• Anthony Nadeau

20th Anniversary Edition Of The Whistler Film Festival Moves Online & Other News.

The 2020 Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced that it will take place entirely online for its 20th-anniversary edition.

With rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal Health region now in its second week of tightened public health orders, WFF has made the decision to cancel its in-theatre screenings slated to run December 3-6 in Whistler and December 4-6 in Vancouver.

"The health and safety of our audience and staff remains our top priority and after careful consideration, WFF has made the difficult decision to cancel our in-theatre screenings. Audiences across Canada can still enjoy our amazing slate of films screening online until December 31," says Angela Heck, WFF’s Managing Director.

Audiences are invited to shake up their quarantine routine with WFF’s stellar lineup of fresh content premiering over 20 days from December 1 to 20 on WFF’s online viewing platform. WFF’s curated slate of over 89 films (30 features and over 57 shorts) are available to watch nationally until December 31.

With a strong focus on celebrating homegrown talent, WFF is proud that 71% of this year’s lineup is Canadian - the highest percentage of any other Canadian festival this year. In addition, WFF is committed to giving back to our filmmakers and has pledged to split the net proceeds of online screenings with our filmmakers and or Canadian rights holders.

Anyone who has purchased a ticket for in-theatre screenings is invited to connect with the WFF box office at registration@whistlerfilmfestival.com for a ticket package upgrade, exchange or refund to watch films online.

The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced five Western Canadian actors selected for its 7th annual Stars to Watch program presented by UBCP/ACTRA.

This year’s Stars to Watch finalists include Elyse Levesque

as Danielle and Ali Skovbye in the role of Jeanne, both in the National Festival VOD Premiere of THE CORRUPTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE directed by WFF alumnus Jeremy Torrie; Paul Grenier in the role of Cody Kidd and Miika Whiskeyjack in the role of Precious Crow-Eyes in the World Premiere of INDIAN ROAD TRIP directed by WFF alumnus A.W. Hopkins; and Melanie Rose Wilson as Madonna Croft in the World Premiere of ALL-IN MADONNA directed by WFF alumnus Arnold Lim.

Each film will be available to stream online for a national audience within Canada from its premiere date until December 31 with THE CORRUPTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE premiering on December 7, ALL-IN MADONNA premiering on December 9, and INDIAN ROAD TRIP premiering on December 15.

WFF’s Stars to Watch program is a multi-day festival and industry immersion experience during WFF for selected UBCP/ACTRA member actors poised for international recognition who have features premiering at the festival. It is part of WFF’s ongoing commitment to promote Canadian cinema and talent on the world stage, and draws on homegrown talent from the four Western Provinces, with a specific focus on British Columbia, to put them into the bright spotlight provided by the annual December festival.

“Our 2020 Stars to Watch are an outstanding group of talented actors with roots in Western Canada who bring a depth and range of characters to life on screen. Each of the five actors are on a trajectory for international success, and we look forward to celebrating them and their films online at the Whistler Film Festival,” said Angela Heck, WFF’s Managing Director.

"Festivals like the Whistler Film Festival are a vital part of the entertainment industry’s infrastructure and UBCP/ACTRA is proud to support the festival as it reinvents itself to thrive in the context of the pandemic," said Keith Martin Gordey, President UBCP/ACTRA, Vice President ACTRA. "The festival’s Stars to Watch program highlights the emerging talent from our Western Canadian and BC pool of world-class talent."

New for 2020, the actors will receive professional development sessions that include one-to-one meetings with directors, agents, and managers pre-festival as well as small group sessions with industry leaders attending the festival. The actors will also participate in a virtual hosted conversation as part of the Festival and Content Summit, and a virtual Red Carpet and hosted Q&As with their respective film teams on film premiere dates. The five Stars to Watch will be honoured in an online conversation on December 16 at 4pm PST hosted by Riley Chow, Contributing Editor at Gold Derby, and will be presented with a recognition award at WFF’s annual Awards Celebration taking place online on December 20 at 12pm PST.

