Whistler Film Festival announces new legacy competition 

Short films to tell Whistler Stories

The Whistler Film Festival has announced a new short film competition, designed as a legacy program for the years leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Beginning this year and continuing through 2010, Whistler Stories will award commissions of $5,000 to four short film projects (approximately five minutes in length) per year. The films must feature subject matter based on Whistler or the surrounding Sea to Sky corridor area. Filmmakers must be B.C. residents to apply, with one of the four commissions each year reserved for a filmmaker of aboriginal heritage or of a visible minority.

The four films will be selected by the Whistler Stories jury, which includes Whistler Film Festival director of programming Bill Evans and Michel Beaudry, an accomplished outdoor writer and adventurer based in Vancouver, who is also the founder of the annual Words and Stories event at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Despite being thematically similar, both Evans and Beaudry confirmed there is no crossover between the two events.

Whistler Stories should also not be confused with the Whistler Museum and Archives’ Community Now: The People Of Whistler film project – a series of documentaries featuring different demographics of the Whistler community being produced and screened in stages in the years leading up to 2010.

Evans deemed the museum project more along the lines of a "talking head" format with a focus on oral histories, whereas the festival’s Whistler Stories contest will be seeking more individualized approaches.

"We’re trying to encourage people to be as creative as possible in their applications," Evans said.

"We’re not restricting it to any time period. We’re not looking for something that’s a talking head story about Whistler. We’re looking for something that’s more creative – the artist’s interpretation. We’re looking for them to communicate what it is about this community that they love and why they live here, or perhaps even what they don’t like about it. We’re leaving it completely open as far as that goes… as long as it has something to do with Whistler."

Beaudry described his role as an extension of his belief in promoting local stories.

"Rather than importing our stories, it’s best to develop our own," he said.

Contest organizers suggest filmmakers consider collaborations with artists in other disciplines, such as using a local musician for the soundtrack.

"We are encouraging films that are a bit more challenging, that have a bit more creativity to them, so that’s why we thought a good idea would be to encourage people to collaborate," Evans explained. "For instance, a filmmaker might collaborate somehow with a visual artist or a photographer. Or it might be a film about the art of a particular artist that lives in this community. Something that would provide something a little unusual."

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