DARKEST HOUR
DARKEST HOUR

The 17th Whistler Film Festival, aka ‘Canada’s Coolest Film Fest’, will take place from November 29 to December 3, 2017, and feature 87 fresh films (46 features and 41 shorts) from over 15 countries.

WFF is set to open with Joe Wright’s DARKEST HOUR, starring Gary Oldman and Lily James. Endorsed by Winston Churchill’s estate, the film tells the story of Churchill’s refusal to engage in peace treaty negotiations with Nazi Germany during WWII, and his determination to fight on against incredible odds. Closing the festival is the World Premiere of THE MOMENT. Darcy Hennessey Turenne’s latest documentary feature uncovers the origin of Freeride Mountain Biking and its provenance in British Columbia by following a dedicated group of adventure seekers who changed the course of the sport forever.

Oscar-contending films screening at WFF include the Western Canadian premieres of I, TONYA, one of the most pleasant surprises of this year’s festival season about disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, directed by Craig Gillespie and starring Margot Robbie; THE DISASTER ARTIST, directed and starring James Franco along with Dave Franco, tells the true-life story of Tommy Wiseau, Hollywood outsider and director of the cult-hit THE ROOM, which will also debut as the “From the Vault” selection; and Canada’s entry in this year’s Best Foreign-Language film Oscar competition HOCHELAGA, LAND OF SOULS directed by François Girard.

Additional critically acclaimed directors with works premiering in the festival include Richard Linklater, with LAST FLAG FLYING starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne, about three ex-marines who reunite thirty years after the Vietnam War; Émile Gaudreault with FATHER AND GUNS 2 (DE PÉRE EN FLIC 2), Canada’s highest grossing film of the year; Oscar Winner Mike Van Diem with the Netherlands, Italy, Canada co-production TULIPANI: LOVE, HONOUR, AND A BICYCLE; and acclaimed Canadian documentarian Alan Zweig with his latest film THERE IS A HOUSE HERE, about an Inuk rock singer Lucie Idlout.

Director of Programming Paul Gratton stated: ”It is gratifying to see that the Whistler Film Festival’s ever growing reputation as a cool film festival in which to showcase original work is growing well beyond our borders. The quality of our American Indie submissions was way up this year, as was the quality of our hundreds of Canadian entries. The Borsos jury will have a particularly challenging time picking the winners this year.”

Programming strands include American Indies, Canada 150, Contenders, Doc Bloc, Family Feature, First Features, From Overseas, From The Vault, Mountain Culture, ShortWork, Transgressive Tales, and World Premieres.

This year WFF is proud to boast that all five films in its “American Indies” strand will grace Canadian screens for the first time in Whistler. American Indies include STORY OF A GIRL, the directorial debut from Kyra Sedgwick starring Kevin and Sosie Bacon; THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN starring Bill Pullman directed by Jared Moshe; THE LEARS directed by longtime Whistler Alumnus and Canadian filmmaker Carl Bessai starring Bruce Dern, Sean Astin and Anthony Michael Hall; NEVER HERE directed by Camille Thoman starring the late Sam Shepard in his last performance on screen; and PAINLESS  directed by Jordan Horowitz starring Canadian actor Joey Klein. Other American films include PERMISSION directed by Brian Crano starring Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens and Jason Sudeikis; BERNARD AND HUEY directed by Slamdance Founder Dan Mirvish with the original script written by the legendary Jules Feiffer; and HEAVEN’S FLOOR directed by Lori Stoll based on the true story of a LA photographer who heads to Iqualuit for a shoot. And it’s not just Americans are entrusting WFF with their Canadian premieres. From Hungary, WFF will present Eva Gardos’ Chinatown style film noir set in Budapest during the early years of World War II. BUDAPEST NOIR is the story of an investigator trying to uncover the truth about a prostitute’s murder, though no one around him seems to care.

