Maxed out 

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The performers, at every event, have shone like highly buffed hopes. Ozomatli absolutely kicked it on Sunday's mainstage, whipping the crowd into a Latin, hiphop frenzy. Arkells' sonic assault could be heard from the day skier lots. And Whole Lotta Led were whole lotta great, Robert Plant eat your heart out.

Icon Gone deserved a larger audience than showed up for the head-to-head, what's more Whistler about Whistler event. In a field of entertaining, passionate presenters, Bob Brett's droll advocacy for Canada's national rodent, the beaver, carried the day. Maybe with that show of support, the valley's growing beave population will be able to withstand the inevitable calls to trap 'em out now that they're ravenously foraging the trees along the edges of Nick North.

Monday's maiden voyage of ThreePointOh excited the assembled audience who came not knowing exactly what to expect. There was creative anarchy on the screens and deeply disturbed minds in evidence. There were also more than a few people vowing to pitch their own projectible potpourri into the mix next year, suggesting Sue might want to think of opening the other half of the Borg for what is destined to be another big hit and another full house.

The Borg, actually, is emblematic of the Festival's never-rest-on-your-laurels mindset. Sprung on an unsuspecting and highly appreciative audience half a dozen years ago, the six-sided AV wonder meant there were no longer any bad seats in the house. Every sightline was a good sightline. No one suggested the design needed to be tweaked. But Scott McPhee, the Rocky Mountain Productions whiz who dreamt it up, saw its flaw. The new, improved Borg this year boasts screens sized in keeping with the wide-screen format that's become the video standard. Did you notice?

You can be forgiven for missing it at Tuesday's 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown. From Feet's nearly nekkid intro on, the incredibly high quality of the evening's films was so dazzling you might not have noticed how much better they looked in the new format. What you probably didn't miss was the not-so-subtle segue in thematic content. In keeping with the trend toward embracing depression-era escapist entertainment, three of the 10 films, including Jonny Fleet's winner, were musicals. Musicals!

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