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The 2016 Whistler Film Festival Audience Award went to LA LA LAND, Damien Chazelle’s charming romantic musical featuring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Audiences in Whistler were completely charmed by the Opening Night selection, building on its popular momentum following screenings at the Venice and Toronto film festivals.

Tied for second place was MISS SLOANE, John Madden’s razor-sharp profile of a take-no prisoners female Washington lobbyist memorably played by Jessica Chastain and Garth Davis’ LION.  MISS SLOANE fascinated Whistler audiences who were delighted to hear director John Madden talk about his experiences shooting the film in Toronto and how rare it is to come across such an intriguingly intricate first-time screenplay (by Jonathan Perera).  Garth Davis’ LION was also a very popular runner up with our audiences, who were charmed by the presence in Whistler of screenwriter Luke Davies, who was in attendance as one of the Variety 10 Screenwriters to Watch who was in attendance and who generously shared insights into the real-life experiences of Saroo, an Indian boy who was separated from his family at the age of five and spent twenty-five years searching for his lost birth mother.

The most popular Canadian film with Whistler audiences this year was the BC based GRAND UNIFIED THEORY, directed and written by David Ray. Fresh and funny, shot over a twelve day period in North Vancouver, the film tells the story of a brilliant nuclear physicist who may know how to lecture about the order in the universe, but whose personal family life is a living example of chaos theory run rampant.

Says Paul Gratton, Director of Programming of the Whistler Film Festival: “We felt going in that this year’s selection of films was the most diverse and audience-friendly mix that we have ever had the privilege of presenting at Whistler. We were gratified to note that our instincts were correct. The audience rating numbers were the highest that we have ever seen for this year’s films, and that reflects the ever growing relationship between the Whistler Film Festival and the audiences that support it.”

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