Hugh Hefner's After Dark: Speaking Out in America
Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America

With just 12 weeks to go until its 18th edition, the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) confirmed the first films plus the BC talent that will be honored at Almost WFF, its’ annual benefit in Vancouver. From November 28th to December 2nd, the Whistler Film Festival will welcome both fans and filmmakers to experience fresh films, special guests, epic events, unique industry and talent programs.

Top lining this year’s Canadian titles are selections from past WFF Alumni, three of which are eligible for WFF’s coveted Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature which offers a $15,000 cash prize presented by the Directors Guild of Canada, British Columbia.

First six films that will be playing at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival (WFF):

AN AUDIENCE OF CHAIRS (2018, Canada, Western Canadian Premiere) – directed by Deanne Foley (RELATIVE HAPPINESS screened WFF14) A concert pianist on a rural retreat has to deal with mental health issues and how it may affect the custody of her two children. A deeply moving story of artistic talent, motherly love and psychological imbalance all leading up to an emotionally shattering resolution.

FALLS AROUND HER (2018, Canada, Western Canadian Premiere) – Directed by Darlene Naponse and starring WFF Alumnus Tantoo Cardinal, who gives the performance of her career as a First Nations singer who decides to return to the reservation to rekindle her creative batteries and extricate herself from an abusive relationship. A beautiful depiction of how the land and community can help heal the soul.

FUCK YOU ALL – THE UWE BOLL STORY (2018, Canada, World Premiere) – Directed by Sean Patrick Shaul, this no-holds barred, warts and all documentary features one of BC’s most controversial filmmakers Uwe Boll (TUNNEL RATS screened at WFF in 2008). Considered by some to be the world’s worst directors, the feisty but now retired film entrepreneur, who once publicly boxed a number of film critics who did not like his movies, is still refusing to take guff from any of his detractors.

HUGH HEFNER’S AFTER DARK: SPEAKING OUT IN AMERICA (2018, USA, Canadian Premiere) – Academy Award winning Brigitte Berman’s follow-up to 2009’s HUGH HEFNER: PLAYBOY, ACTIVIST, AND REBEL (WFF, 2009) focuses on the treasure trove of archival footage derived from Playboy’s two groundbreaking late night syndicated TV series (Playboy’s Penthouse and Playboy After Dark) and features unforgettable performances by Sammy Davis Jr., Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Lenny Bruce and Smokey Robinson among many others. A time capsule through the racial and political times of the progressive 60s.

MAN RUNNING (2018, Canada, BC Premiere) – Director Gary Burns, who is arguably one of Western Canada’s most important filmmakers ever since his breakout film WAYDOWNTOWN (WFF 2001), new film is set during a running marathon in the Kananaskis region. A doctor in questionable health questions his life and the decisions he made in the area of assisted suicide. An existential trek through the beautiful Rockies.

THE GREAT DARKENED DAYS (2018, Canada, Western Canadian Premiere) – From director Maxime Giroux, winner of WFF’s Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature for FELIX ET MEIRA (WFF 2014), comes a completely new and exciting road movie about a Chaplinesque vagabond who walks and hitchhikes across a sometimes bleak rural American landscape, while learning that it is not safe for him to return home to Quebec.

WFF will shine the spotlight on five honorees at the event:

Industry Impact Award: UBCP/ACTRA

WFF’s Industry Impact Award recognizes an organization whose contributions have led to the success of their members, their partners and the British Columbia Film and TV industry as a whole, and whose support in the community continues to put the province on the map. UBCP/ACTRA has been a partner of WFF since 2005 and has supported our Stars to Watch talent program, an immersion experience for four UBCP/ACTRA member actors poised for international recognition with features premiering at the festival, since 2015. WFF will honour UBCP/ACTRA for its ongoing support of the industry in BC and the WFF Stars to Watch program, which collectively have been vital to their ongoing success.

