Olympic twist to this year’s Whistler Stories 

Early call for Whistler Film Festival submissions

The submission call for the Whistler Stories short film competition is going out early this year, giving the four winning filmmakers more time to work with the $5,000 cash purses awarded to produce five-minute films for the sixth annual Whistler Film Festival. The deadline for entries is June 9.

"We moved the deadline up," said Bill Evans of the Whistler Film Festival. "The reason we did that is that while last year’s films were great, the filmmakers themselves didn’t have enough time to develop the project the way they would have liked, so we are expanding the timeline, giving more opportunity for them to shoot through summer and the fall."

Whistler Stories, a competition for B.C. filmmakers, is funded by ArtsNow, a legacy program of the 2010 Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Games. The project awards four filmmaking teams. This year the program was revised with a stipulation that the films must include Olympic themes of culture, education and/or sport in their subject. The films must also take place within the Sea to Sky corridor.

"This year there is more emphasis on linking the project to the Olympics," Evans said. "It’s still wide open (in the sense that) films can be narrative, documentary, even animated. We are not putting any boundaries on it other than the story is from the Whistler area and it is somehow to be related to Olympic themes."

With $5,000 in cash for film production, four filmmakers will have the opportunity to raise the bar on their works, which will screen at this year’s Whistler Film Festival, Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.

Last year’s Whistler Stories screening was met with robust applause at the festival’s opening party. Of the three Whistler Story award recipients last year (one group dropped out), two filmmakers were from Whistler: Rebecca Wood Barrett, director of First to Go Down , and Feet Banks, director of Sojourn or High in the Mountains .

"The Whistler Stories project is a powerful tool for young and independent filmmakers," Banks said in a testimonial. "Great themes and ideas that might otherwise slip through the cracks are suddenly on display for a much broader audience to appreciate. I believe this project will be an integral part of developing a stronger, healthier and more diverse artistic community to carry Whistler into the upcoming Olympics (and the worldwide scrutiny that accompanies them) and beyond."

Officials also announced the submission call for the festival’s playbill itself. Early film entries must be submitted by July 7, short films by July 21 and feature films by Aug. 11.

Films can be all lengths and genres, including drama, documentary, mountain culture and animated films. The festival’s key awards are the $10,000 Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature (only dramatic entries), the $5,000 Best Documentary Award and $1,000 Best Short Film Award. There is also an American Express People’s Choice Best Feature award with no cash prize.

Film submission guidelines and application forms are available at www.whistlerfilmfestival.com.

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