This year, 20 Canadian films will compete for Canada’s second largest festival prize -Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature. Borsos titles include eight World Premieres featuring work from WFF Alumni including Pat Kiely with SOMEONE ELSE’S WEDDING starring Jacob Tierney, Jessica Paré, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Kevin Zegers, Kathleen Turner and Wallace Shawn; PRODIGALS directed by Michelle Ouellet starring Sara Canning and David Alpay; Jackie English’s first feature BECOMING BURLESQUE about a Muslim woman who turns to burlesque dancing starring Shiva Negar; Gail Harvey’s crime thriller NEVER SAW IT COMING based on the novel by Linwood Barclay; NOBODY FAMOUS directed by Sarah Rotella; plus three features from Vancouver based directors including 8 MINUTES AHEAD by Ben Hoskyn shot over the course of four years in Vancouver and China; THE PRODIGAL DAD, a home-grown sort of Toni Erdmann directed by Robert Wenzek; and THE CANNON directed by WFF Alumni Marshall Axani, who won the inaugural MPPIA Short Film Award.

Canadian premieres in the Borsos competition include Hannah Cheesman and Mackenzie Donaldson’s coming of age story, THE DEFINITES, Daniel DiMarco’s atmospheric character study JUGGERNAUT starring Jack Kesy and Amanda Crew, and the family friendly Christmas story SANTA STOLE OUR DOG: A MERRY DOGGONE CHRISTMAS starring Ed Asner from DIY master Bryan Michael Stoller.

Western Canadian premieres in the Borsos Competition include Carlos and Jason Sanchez’s first time feature A WORTHY COMPANION starring Evan Rachel Wood and Vancouver’s Julia Sarah Stone produced by the TIFF Canadian producers of the year, Luc Déry and Kim McCraw, ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA the original and rhythmic visual buffet from first time director Ian Lagarde, Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley’s drama CARDINALS featuring an unforgettable performance from Sheila McCarthy, Vladimir de Fontenay’s Canada/France co-production MOBILE HOMES starring Imogen Poots, Callum Keith Rennie and Callum Turner, TRENCH 11 an unusual WWI dark thriller starring Rossif Sutherland, the comedic drama VENUS about a man transitioning to a woman, and PORCUPINE LAKE, a beloved coming of age story about two best friends directed by DIY queen Ingrid Veninger. Also screening alongside PORCUPINE LAKE is the making of documentary feature THE OTHER SIDE OF PORCUPINE LAKE directed by Julian Papas.

Other Canadian films screening at the festival out of competition include ANOTHER WOLFCOP directed by Lowell Dean, the hilarious sex comedy A SWINGERS WEEKEND directed by Jonathan Cohen, and the original crime drama ORDINARY DAYS shot in three segments by three directors Jordan Canning, Kris Booth and Renuka Jeyapalan.

In addition to the World Premiere of THE MOMENT which closes the fest, Mountain Culture films include A TO B ROLLERSKI directed by Arnis Aspers about an athlete who “rollerskis” from the Arctic to Baja, DEPTH PERCEPTION the latest brainchild of Travis Rice directed by Chip Taylor and Chris Murphy accompanied by the short series SOMETHING from The Manboys as well as compilation of short mountain based films from some of the industry’s finest athletes and storytellers.

This year’s Doc Bloc competition features a very diverse film line-up. In keeping with the theme of emerging talent, WFF is pleased to present the World Premiere of BECOMING ICONIC, Neal Thibedeau’s incisive look at aspiring New York based director Jonathan Barker’s first feature with Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon and Faye Dunaway, and interviews with such directing legends as Adrian Lyne, John Badham, Jodie Foster and Taylor Hackford about their first time on set as directors. Additional films in this section include WORLD OF DARKNESS, a detailed look at the history and evolution of one the most popular goth lifestyle games of all time, will receive its Canadian Premiere at our fest; and THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ, a probing biodoc of André Leon Talley, former editor of Vogue Magazine, featuring interviews with everyone from Anna Wintour to Tom Ford.

