Maelstrom, Grass highlights of first film festival 

That’s a wrap. After 14 screenings of 19 feature and short format films at the first Whistler Film Festival, 2,600 audience members saw the best of Canadiana on reel to reel, spanning the production seasons 1999-2001.

Festival director Shauna Hardy foresees another festival in 2002, as community feedback from last week’s festival "provides assurance that the Whistler International Film Festival has a future in this town."

Hardy and Kasi Lubin spearheaded the campaign to revive the festival after a false start last winter.

Hardy adds that WIFF represents the largest film festival ever held in Whistler. The Moving Pictures: Canadian Films on Tour portion of the festival drew twice as many people as the last time Moving Pictures came to Whistler.

Moving Pictures, which tours the province, bringing Canadian films to small towns, has been run for the last six years by director Michael Ghent. Ghent says a new "Digital Film Summit" concept is in the works for the 2002 Moving Pictures production.

Ghent said: "The festival was a great event with lots of enthusiasm. Everywhere I went in the village people talked about it. Plans for next year look fabulous. We’re going to transform the conference centre venue into a screening lounge."

This year’s Whistler International Film Festival also celebrated the best in acting and film production, featuring the NFB sponsored film Ski Bums from John Zaritsky,

Plenty of visiting among audiences and filmmakers went on in and around the Whistler Conference Centre’s floors. Cast members of Bruce Sweeney’s Last Wedding dropped by Kypriaki Norte, including Frida Betrani, Ben Ratner, and Tom Scholte. Martin Cummings, of We All Fall Down, Andrew Currie (Mile Zero), and Kevin Speckmaier of Middlemen were also in attendance at the festival. Directors were happy to answer questions from audiences about their films.

Ski Bums sold out for two screenings opening night, on Nov. 14. The People’s Choice Award for the best film feature went to Dennis Villeneuve’s Maelstrom.

New filmmakers had the chance to screen their film shorts. Entries were pre-screened during the fall months, including Mon Amour Mon Parapluie, from director Paul Armstrong.

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