BC Woman on Top Award: Marie Clements

WFF’s BC Woman on Top Award highlights a woman who has created her own niche in the film and media landscape while supporting and encouraging creators in the BC Industry. Marie Clements (WFF 2011) has ignited her brand of artistry within a variety of mediums including film, TV radio, new media and live performance. Marie wrote and directed THE ROAD FORWARD, a feature music-doc that premiered at Hot Docs and opened the 2017 DOXA Documentary Film Festival. The film received five Leo Awards including Best Production, Best, Director, and Best Screenwriter. THE ROAD FORWARD has screened at over 100 venues in North America, also receiving a Best Director Award at the North American Indian Festival in San Francisco, as well as a Writer’s Guild Nomination for Best Documentary Screenplay in 2018. Her documentary LOOKING AT EDWARD CURTIS premiered at DOXA and The Yorkton Film Festival this spring and will broadcast on Knowledge Network this Summer. She is currently in post production for her feature drama, RED SNOW, a WIDC feature film award winner due to release in 2019. A multi-award-winner for her previous work, Marie Clements’ films have screened at Cannes, TIFF, MOMA, VIFF, Whistler Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival and imagineNATIVE Film Festival. MCM is an independent media production company owned and operated by Clements specializing in the development, creation and production of innovative works of media that explore an Indigenous and intercultural reality.

BC Creates Award: Amber Ripley

WFF’s BC Creates Award celebrates independent producers in the BC Film and TV industry who continue to nurture, create and or produce in the province. Amber Ripley was a finalist for the MPPIA Short Film Award at WFF in 2011 with her short film Mermaid in a Jar. She recently produced the comedy-horror DEAD SHACK, the debut feature from Peter Ricq, one-half of the Juno-nominated band Humans (WFF 2014), who also composed the score for the film. Ricq penned the script along with Philippe Ivanusic and Davila LeBlanc, the co-creators of the award-winning animated TV series “The League of Super Evil.”. Currently, Amber is producing I’M NOT A BAD PERSON, the sophomore effort of the team behind the award-winning film VIOLENT, and Bruce McDonald’s DREAMLAND, a noir thriller that is an international co-production shooting in Luxembourg and Belgium.

WFF Talent to Watch: Lawrence Le Lam

WFF’s Talent to Watch Award recognizes a BC filmmaker or actor on a trajectory for success. Lawrence Le Lam is an award-winning filmmaker from Richmond, who loves exploring underground worlds. His short film, The Blue Jet, about a rebellious radio DJ broadcasting banned rock & roll in 1970s Taiwan premiered at Festival Du Nouveau Cinéma 2015, and has screened at festivals all around the world. It has won many awards including Best Student Production (Whistler Film Festival / Leo Awards 2016), and Best in Canada at the Toronto Shorts International Film Festival. His last short, Cypher, explores the conflict between the Korean and Black communities in LA during the 90s through the underground hip hop scene. Lawrence was a part of the TIFF Talent Lab program in 2017. He has also directed and co-wrote a feature documentary about the social enterprise movement, NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL which premiered at the Chicago Social Change Film Festival, and continues to spread online and in classrooms for free, accumulating more than 100,000 views. Lawrence is currently working as a co-director and editor on Ying Wang’s conspiracy thriller feature docudrama, THE BOY WITH A GUITAR. His next project, and first narrative feature, currently titled HONGCOUVER will explore the world of real estate, wealth migration, and ultra rich Chinese kids with luxury cars.

Industry Toast: Angie Nolan

Angie Nolan has been involved with the Whistler Film Festival since its inception and has worked in WFF’s Industry Programming since 2004. She most recently acted as Director of Industry Programming, overseeing all of WFF’s industry, project development and talent programs associated with the Whistler Film Festival and Summit. Angie recently moved on from WFF to work on her own creative projects. To recognize her commitment to WFF and passion for our industry and talent programs that she helped to create and nurture over the years, WFF will honor her with our Industry Toast Award.

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