SUGAR DADDY, written by and starring Kelly McCormack and directed by Wendy Morgan
SUGAR DADDY, written by and starring Kelly McCormack and directed by Wendy Morgan

Whistler Film Festival announced the full film lineup of 89 fresh films for its 20th anniversary edition with a hybrid of online and in-theatre offerings.

WFF’s online festival will debut with the World Premiere of SUGAR DADDY, written by and starring Kelly McCormack and directed by Wendy Morgan. SUGAR DADDY is an eye-opening look at an aspiring musician who agrees to provide dinner companionship to older men for money. Colm Feore co-stars in this tour-de-force showcase for McCormack.

The in-theatre offerings will kick off with an extraordinary World Premiere of IN HER CITY, glowingly directed by BC filmmaker Carl Bessai, a long time WFF alumnus and winner of its 2013 Maverick Award. IN HER CITY stars seventeen young actors with diverse backgrounds in a series of engaging short vignettes that will have you itching to see full-length versions of many of the short story ideas introduced in such compelling fashion in this omnibus feature. Set in three cities – Toronto, New York and Los Angeles – IN HER CITY brilliantly captures the pulse of young urban women coping with various challenges in today’s modern world.

”With a particular emphasis on Canadian content creators and distinct and emerging new voices, the Whistler Film Festival continues to fill a valuable niche within the Canadian film festival ecosystem. This year, we’re excited to bring the magic of WFF to a national audience through our online offerings and in-theatre for our regional fans,” says Paul Gratton, WFF’s Director of Programming. “WFF has evolved into a premium showcase for exciting new motion pictures not previously shown at other film festivals. With our strongest lineup ever of Canadian gems to topical American Indies, our 20th edition selections simply crackle with the energy and creativity that result when brand new voices are mixed in with more established filmmakers.”

This year, 15 Canadian films will contend for the five coveted Borsos Competition awards. Titles up for consideration include the World Premieres of AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO HIGH SCHOOL directed by Sophie Harvey, a comedic look at how high school pressures affect less outgoing students; IN HER CITY directed by Carl Bessai; INDIAN ROAD TRIP directed by A.W. Hopkins, a humorous First Nations road trip with scams, hidden loot and all kinds of funny hijinks; MERCY directed by Sam Flamont, about life in a medium-security prison after the shooting of a wounded deer; SUGAR DADDY directed by Wendy Morgan starring and written by Kelly McCormack; and ALL-IN MADONNA directed by Arnold Lim about a young woman learning that her Dad may be a murderer.

National Festival VOD Premieres in the Borsos Competition include Ruth Lawrence’s LITTLE ORPHANS, about three sisters reuniting in Newfoundland for a wedding; Joshua Demers’ QUEBÉXIT, a brilliant political satire about a confrontation between the Canadian Army and a newly formed Quebec army following a surprise declaration of Quebec sovereignty; and THE CORRUPTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE directed by WFF alumnus Jeremy Torrie, a haunting story of a young Metis girl who develops stigmata and the religious fanatics who try to make her their own.

English Canadian premieres in the Borsos Competition include WFF18 alumnus Sophie Dupuis with UNDERGROUND (SOUTERRAIN), an exciting mining disaster movie; Eric Tessier’s YOU WILL REMEMBER ME (TU TE SOUVIENDRAS DE MOI), featuring a career-best performance by beloved Quebec actor Remy Girard as a former professor dealing with Alzheimer’s; Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s GODDESS OF THE FIREFLIES (LA DÉESSE DES MOUCHES À FEU); a disturbing coming-of-age story that will have you worrying about your teenage daughter; Étienne Galloy and Christophe Levac’s THE MARINA (LA MARINA), about wakeboarding and romance during a summer job at a marina; the Canadian premiere of Virginia Abramovich’s BETWEEN WAVES (Canada), an alternate universe romance shot in the Azores; and the Western Canadian premiere of Susan Rodgers’ STILL THE WATER, about a hard-scrabble family visit to PEI, a world of lobster fishing and hockey.

