The Whistler Film Festival is like the Sundance of Canada – at least it’s en route. What a great opportunity to participate in a festival, spearheaded by Paul Gratton, that goes the extra mile to champion Canadian films and filmmakers. Notably, the Borsos competition established in 2004 to honour Canadian filmmaker Philip Borso, showcased impressive Canadian talent. This year director Maxime Giroux won for Felix and Meira. Other standout Canadian films for me were Bang Bang Baby (dir. Jeffrey St. Jules) and The Future Perfect (dir. Nick Citton). This year I had the privilege of attending the full Festival, including the Summit.
With thanks to WIFTV’s marketing mentorship program, I had the great opportunity to be mentored by Elizabeth Yake, a most exceptional producer, whose knowledge and credibility translated into practical advice regarding who to talk to and what to say. Key for me was to not over-deliver. In my opinion, WFF is a time to meet people in a contained, relaxed environment that is conducive to conversation; thus providing a real opportunity to meet peers and gauge whether or not the chemistry is right for an idea love affair that may lead into a lasting film or other media production.
There was a strong emphasis on co-productions, especially with China and India, paired with discussion regarding alternative financing and distribution models in 2.0+ culture. MEI Group announced a rocking new initiative whereby as of March 2015, Landmark cinemas will feature Canadian indie films on the first Wednesday of every month. Throughout the summit, Women In Film and Television Vancouver were well represented. We are lucky to have such a diverse talent range and high-experience level of powerhouse Board Members.
Thank you to the Board, especially president Carleen Kyle and Executive Director Carolyn Combs, as well as Angie Nolan, from the Whistler Film Festival, for creating the mentorship program. I encourage other filmmakers and WIFTV members to apply next year.
By Kirsten Carthew
Kirsten Carthew is a writer, director and producer based out of Yellowknife, NWT. She creates projects for science fiction and thriller genres. She provided social media updates from the Whistler Film Festival as this year’s recipient of the WIFTV-WFF Film Market Preparation Mentorship Award. Follow her on Twitter as @kirstencarthew.