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Drinkwater directed by Stephen Campanelli
Drinkwater directed by Stephen Campanelli

The winner of the 2021 Whistler Film Festival (WFF) Audience Award is Drinkwater, directed by Stephen Campanelli, which received its National Festival VOD Premiere at the 21st edition of the festival.

Drinkwater is a refreshingly upbeat and funny coming-of-age story shot in Penticton, British Columbia. The most unapologetically Canadian film at the fest, it includes a Zamboni, an extended Tim Horton’s drive-through scene, a subplot about a Wayne Gretzky rookie card, and the sounds of classic Canadian rockers from Doug and the Slugs to Loverboy. Drinkwater features Canadian actor Eric McCormack, who received the WFF Trailblazer Award, and stars Daniel Doheny and Louriza Tronco.

“Drinkwater was not only popular with our Whistler in-theatre audiences, but positive word of mouth resulted in it becoming our most popular film online as well. An unabashedly Canadian comedy is exactly what WFF audiences are in the mood for,” said Paul Gratton, WFF Director of Film Programming. “It is fantastic to see this kind of support for a made-in-BC feature.”

The WFF Audience Award runner-up is Buried, directed by Jared Drake and Steven Siig, which had its Whistler Theatrical Premiere at the fest. It also received the Best Mountain Culture Film Award. Buried recounts the gripping, tragic tale of the search for missing bodies and a godly Ski Patrol crew after Alpine Meadows Resort is hit by the monster of all avalanches.

“Our runner-up, Buried was a clear favorite with a theme that resonated with our Whistler and online audiences in its intensity and drama and telling of a mountain story,” added Gratton.

WFF 2021 Award Winners

Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature Film – CINEMA OF SLEEP, directed by Jeffrey St. Jules and produced by Sami Tesfazghi

Best Director of a Borsos Competition Film sponsored by Directors Guild of Canada, BC – Luc Picard for CONFESSIONS OF A HITMAN

Best Screenplay of a Borsos Competition Film – Sarah Fortin for NOUVEAU QUEBEC

Best Performance in a Borsos Competition Film – Dayo Ade in CINEMA OF SLEEP with an honorable mention to Getenesh Berhe in CINEMA OF SLEEP

Best Cinematography in a Borsos Competition Film Presented by ICG 669 – Diego Guijarro for CARMEN

World Documentary Award – POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHE directed by Celeste Bell and Paul Sng

Best Mountain Culture Film – BURIED directed by Jared Drake and Steven Siig, with an honorable mention to PRECIOUS LEADER WOMAN directed by Cassie De Colling

Just Watch Us: Best BC Director Award – Cassie De Colling for PRECIOUS LEADER WOMAN

Canadian ShortWork Award – “Angakusajaujuq – The Shaman’s Apprentice,” directed by Zacharias Kunuk

International ShortWork Award – “Isole Ciclope” directed by Ryan De Franco and Matthew Mendelson

BC Student ShortWork Award – “A Family Act” directed by Ashley Yeung

AWFJ EDA Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature Award – NOUVEAU QUEBEC directed by Sarah Fortin

AWFJ EDA Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature Award – $AVVY directed by Robin Hauser

AWFJ EDA Best Female-Directed Short Film Award – “Fanmi” directed by Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers and Carmine Pierre-Dufour

Power Pitch Competition – Christina Saliba won the WFF Power Pitch Competition with her project WHITE NOISE

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