Writers Festival gets creative for fundraiser 

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Bottom line: most fundraisers are boring. Sure, it's nice to buy raffle tickets between bites of expensive (albeit, very, very delicious) pizza while some local singer waxes melodically in the corner of the room, but where's the fun, you know?

The Whistler Readers and Writers Festival has taken charge in elevating the fundraiser concept. Yes, this is, indeed, some very breaking news. How are they doing this? With the ingenious "Creative Coaster Composition Competition," which is taking place at the Whistler Brewery on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

All attendees are asked to compose a 500-word-maximum piece of prose, "a bubbly blurb, rambling rap, mini-masterpiece, pithy poem, touching tome, or a doodling ditty" that would fit on a beer coaster. Each submission must make reference, either thematically or tangentially, to a coaster. How, exactly, this will be done is part of the fun.

"This could be a person who lives by the sea, someone who seemingly coasts through life, or you could take it literally and write about the life of a beer mat and the things they must have seen," says event organizer, Nancy Routley.

The rules are quite loose — participants may come with their compositions already prepared or they can make them up on the spot. The winning Coaster Composition will be based on an audience response-o-metre, with all participants reading their own work.

Entry is $12 at the door and includes a burger, beer, the chance to win some prizes and "the opportunity to wow the audience with literary wit."

The fact is, this will be an awesome meeting for all writers and writer hopefuls, as well as a much needed bar raising for fundraisers. Writers Festival: we applaud you.

WFF announces film premiers

The 12th annual Whistler Film Festival is still three months away but organizers have announced the first round of titles.

Leading off this year's Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature are two world premiers: The Mad Ship, the directorial feature debut for Winnipeg-based David Morton, about a Scandinavian immigrant caught in the Depression-era dustbowl; and Blood Pressure, a thriller directed by Sean Garrity, about an unhappy wife who becomes entangled in the voyeurism of a mysterious young man.

Other Borsos contenders include the edgy sex comedy My Awkward Sexual Adventure, about a love-sick nerd who learns a few tips from a Toronto stripper, and Still, starring James Cromwell, about an aging couple attempting to build their dream house despite insurmountable opposition.

Also premiering this year is Martin Laroche's faux documentary Fair Sex, which features one of the most controversial sex scenes in recent film history.

Other titles include The Mountain Runners and U.S. indie films It's a Disaster and Between Us, both featuring Julia Stiles, who will attend the festival.

These are the first films to be announced with new director of programming Paul Gratton at the helm. The remaining films will be announced on Nov. 1. This year's festival will be held Nov. 28 – Dec. 2.

Calling all directors

Are YOU Canadian? Are YOU a director? Do you want to make a video that is undeniably, irrefutably Canadian?

Ok, I'll back track now. You won't actually be the director of this film, but the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is producing "THE definitive movie for Canada" (namely, to sell Canada abroad) and is asking all Canadians to contribute their own photos and video footage for inclusion in the two-minute video.

"As we all know, the fabric of Canada extends well beyond our major urban centres and we want to give Whistler residents a chance to demonstrate just what their Canada has to offer!" writes a CTC spokesperson. "What do your readers love most about Whistler?"

Chosen content will be showcased along with the work of some leading filmmakers and artists who are participating, including Matt Wiebe and Douglas Coupland.

If interested, you can share your work through www.35milliondirectors.com. The CTC is also offering GoPro HD camera packages for winning submissions.

Go Canada!

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