An especially exciting line-up of five documentaries will be shown online this year. Titles include two World Premieres, THE DECLINE, a film about East Vancouver’s growing fentanyl problem directed by Sean Patrick Shaul and Kayvon Saremi; and PAPERMAN (LAFORTUNE SUR PAPIER), an affectionate look at Quebec’s own version of Mr. Rogers, Claude Lafortune, directed by journalist Tanya Lapointe. Canadian Premieres include Julien Temple’s definitive biodoc of Shane MacGowan and The Pogues entitled CROCK OF GOLD and the amazingly breathtaking nature documentary OVERLAND by Elizabeth Haviland James and Revere La Noue about people who train birds of prey, shot on four continents. Finally, dog lovers will not want to miss STRAY, directed by Elizabeth Lo in Istanbul, winner of the Hot Docs International Film Award this year, but shown on a national festival VOD basis for the first time at WFF.

The Films From Away strand includes some of the most topical films this year, torn from today’s headlines, all being shown in Canada for the first time. AMERICAN THIEF is an exciting thriller about cyber hacking of the 2016 Presidential election that deals with Black Lives Matter issues and police brutality, directed by Miguel Silveira. A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL, directed by Aimee Long, deals with a Chinese American cop who accidentally shoots a black youth leading to protests about systemic racism within the police force. SMALL TIME by Niav Conty is a beautifully shot coming of age story of lost innocence set in the devastated narco-rural areas of America, SMALL TOWN WISCONSIN, directed by Niels Mueller, tells of how alcoholism affects a loving father-son relationship. The British film HOW TO STOP A RECURRING DREAM by Edward Morris features a breakout performance by a British actress of color Ruby Baker. Add to this lineup the World Premiere of the haunting Canada/Colombia/San Salvador co-production THE WHISPER OF SILENCE, which deals with coffee bean growing and toxic masculinity, directed by Alfonso Quijada, and you have a stellar line-up of debate-worthy films shot outside of Canada. Two exceptional non-Canadian films will be presented in theatre only this year. NINE DAYS directed by Edson Oda, which took the Sundance Festival by storm, tells the story of unborn souls being interviewed for a chance to have a life on earth. THE LAST VERMEER, directed by Dan Friedkin, tells the true post-WWII story of a Dutch art dealer accused of selling a priceless Vermeer painting to the nazis, and the exciting court case that ensued, with Guy Pearce and Claes Bang.

WFF’s Special Presentations feature some of the strongest titles in this year’s festival. The Canadian/Irish co-production of DEATH OF A LADIES MAN features Gabriel Byrne losing his mind to the music of Leonard Cohen, directed by Matt Bissonette. MARLENE tells the true-life story of Stephen Truscott’s wife who spent her life seeking to legally exonerate her husband for a rape/murder he did not commit, directed with passion by Wendy Hill-Tout. PUPPY LOVE, featuring Hopper Penn, Paz de la Huerta and Rosanna Arquette, directed by Michael Maxxis tells the story of an unusual romance between an autistic young virgin and the drug-using street hooker he falls in love with. EAT WHEATIES, directed by Scott Abramovich features Arrested Development’s Tony Hale as a socially awkward man who obsesses over inviting a celebrity to his college reunion with unexpectedly comic results.

WFF’s ShortWork section includes 57 short films from Canada and around the world curated into ten programs, seven programs of which will be exclusively online, and three of which will also be presented in-theatre. Two Mountain Culture programs and up to 14 shorts created in competition for the Sea to Sky Shorts Showcase will be presented in-theatre, with titles to be announced shortly. A selection of Mountain Culture ShortWork as well as the Sea to Sky Shorts Showcase films will also be available online.