WFF’s Stars to Watch is one of the festival’s nine talent programs providing creative and business immersion experiences for 56 Canadian artists this year - including screenwriters, directors, producers, and actors. Programs also include the Producers Lab, Screenwriters Lab, Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship, Power Pitch Competition, Doc Lab and Women in Focus Mentorship. These opportunities are specifically designed to provide business immersion and creative opportunities for emerging and mid-career Canadian screen content creators and their projects. WFF also collaborates with several industry organizations by hosting specific third party initiatives including the Women in the Director's Chair Industry Immersion, Women in Film & Television Film Market Preparation Mentorship, and the MPPIA Short Film Award Pitch with the Motion Picture Production Industry Association and Creative BC, which is on hold for 2020.

Here Comes More Talent!

Whistler Film Festival Announces Additional Guests for Content Summit

Over 100 industry guests and filmmakers to offer expertise and insights online during WFF’s 20th edition

With two weeks to go until showtime, the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) continues to turn up the heat for its 20th edition by announcing a second wave of established industry leaders and creators confirmed to participate in its three-week Content Summit. Designed to connect filmmakers and dealmakers, the Content Summit will offer 36 informative sessions online from December 1 to 20.

“We’re excited to welcome over 100 industry insiders, master storytellers, artists, and executives to our virtual mountain home, and offer advanced online networking tools and phenomenal access to the invaluable expertise and knowledge of our Content Summit guests,” said Angela Heck, WFF’s Managing Director. “From navigating the global pandemic to calls for social action along with policy changes in the Canadian media landscape, 2020 is an unprecedented yet transformative year for the screen-based industry. We’re offering a platform for creators to stay informed, look to the future, and connect with the best in the biz.”

To celebrate the top tier talent and industry expertise available at the Content Summit, WFF is offering a flash pass sale with industry and premium industry passes available at Early Bird rates with up to $100 in savings until 11:59pm, Sunday, November 22 at whisterfilmfestival.com


This year’s WFF Content Summit is taking place exclusively online and available worldwide for the first time. Featuring 36 regularly-scheduled sessions over three weeks during the festival, industry pass holders will be able to attend live stream sessions including high-level keynote presentations, workshops and moderated discussions. Attendees can look forward to deep dives into topics that range from finance to distribution, gender and inclusion in the industry and the art and craft behind the screen from writing to editing. The Content Summit will also feature WFF’s Power Pitch Competition with participants competing for a $36,000 post prize package presented by Company 3 and William F. White International Inc., as well as networking events including morning Coffee Talks, weekly Après events and 1+1 Market Meetings that round out the experience.

Solidifying WFF’s position as a place for connecting across borders, the Content Summit features conversations and case studies on topics including international co-productions, working with Canadian and US agents, new models of marketing and financing, and adapting content across multiple platforms. Confirmed speakers and panelists include:

  • Vibika Bianchi - Content Catalyst Fund

  • Vanessa Case - SVP Studio Canada, Vice Media

  • Glenn Cockburn - President, Meridian Artists

  • Aaron Champion - Director of Development, Alibi Entertainment

  • Brad Danks - Chief Executive Officer OUTtv Network Inc.

  • Lauren Davis - Regional Feature Film Executive, Western Region, Telefilm

  • Jessalyn Dennis - VP, Scripted, Seven24

  • Jordan Drage - Literary Agent, Integral Artists

  • Adam Garnet Jones - Lead - Indigenous Initiatives, Telefilm Canada

  • Zach Feldberg - Executive in Charge of Production, Digital Originals at CBC

  • Sarah Fowlie - Director, Original Programming Comedy, Bell Media

  • Sardé Hardie - Director, Acquisitions & Sales | Pacific Northwest Pictures

  • Hilary Hart - Director of Distribution and Acquisitions, Game Theory

  • Beth Iley - Director, Development, New Metric Media

  • Tory Jennings - Director of Programming, Bell Media Pay & SVOD

  • Mélanie Lê Phan - Executive in Charge of Production, Scripted Digital Originals | CBC

  • Kerry Moraes-Sugiyama - Associate Manager of Programming West, APTN

  • Jackie Pardy - Chief Content Officer, Super Channel

  • Marielle Poupelin - International Business Development Specialist, Telefilm Canada

  • Karine Tremblay - Manager of OTT Programming, APTN

  • Karen Tsang - VP, Development, Pier 21 Films

  • Shirley Vercruysse - Executive Producer at the BC & Yukon Studio, National Film Board

  • Lauren Whitelaw - Head of programming, OUTtv Network Inc.

