it more accessible for festivals and the general public.”

This has been a strong year for the NFB at other film festivals as well, especially on the international circuit.

“Last year we had, ‘Up the Yangtze,’ which was co-produced with the NFB, and that did exceptionally well, outgrossing any Canadian documentary out there, and its still going strong,” she said, adding that its still playing in theatres today.

And the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), a 10-day documentary festival, just wrapped up last weekend, but not before Brett Gaylor’s “RiP: A Remix Manifesto,” won the audience award.

“It’s huge, because that’s the biggest documentary film festival in the world – it’s massive!” Nahmiache enthused.

“RiP: A Remix Manifesto” is making its Western Canadian premiere at the WFF at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5 at Rainbow Theatre.

The documentary explores issues of film and music copyright in the information age, remixing the 20 th century media landscape and questioning the role of users and producers, and featuring a well-known mash-up musician, Girl Talk, as the central protagonist.

“It just kind of really, really gets into presenting interesting issues on the issue of copyright,” Nahmiache added.

“The Sweetest Embrace: Return to Afghanistan” makes its B.C. debut at the WFF at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Rainbow Theatre.

The documentary follows the journey of two Afghan men who were sent to Tajikistan during Soviet occupation of their country. 16 years later, they are finally returning home in search of their families.

“It’s more of a beautiful art picture,” Nahmiache said, “The scenery is stunning, and it’s really kind of an emotional journey through the visual images that you see.”

“Carts of Darkness” screens at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4 at Rainbow Theare.

It’s yet another documentary, but this time the images and story hit much closer to home. Directed by former snowboarder and sport film director Murray Siple, who was injured in a serious car accident 10 years ago, the film marks his return to extreme sports cinema. Siple sidles into the lives of North Vancouver’s bottle pickers who have developed a new sport – shopping cart racing.

“Hungu,” an animated short, screens at Village 8 Cinemas at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4. The nine-minute film, which is directed by Nicholas Brault, tells the story of a mother’s soul, which is resurrected by music to return strength and life to her child.

“(Hungu) is from the name of an African instrument and it’s got a narrative to the worlds of human and nature and how they’re linked,” Nahmiache explained.

“Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action” makes its world premiere at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6 at Rainbow Theatre. This film captured the NFB’s award for most popular documentary at the 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival.

From the creators of “Sacred Sacred” (winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival), “Fierce Light” asks whether spirituality and activism can coexist in harmony.

“It kind of just takes a look at the globalization of spiritual activism and how it’s spreading around the world,” Nahmiache said. “It’s nice because it reflects the good that’s happening in society, rather than the bad.”

“Tiger Spirit” makes its B.C. premiere on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. at the Rainbow Theatre. The documentary takes a close look at a divided Korea following the Korean War of the 1950s.

“It looks into the broken heart of Korea and explores the realism and reunification that has gone on in that country since the war,” Nahmiache said.

For a full listing of the 92 films that are being screened at the WFF this year, or to purchase tickets, visit www.whistlerfilmfestival.com and click on films and events.

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