5 Things to Look Forward to at the Whistler Film Festival

The annual Whistler Film Festival kicks off on November 28 in Whistler, BC and has packed an impressive number of films, panels and events into its 18th iteration. Over the course of five days, the festival will screen 90 films from Canada and around the world, ranging from features to shorts to documentaries. The non-profit will also award over $150,000 to filmmakers in cash prizes and commissions. Here are five things to look forward to at WFF this year, whether you’re a Whistler native or heading over to the city to check out the festival for the weekend. That is, five things in addition to the fact that you’d basically be watching films in just about the most picturesque surroundings possible, which, priceless. (ICYMI, we shot our October cover in an ice cave in Whistler.)

Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch event
For the past seven years, WFF has been playing host to the 10 screenwriters named in Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch list. This year, the group of 10 includes Sofia Alvarez, who wrote Netflix’s smash hit To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before; Joe Robert Cole, who penned Black Panther; and Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, the writers behind A Quiet Place. George Stroumboulopoulos will moderate a conversation on December 1 with the 10 writers, who will address their respective careers in the industry, upcoming projects and more.

WFF’s Got Talent
If you’re an aspiring filmmaker—whether a producer, director, screenwriter or actor—send in your application for WFF’s various talent programs, which promise to help those “looking to establish themselves in the industry and advance their projects from script to screen.” WFF Talent Programs are open to Canadian independent filmmakers and talent at various stages in their careers, and some of the events this year include a multi-day lab for documentary filmmakers covering social issues, a fellowship for indigenous filmmakers, and a pitch workshop.

Women on Top
The first part of this year’s Women on Top series was held in Vancouver in June, and featured Geena Davis as a keynote speaker, in her capacity as founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a non-profit geared towards achieving gender equality in the entertainment industry. The second part of the series is scheduled for November 30 at the festival, and will involve a keynote address by Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute. Providing further insight into efforts within Canada and internationally to address gender equality and diversity, the keynote luncheon will be followed by a Women on Top workshop. This Changes Everything, a film about the gender disparity in the media industry, executive produced by Davis, will also be screened at WFF following its premiere at TIFF earlier this fall.

View this post on Instagram

@whisfilmfest is proud to announce the second part of the Women On Top Series, November 30, 2018. _______ KEYNOTE LUNCHEON: MADELINE DI NONNO The Women on Top Series kicked off with Academy-Award winning actor and activist ​Geena Davis​ with a keynote luncheon in Vancouver on June 15. The series continues at WFF with a networking luncheon and keynote address featuring Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and C​hair of the Television Academy Foundation, who will speak about the institute’s latest research on gender representation in media, what is being done to address it, and why making media equitable and women on screen matters. _______ WORKSHOP: MAKING MEDIA EQUITABLE The keynote luncheon will be followed by a workshop, which will extend the experience by providing further insight into what is happening globally and in Canada to address gender equality and diversity by exploring who is working to implement inclusion and what filmmakers can to do to support the mandate. The Workshop features Di Nonno and Canadian scholar Dr. Amanda Coles, author of the Canadian Unions for Equality on Screen report: What's Wrong with this Picture?, along with 20 leading advocates and representatives from Canadian public agencies, including Telefilm, CMF, NFB, DGC, UBCP/ACTRA, IATSE 891, SCGC, WGC, WIFTV and Women in View that have initiated policies and mandates to achieve gender equality and diversity in Canada. Get info. _______ FILM PREMIERE: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING WFF presents the Western Canadian premiere of THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING from director and producer Tom Donahue. Told first-hand by some of Hollywood’s leading voices, it takes an incisive look into the history, empirical evidence, and systemic forces that foster gender discrimination and thus reinforce disparity in our culture. Produced by New Plot Films in association with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, David Yurman, and the Artemis Rising Foundation, the documentary seeks pathways and solutions from the industry, and around the world. For more information, click the link in our bio. #wff18 #wffwomenontop #ittakesavillage

A post shared by Whistler Film Festival (@whisfilmfest) on

The Canadian premieres of Mary Queen of Scots, On the Basis of Sex and At Eternity’s Gate
Three of this year’s most anticipated films—Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan as the titular Queen and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I, On the Basis of Sex starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Martin Ginsburg, and At Eternity’s Gate, starring Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh—will have their Canadian premieres at the festival this year.

A spotlight on Canadian films
69% of the content presented at WFF this year will be Canadian, and the lineup includes some exciting pieces of work such as Roobha, about a Tamil-Canadian who falls for a transgender dancer; Family First, Canada’s official entry in the Foreign Language category for next year’s Oscars, and The Fireflies are Gone, a film about a young girl from a small town in Quebec, which won Best Canadian Feature film at TIFF this past September.