The Content Summit also spotlights the important conversations of today’s culture - from the future of the screen with our A View From the Top programming to gender equity, diversity and inclusion in the Women in Focus Series. These conversations feature:

  • Grace Chin - Interim Managing Director, WIFTV

  • Valerie Creighton - CEO, Canada Media Fund

  • Deb Day - CEO, Innovate By Day

  • Trish Dolman - President, Screen Siren Pictures

  • David Hardy - Vice President, Sustainability & Stakeholder Affairs, William F. White International Inc.

  • Zena Harris - President, Green Spark Group

  • A.W. Hopkins - Director, INDIAN ROAD TRIP

  • Samantha Kaine - Executive Director/Founder, IMPACT

  • Richard Koo - Manager, Media Analytics, Canada Media Fund

  • Aron Levitz - GM, Wattpad Studios

  • Christina Litz - Vice President, Business Development & Revenue at Woodbine Entertainment Group

  • Liv Mendelsohn - Artistic Director, ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto

  • Amber-Sekowan Daniels - Writer, THE TRICKSTER

  • Nathalie Younglai - Founder, BIPOC TV&Film

Tapping into the wealth of fresh films programmed at this year’s festival, the Content Summit features a special “Spotlight On” series of discussions with the creative and business teams behind the World Premieres of SUGAR DADDY, directed by Wendy Morgan, written by Kelly McCormack, and starring McCormack and Colm Feore, IN HER CITY glowingly directed by BC filmmaker Carl Bessai, and the Canadian/Irish co-production of DEATH OF A LADIES MAN directed by Matt Bissonnette and featuring Gabriel Byrne. This year’s program also focuses on the art of documentary filmmaking, the art of cinematography, new horizons in storytelling and a celebration of emerging talent offering discussions, masterclasses and pitch competitions with:

  • Anna Archer - Literary Agent, Lucas Talent

  • Christine Armstrong - Editor, SUGAR DADDY

  • Sonja Bennett - Writer, KIM’S CONVENIENCE

  • Carl Bessai - Director, IN HER CITY

  • Niav Conty - Director, SMALL TIME

  • Cherie Dimaline - Author, THE MARROW THIEVES

  • Ashley Eakin - Director, SINGLE

  • Danishka Esterhazy - Filmmaker

  • Ina Fichman - Chair, DOC

  • Lauren Grant - Producer, SUGAR DADDY

  • Jennica Harper - Showrunner, THE MARROW THIEVES

  • Nyla Innuksuk - Filmmaker, SLASH/BACK

  • Elisabeth Haviland James - Director, OVERLAND

  • Jessica Jerome - Production Designer, SUGAR DADDY

  • Tanya Lapointe - Director, THE PAPER MAN

  • Ali Liebert - Director - THE QUIETING

  • Guy Maddin - Filmmaker, THE RABBIT HUNTERS

  • Elan Mastai - Writer/Producer, THIS IS US

  • Wendy Morgan - Director, SUGAR DADDY

  • Natasha Negovanlis - Writer, Host, Performer

  • Revere La Noue - Director, OVERLAND

  • Karen Lam - Filmmaker, THE CURSE OF WILLOW SONG

  • Lori Lozinski - Producer, SUGAR DADDY

  • Alexandra Raffe - Producer, THE MARROW THIEVES

  • Ari Wise - Agency Director and Owner, Core Music Agency

Sign up for 1+1 Market Meetings with industry executives for delegates with demonstrated industry experience is now open for a limited time, and will be assigned by lottery. Meetings are open only to industry passholders. Passes can be purchased at https://whistlerfilmfestival.com/tickets/


For industry pass holders interested in honing their pitches, WFF is offering a “Perfecting Your Pitch” workshop with LA-based pitch master, Carole Kirschner, former development executive at CBS and VP of Steven Spielberg’s first Amblin Entertainment Television. Kirschner will direct participants on the ins and outs of how to successfully pitch their projects. The workshop takes place online on December 1, from 10:00am to 1:30pm PST. Workshop tickets are $75 and available to purchase for industry pass holders only from the Festival’s online box office. Limited capacity. The Festival’s online box office is now open for film tickets, ticket packages and industry passes, which can be purchased online at whistlerfilmfestival.com/tickets

. WFF’s Content Summit schedule is available whistlerfilmfestival.com/industry-summit/schedule/


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