The 2017 Whistler Film Festival (WFF) taking place from November 29th to December 3rd, today offered a sneak peek including the first 15 confirmed films, plus industry and event programming highlights.
WFF’s Director of Programming Paul Gratton had this to say about the 2017 lineup confirmed to date: “The Whistler Film Festival is a must-attend event for film fans, emerging filmmakers and anyone who cares about quality cinema. We continue to pursue our own unique festival niche by offering an impressive selection of films, featuring Oscar hopefuls and emerging talent, with a particular focus on female directors. Our Summit will complement our film programming by addressing key trends and opportunities facing the industry, and our Signature Series events will shine the spotlight on some of the top filmmakers of the day. While our final programming is far from complete, we will continue to build on the momentum established over our last few years, and are confident that this will be our best year ever. This year, we are particularly gratified to note the large number of alumni returning to Whistler with their new films.
Toplining this year’s Canadian titles are the following World Premiere selections, some of which are eligible for WFF’s coveted Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature, featuring a $15,000 cash prize sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada, British Columbia
PRODIGALS: After the success of After-Party at WFF 2013, BC director Michelle Ouellet returns with a searing drama about a man who revisits his home town for a trial, where an ex-girlfriend and a checkered past await him, with David Alpay and Sara Canning (I PUT A HIT ON YOU, 2014).
THE MOMENT: Whistler is the perfect location to World Premiere BC filmmaker Darcy Turenne’s exhaustive and definitive history of dirt bike mountain racing that features breathtaking archival footage and stunt biking.
SOMEONE ELSE’S WEDDING: Following 2013’s THREE NIGHT STAND, director Pat Kiely offers up another hilarious comedy about a family gathering for an unusual wedding in Montreal, featuring Kathleen Turner, Jessica Paré, Jacob Tierney, Wallace Shawn, Frances Fisher, Kevin Zegers and Luke Kirby.
THE OTHER SIDE OF PORCUPINE LAKE: Director Julian Papas captures the unique camaraderie and DIY craziness on the set of Ingrid Veninger’s PORCUPINE LAKE.
8 MINUTES AHEAD: Director Ben Hoskyn’s first feature film shot in Vancouver and Hong Kong is about two brothers who have never met, but who fight over their late father’s business inheritance, even though they live in entirely different socioeconomic worlds and two very different cities.
NOBODY FAMOUS: A scathing black comedy from director Sarah Rotella about the jealousies and competitiveness of aspiring actors, as one gets a great role while spending a friendly weekend at the cottage with other wannabes.
Canadian Premieres include:
THE LEARS: Award winning filmmaker Carl Bessai met producer Irwin Olian from NeoClassics Films during the Whistler Film Festival in 2016 and the result is this well acted drama about a dysfunctional family gathering around their aging, cantankerous architect dad (Bruce Dern) hoping to score some inheritance points as he is about to retire. Also featuring Sean Astin and Anthony Michael Hall.
SANTA STOLE OUR DOG: A MERRY DOGGONE CHRISTMAS: Peterborough-born Bryan Michael Stoller is another master of the DIY school of filmmaking. Bryan moved to Hollywood many years ago, wrote the best-selling book “Filmmaking for Dummies”, and makes his own charming indie films, the last three of which have also starred his own pet dog. This one features Ed Asner as Santa, Eric Roberts and internet sensation Yvette Rachelle, who also serves as co-producer on the project.
PAINLESS: Canadian actor Joey Klein gives a remarkable performance as a man who is incapable of feeling any pain, but spends his life seeking a scientific cure for his ailment. Directed by Jordan Horowitz.
Other programming highlights confirmed for this year include:
PORCUPINE LAKE: After the success of THE ANIMAL PROJECT in 2013 and the Borsos cinematography win for HE HATED PIGEONS in 2015, Ingrid Veninger returns to present her latest feature, a charming study of that special inexplicable best girlfriends forever bond that consumes many young women at the onset of puberty.
THE PRODIGAL DAD: Vancouver based filmmaker Robert Wenzek’s first feature is a delightful character comedy about a young woman’s dad who shows up on her doorstep uninvited and becomes a hit with her friends, much to her embarrassment. A sort of Canadian Toni Erdmann. With Michelle Harrison and Mackenzie Gray.
CARDINALS: Sheila McCarthy gives one of her finest screen performances as a self-described recovering alcoholic stalked by the son of a man she killed in a car accident. Directed by Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley, with Katie Boland and Noah Reid.
MOBILE HOMES: Imogen Poots, Callum Turner and Callum Keith Rennie star in this dark drama about a directionless young mother, saddled with an eight year old son and a shiftless druggie boyfriend. A French co production directed by Vladimir de Fontenay. Poots is outstanding in the lead role.
OCTAVIO IS DEAD: Sarah Gadon in a role that will surprise her fans, as she slowly discovers the secrets of her late father’s life, including his sexual predilections, which began to fascinate her. The latest gender bending provocation from director Sook-Yin Lee, with Rosanna Arquette.
BECOMING BURLESQUE: A shy Muslim woman takes a great risk when she joins a local burlesque repertory company of extraordinary women on the burlesque stage. Featuring many real-life burlesque dancers and many exotic routines. Directed by Jackie English, with Shiva Negar and Pastel Supernova.
TULIPANI: LOVE, HONOUR AND A BICYCLE: A beautiful story about a romantic Dutch man who cycles to Italy and plants a field of tulips in the sweltering heat of Puglia. Co-produced by Don Carmody, directed by award winning Mike Van Diem and starring Giancarlo Giannini and Ksenia Solo.
The full film lineup will be released on November 1.