WFF 2017 COMPLETE FEATURE FILM LISTING BY STRAND:

American Indies:

THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN (United States) Dir. Jared Moshe
THE LEARS (Canada, United States) Dir. Carl Bessai
NEVER HERE (United States) Dir. Camille Thoman
PAINLESS (United States) Dir. Jordan Horowitz
STORY OF A GIRL (United States) Dir. Kyra Sedgwick

Canada 150:

ANOTHER WOLFCOP (Canada) Dir. Lowell Dean
FATHER AND GUNS 2 (DE PÉRE EN FLIC 2) (Canada) Dir. Émile Gaudreault
HEAVEN’S FLOOR (Canada, United States) Dir. Lori Stoll
JUGGERNAUT (Canada) Dir. Daniel DiMarco
MOBILE HOMES (Canada, France) Dir. Vladimir de Fontenay
ORDINARY DAYS (Canada) Dir. Jordan Canning, Kris Booth, Renuka Jeyapalan
PORCUPINE LAKE (Canada) Dir. Ingrid Veninger
TRENCH 11 (Canada) Dir. Leo Scherman

Contenders:

THE DARKEST HOUR (United Kingdom) Dir. Joe Wright
THE DISASTER ARTIST (United States) Dir. James Franco
HOCHELAGA, LAND OF SOULS (HOCHELAGA, TERRE DES ÂMES) (Canada) Dir. François Girard
I, TONYA (United States) Dir. Craig Gillespie

The Doc Bloc:

BECOMING ICONIC (United States) Dir. Neal Thibedeau
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRE (United States) Dir. Kate Novack
THE OTHER SIDE OF PORCUPINE LAKE (Canada) Dir. Julian Papas
THERE IS A HOUSE HERE (Canada) Dir. Alan Zweig
WORLD OF DARKNESS (Sweden) Dir. Giles Alderson

Family Feature:

SANTA STOLE OUR DOG: A MERRY DOGGONE CHRISTMAS! (Canada) Dir. Bryan Michael Stoller

First Features:

ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA (Canada) Dir. Ian Lagarde
BECOMING BURLESQUE (Canada) Dir. Jackie English
CARDINALS (Canada) Dir. Aidan Shipley & Grayson Moore
THE DEFINITES (Canada) Dir. Hannah Cheesman & Mackenzie Donaldson

From Overseas:

BUDAPEST NOIR (Hungary) Dir Éva Gárdos
TULIPANI: LOVE, HONOUR, AND A BICYCLE (Canada, Netherlands, Italy) Dir. Mike Van Diem

From The Vault:

THE ROOM (United States) Dir. Tommy Wiseau

Mountain Culture:

A TO B ROLLERSKI (Latvia, United States, Canada, Mexico) Dir. Arnis Aspers
DEPTH PERCEPTION Dir. Chip Taylor & Chris Murphy

Transgressive Tales:

A SWINGER’S WEEKEND (Canada) Dir. Jonathan Cohen
A WORTHY COMPANION (Canada) Dir. Carlos Sanchez & Jason Sanchez
BERNARD AND HUEY (United States) Dir. Dan Mirvish
THE CANNON (Canada) Dir. Marshall Axani
PERMISSION (United States) Dir. Brian Crano
VENUS (Canada) Dir. Eisha Marjara

World Premieres:

8 MINUTES AHEAD (Canada, China) Dir. Ben Hoskyn
NEVER SAW IT COMING (Canada) Dir. Gail Harvey
NOBODY FAMOUS (Canada) Dir. Sarah Rotella
PRODIGALS (Canada) Dir. Michelle Ouellet
THE PRODIGAL DAD (Canada) Dir. Robert Wenzek
SOMEONE ELSE’S WEDDING (Canada) Dir. Pat Kiely

WFF 2017 Feature Films Eligible for the Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature:

A WORTHY COMPANION
ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA
BECOMING BURLESQUE
THE CANNON
CARDINALS
THE DEFINITES
HOCHELAGA, LAND OF SOULS
JUGGERNAUT
MOBILE HOMES
NEVER SAW IT COMING
NOBODY FAMOUS
PORCUPINE LAKE
PRODIGALS
THE PRODIGAL DAD
SANTA STOLE OUR DOG: A MERRY DOGGONE CHRISTMAS
SOMEONE ELSE’S WEDDING
TRENCH 11
TULIPANI: LOVE, HONOUR AND A BICYCLE
VENUS
8 MINUTES AHEAD

 

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