Whistler Film Festival 2020 Feature Film Listing by Strand

Canadian Vanguard

THE CORRUPTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE (Canada) Dir. Jeremy Torrie
GODDESS OF THE FIREFLIES (LA DÉESSE DES MOUCHES À FEU)(Canada) Dir. Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette
UNDERGROUND (SOUTERRAIN) (Canada) Dir. Sophie Dupuis
YOU WILL REMEMBER ME (TU TE SOUVIENDRAS DE MOI) (Canada) Dir. Eric Tessier

Doc Bloc

CROCK OF GOLD: A FEW ROUNDS WITH SHANE MACGOWAN (United Kingdom) Dir. Julien Temple
THE DECLINE (Canada) Dir. Kayvon Saremi & Sean Patrick Shaul
OVERLAND (United States) Dir. Elisabeth James & Revere La Noue
THE PAPER MAN (LAFORTUNE EN PAPIER)(Canada) Dir. Tanya Lapointe
STRAY (United States) Dir. Elizabeth Lo

Films From Away

A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL (United States) Dir. Aimee Long
AMERICAN THIEF (United States) Dir. Miguel Silveira
HOW TO STOP A RECURRING DREAM (United Kingdom) Dir. Edward Morris
THE LAST VERMEER (United States) Dir. Dan Friedkin
NINE DAYS (United States) Dir. Edson Oda
SMALL TIME (United States) Dir. Niav Conty
SMALL TOWN WISCONSIN (United States) Dir. Niels Mueller
THE WHISPER OF SILENCE (EL SUSPIRO DEL SILENCIO) (Canada, Columbia, El Salvador) Dir. Alfonso Quijada

New Voices

ALL-IN MADONNA (Canada) Dir. Arnold Lim
AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO HIGH SCHOOL (Canada) Dir. Sophie Harvey
BETWEEN WAVES (Canada) Dir. Virginia Abramovich
INDIAN ROAD TRIP (Canada) Dir. A.W. Hopkins
LITTLE ORPHANS (Canada) Dir. Ruth Lawrence
THE MARINA (Canada) Dir. Étienne Galloy & Christophe Levac
MERCY (Canada) Dir. Sam Flamont
STILL THE WATER (Canada) Dir. Susan Rodgers
QUEBÉXIT (Canada) Dir. Joshua Demers

Virtual Opening Night Film

SUGAR DADDY (Canada) Dir. Wendy Morgan

In-Theatre Opening Night Film

IN HER CITY (Canada) Dir. Carl Bessai

Special Presentations

EAT WHEATIES! (Canada) Dir. Scott Abramovitch
DEATH OF A LADIES MAN (Canada) Dir. Matt Bissonette
MARLENE (Canada) Dir. Wendy Hill-Tout
PUPPY LOVE (Canada) Dir. Michael Maxxis

WFF 2020 Feature Films Eligible for the Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature

ALL IN MADONNA
AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO HIGHSCHOOL
BETWEEN WAVES
THE CORRUPTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
GODDESS OF THE FIREFLIES (LA DÉESSE DES MOUCHES À FEU)
IN HER CITY
INDIAN ROAD TRIP
LITTLE ORPHANS
THE MARINA
MERCY
QUEBEXIT
STILL THE WATER
SUGAR DADDY
UNDERGROUND-SOUTERRAIN
YOU WILL REMEMBER ME (TU TE SOUVIENDRAS DE MOI)

Whistler Film Festival 2020 Shortwork Films Listing by Premiere Status

World Premiere

AFTER THAT (Canada) Dir. Aerlan Barrett
BOTTLENECK (Canada) Dir. James Weicker
THE DANGER IN FRONT (LE DANGER EN FACE) (Canada) Dir. Alexis Chartrand
DETECTIVE ULTRA (Canada) Dir. Elizabeth Ababio
MUSCLE MEMORY (Canada) Dir. Inda Macias Garcia
ON THE LINE (AU BOUT DU FIL)(Canada) Dir. Marc-André Girard
THE PAINTER FROM NOWHERE (Canada) Dir. Christian Trineer
THE WALKING MAN (Canada) Dir. Anaïsa Visser
VAYU (Iran) Dir. Panahbarkhoda Rezaee
A WINDWARD CALM (Canada) Dir. Bruce Marchfelder

