Budding filmmakers on the big screen 


Kids from the Sea to Sky corridor effortlessly tear down the slopes on skis or  snowboards, ride mountain bikes like mini-pros, and conquer just about any other outdoor activity, but this spring a select few were found toting video cameras and microphones around town instead of sports equipment.

They were the lucky few chosen to participate in the Whistler Film Festival's youth portion of the Whistler Stories program, a short film commission legacy competition for B.C. filmmakers launched back in 2005 in advance of the 2010 Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Each year up to four filmmakers have been given $5,000 each to tell their own story from the Whistler area, whether they be documentaries about historical events or people, or fictional tales that capture the essence and spirit of the region, incorporating one of the Olympic pillars of culture, environment, education and sport in the process.

There are four more on the way this year, and to wrap things up the WFF has also received support for the program from the Cultural Capitals of Canada program and the Resort Municipality of Whistler to extend Whistler Stories to Sea to Sky youth; to give local kids the opportunity to learn about digital film production and the entire film festival experience.

Aspiring filmmakers between the ages of 14 and 19 were encouraged to come out to contribute to this special portion of the Whistler Stories short film competition, which focuses on a range of subject matter from throughout the corridor, including Pemberton's potatoes, our beloved bears, lugers and torchbearers.

The kids worked on one of four teams, writing, shooting and editing a short film at no cost during a series of hands-on workshops over the last two weekends in May.

The workshops were led by an array of talented local film industry professionals including Ivan Hughes, Nicole Fitzgerald, Rebecca Wood Barrett and Angie Nolan, who helped the aspiring young filmmakers develop their concepts and turn them into a three-minute-long film. The completed films will premiere at the 2009 Whistler Film Festival and will become part of the Whistler Stories legacy project, which will be submitted for consideration for the 2010 Cultural Olympiad programming.

Nolan actually wrote and directed one of last year's Whistler Stories films, "Hairfarmin'" which chronicled the Whistler journey of Guitar Doug and Grateful Greg, two beloved local musicians. She worked for many years as an assistant director on various feature film and television productions, including the CBC series "The Beachcombers," and works as a writer, director and performer on many plays, short films and for Resort TV Network. She also has a strong working relationship with WFF.

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