Docs hotter than ever at film fest 

More docs than ever at this year's fest

By Nicole Fitzgerald

Blame it on reality television, the tiring of cookie cutter media or the desire to both learn and be entertained: documentaries are hot right now and the Whistler Film Festival is packing more documentaries than ever into this year’s playbill, Thursday, Nov. 30 to Sunday, Dec. 3 at Village 8 Cinemas and MY Millennium Place.

“We are looking at increasing the documentary component of the festival, just based on pubic input,” said festival programmer Bill Evans. “Documentaries have been the most successful screenings we’ve done.”

The documentary Let It Ride! , celebrating the life of snowboarding legend Craig Kelly, opens the festival Thursday, Nov. 30 at the Telus Conference Centre as part of the Opening Gala.

Jacques Russo’s film not only gets up close and personal with the life of Kelly in buddy tales you might hear from friends catching up over beers, but the film begins where Kelly’s life took off — the advent of the snowboard and how Kelly was a defining part of the snowboard culture.

Often the unusual finds its ways onto documentary screens.

Wonder Woman was famous for her invisible jet, so why is it such a stretch that an entertainer become famous because of invisible guitar? Only air guitarists Bjorn Turoque and C-Diddy aren’t fighting crime, rather they’re fighting over the title of World Air Guitar Champion in the Canadian premier of Air Guitar Nation , Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at MY Millennium Place.

Alexandra Lipsitz’s rockin’ film explores the air guitar mania that swept a nation, chronicling the birth of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships.

Visit www.myspace.com/airguitarcanada to catch a hilarious glimpse of what these air artists bring to the stage — it’s not a guitar.

Director Larry Weinstein also explores eccentric lifestyles in Mozartballs on Dec. 2 at 9:45 p.m. at Village 8 Cinemas.

Onto one screen he throws a woman who believes herself inhabited by Mozart’s soul, a woman who claims to be Viennese diva Nancy Storace reincarnate and a retired Swiss school teacher who speaks “Wolfie”. The result is a celebration of both human nature and the enduring power of music.

Documentaries also allow audiences to armchair travel all over the globe.

Festival-goers can traverse into the frozen seas, tundras and glaciers of the Arctic in The White Planet , Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:15 p.m. at Village 8 Cinemas.

From fauna to beasts, explore a world ruled by cold and threatened by global warming.

Sometimes it only takes one element of a place’s culture to understand the heart of a community. Greg Hamilton explores the heart behind a traditional Myanmar sport called chinlone in Mystic Ball , on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. at Village 8 Cinema.

For 20 years, he delved into the little known culture of Myanmar, resulting in a film eight-years in the making that explores the mesmerizing sport as well as the fulfillment that comes from following one’s passion.

Other documentaries to look out for include Glimpses of Heaven , the journey of three Canadian artists; A Land Out of Time , drilling in America; A Safer Sex Trade , the stigma of prostitution; Unspeakable , speech impediments; The Making of a Martyr , Palestinian suicide bombers; Pipe Dream , snowboarding; and Sita, A Girl From Jambu , about Nepalese girls tricked into sex slavery.

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