Extending films’ reach 

Filmmakers showcase work using web, with help of Resort TV

Festivals are a great way for filmmakers to have their latest works unveiled to crowds of hundreds, if not thousands, of buffs and aficionados. But what if there was a way to gain exposure to millions of people throughout the world?

It looks like one local company, Resort TV, has tapped into the web to not only promote their own business and services, but to help filmmakers from the Sea to Sky region display the projects they’ve poured their heart and soul into, launching the Whistler Online Local’s Film Festival.

Meredith Rozbitsky, station manager for Resort TV, explained that last year, which was the first for the festival, the network was in the process of building their website, and realized that an online film competition could be a great way to attract visitors to the site while providing a service and venue for local filmmakers.

“There are so many talented people in the Sea to Sky corridor who do make films, and that’s evident with all the competitions throughout the year here, and we thought it would be a great way to showcase local filmmakers and kind of launch our website,” she said.

The content of the films is left entirely up to filmmakers and last year, they received 14 submissions, which ranged from thrillers to comedies to documentaries.

“(There were) quite a wide range of different subject matter, and even styles and genres of film,” Rozbitsky said, adding that they only had to turn down a few additional entries because they didn’t meet submission guidelines.

People can view, share, e-mail, embed or download films to their mobile phones, iPods and computers directly from Resort TV’s website.

“The idea is that filmmakers can then e-mail, download, put on YouTube, their videos, and kind of reach a wider audience,” Rozbitsky explained. “One of the filmmakers last year, she said that she was able to send her film out to hundreds of people who otherwise wouldn’t make it to Whistler to see her film.”

Since last year was the first for the competition, producers weren’t really expecting an overwhelming number of submissions. But they were pleasantly surprised by the turnout, and are hoping to grow the number of applicants as the annual online festival progresses.

“Each year, technology grows and grows, and we are developing our website to meet the needs of visitors and locals alike, and so we thought… it would be great to once again do it again this year, because we’ve got new developments on our website,” Rozbitsky said.

Submissions also don’t have to be brand new — they can be films that have already been filmed, edited, and even entered into another competition.

“I think for a lot of people last year, they thought… it needed to be new, and that doesn’t need to be the case,” Rozbitsky said.

Last year, Doug Kerr’s film, “3 a.m.,” took home top honours at the festival, and Kerr received a sweet prize pack, including a Coast Range Heliskiing adventure trip for his efforts.

His film featured two characters in a hospital waiting room, awaiting news about their loved ones who were involved in a car accident. Little do they know that one of their family members was responsible for the accident, while the other was the victim.

“It was shot very beautifully, and it was one of those kind of ironic storylines,” Rozbitsky added.

All of the films were screened at the GLC with audience members voting, plus an online voting competition. This year, things are being run similarly, but a jury will pre-select the top videos, which will be screened to an audience, coupled with the online voting, again.

“We’re looking for original ideas, new storylines, things that will catch the audience,” she explained. “…We are opening it up to so many different genres and not being specific, in that it has to be a documentary or it has to be a drama or comedy, so I think we’re looking for originality, most importantly.”

The top films will be screened during the first week of December, which is also the same time the Whistler Film Festival activities will be going on, though the competition is in no way affiliated with the annual event.

Submissions should be made no later than Nov. 1. For detailed guidelines, contact films@resorttv.net .

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