Fest is the best 

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I'm currently employed by the Whistler Film Festival in a multitude of roles so don't expect any fair and balanced, objective journalism this week.

Or ever (since there isn't really even such thing as an objective movie review).

In any case, everyone should support and endorse the Whistler Film Festival because they put films on screens. We take it for granted nowadays but Whistler, while always the best place for mountains, hot-tubbing and pounding booze, used to be a cinematic wasteland with just one movie screen.

(And yes, Robin William's Toys did indeed run twice nightly for three full weeks in December of 1992. It was torturous.)

To have the calibre and variety of movie choices we have this week is a real privilege so happy 11th anniversary, WFF, and thanks for bringing 83 films (including shorts) onto our screens.

And welcome to Whistler all you visiting film lovers, filmmakers and celebrities. I even heard there is a real starlet coming this year (with her brother as a bodyguard — Whistler bachelors' reputations precede them apparently).

My comrades here at Pique have already covered a lot of the highlights elsewhere in this paper (You do read the whole thing right? Not just this and the letters?) but allow me to include a few flicks with local connections.

The Freedom Chair (Closing Gala, Sunday night, Conference Centre, 8 p.m.) is a king-hell-doozy of a ski movie starring Josh Dueck that highlights everything that is great about snow, the art of ripping it, and the people who do so.

Directed by Whistler local Mike Douglas, The Freedom Chair kicks off the big closing gala on Sunday night and everyone in town should come celebrate winter, support the locals and party it up. This is the full 15-minute version of The Freedom Chair, not the shorter cut you saw on the Internet.

MD isn't the only local cat with a nugget in the box at this year's WFF. Born-and-raised Whistler kid Garnet Clare has a flick called Animal Nation's Somebody that I used to Know in the Shortworks Program on Friday. It's a music video actually but it has a beginning, middle and end and it's really well shot, which is to be expected I suppose from a kid who was born in behind the processing machine at Whistler's first ever photo shop. The kicker is Garnet shot the film by himself, the first time he tried out his new camera — the kid's a natural. Somebody that I used to Know screens Friday Night at 7 p.m. at Maxx Fish (short films in a nightclub — true Whistler style).

The Shortworks Program should be of particular interest because Whistler's local filmmakers make some pretty decent shorts themselves and surely someone must be curious to see how their stuff stacks up against films from across the country.

Rising star Jay Baruchel is coming to town to receive some accolades for being A) awesome, B) Canadian, and C) one of the industry's top young writers to keep an eye on. Jay's hockey movie Goon should come out in a month or two.

Michael Shannon is also coming to town. He's one of those character actors who absolutely kills it every time. Check him out as greaseball music producer Kim Fowley in The Runaways, a flick that never gets the play it deserves and is therefore the Download of the Week.

But mostly, check out the films screening at the Whistler Film Festival. Eleven years in and only getting better, this kind of thing is integral to Whistler's future if we want to continue to be the raddest place ever.

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