Canadian Premiere

12 000 KM (Russia, Japan, Estonia, Sweden) Dir. Erik Nylander
ASHMINA (UK/Nepal) Dir. Dekel Berenson
THE BATH (LE BAIN) (France, Tunisia) Dir. Anissa Daoud
DAY 1 (USA) Dir. Josh Berman
THE DAY THE ROCKET LEFT (Canada) Dir. Benjamin Macgregor
PELICAN MILKSHAKE (Canada) Dir. Marcus Newman
THE RABBIT HUNTERS (Canada) Dir. Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson
THE SUNDAY CYCLE (Canada) Dir. Jane Bau
TILL MORNING (Canada) Dir. Taea Friesen
UNBROKEN (Canada) Dir. Brandon Wheeler
UNKNOWN BEING (Canada) Dir. Inanna Cusi
WHEN THE NIGHT HAS COME (Canada) Dir. Janice Mingas
YOU WIN USA VACATION RESORT (USA) Dir. Georgia Fu

Western Canadian Premiere

4 NORTH A (Canada) Dir. Jordan Canning, Howie Shia
SINGLE (USA) Dir. Ashley Eakin
AN UNINVITED GUEST (Canada) Dir. Richard B. Pierre
AVERAGE HAPPINESS (Switzerland) Dir. Maja Gehrig
THE BEST ORCHESTRA IN THE WORLD (DAS BESTE ORCHESTER DER WELT) (Austria) Dir. Henning Backhaus
END OF THE ROAD: A DISCOVERY OF SKIING WITHOUT EGO (USA) Dir. Jacob Oster
HEALING BELLS (SOKINAA’S PASSKAAN AASSISSTOI) (Canada) Dir. Taylor Crowspreadshiswings
HELEN (Canada) Dir. Emily-Anne Mikos
INUIT LANGUAGES IN THE 21ST CENTURY (Canada) Dir. Ulivia Uviluk
THE LORD’S DAY (LE JOUR DU SEIGNEUR)(Canada) Dir. Simon Weizineau
MARCH (Canada) Dir. Emily Dickinson
MODERN WHORE (Canada) Dir. Nicole Bazuin
ODEHIMIN (Canada) Dir. Kijâtai-Alexandra Veillette-Cheezo
OUR HEARTS BEAT LIKE WAR (ZCHUHIT BAYAM) (Israel) Dir. Elinor Nechemya
THE QUIETING (Canada) Dir. Ali Liebert
SCARS (Canada) Dir. Alex Anna
SHOOTING STAR (COMME UNE COMÈTE) (Canada) Dir. Ariane Louis-Seize
WASTE AWAY (Canada) Dir. Elly Stern
YOU WILL STILL BE HERE TOMORROW (Canada) Dir. Michael Hanley

British Columbia Premiere

33’ LOT (Canada) Dir. Sarah Genge
BABY BLUE (Canada) Dir. Cindy Hojung Hah
BENJAMIN, BENNY, BEN (Canada) Dir. Paul Shkordoff
BORN FROM JUNK (USA) Dir. Mike Horn, Galin Foley
DA YIE (Ghana/Belgium) Dir. Anthony Nti
FOUND ME (Canada) Dir. David Finlay
MADE IN VOYAGE (USA) Dir. Joey Schusler, Wiley Kaupas
ROLLERBLADIES (Canada) Dir. Rowan Landaiche, Amber Nordstrand

Whistler Premiere

ACROSS THE BRIDGE (Canada) Dir. Alisha Steinberger, Goody (Chao) Wu
BLIND FAITH (Canada) Dir. Graeme Mieklejohn
THE LIGHTHOUSE MAN (Canada) Dir. Matthew Walton
MOTHERLOAD (Canada) Dir. Izzy Lynch, Zoya Lynch
ON FALLING (Canada) Dir. Josephine Anderson
SHAPED BY DESCENT (USA) Dir. Mattias Evangelista
WITHOUT A PADDLE (Canada) Dir. Johan Rosen, Nick Khattar

SEA TO SKY SHORTS SHOWCASE

**Note: Up to 13 short films currently in development

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