Whistler Film Festival announces highlights, nominees, and jury members
– by Elana Shepert
The 12th Annual Whistler Film Festival has announced its nominees, as well as a star-studded array of attendees.
The event takes place from Nov 28-Dec 2 on the slopes of one of B.C.’s premier alpine destinations. The Whistler Film Festival Society plays a leading role in the development and production of Canadian film and new talent through charitable support, which culminates in the annual year-end festival. This year’s theme: prepare to be inspired.
The spotlight is on Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. On Nov 30, the fest will honour the British actor’s career, which includes a return to London’s infamous West End Stage in The Cripple of Inishmaan, as well three hotly awaited films. In Kill Your Darlings, which dramatizes a murder that purportedly ignited the Beat movement, he portrays a young Allen Ginsberg. He also costars with the adorable Zoe Kazan in the romantic comedy The F Word, and is currently filming an adaptation of Joe Hill‘s novel Horns in Vancouver.
Besides honouring Radcliffe, this year’s WFF will present its annual Trailblazer Award for Acting and Scriptwriting to Rashida Jones, for showcasing her aptitude in both comedic and dramatic roles, as well as establishing herself as one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming screenwriting talents. Variety’s Executive Editor Steven Gaydos will present the honor on Nov 29. Afterward, the film fest will screen Celeste and Jesse Forever, a 2012 romantic comedy co-written and co-starring Jones. Actor and co-writer Will McCormack will attend the screening and join in the evening’s discussion.
In addition to saluting Jones, the WFF will present the Trailblazer in Animation Award to Eric Beckman, founder and CEO of New York-based indie GKIDS. His company is responsible for distributing alternative and intelligent non-studio animated fare world-wide, including Francois Laguionie’s The Painting, which the fest screens Dec 1.
As well as granting individual honours, the Whistler Film Fest hosts Variety’s 10 Best Screenwriters to Watch, presented by Amazon Studios and Variety. Screenwriters include Kate Dippold (The Heat), Patrick Aison (Wunderkind), Reid Carolin (Magic Mike), Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph (Draft Day), Ted Melfi (St Vincent De Van Nuys), Derek Connolly (Safety Not Guaranteed), Bill Dubuque (The Judge), Chris Terrio (Argo), Kelly Marcel (50 Shades of Grey), and Ken Scott (Starbuck). On Dec 1, attending screenwriters will share their personal experiences in film, and discuss their challenges in the current film market. On Dec 2 Variety will present the screenwriters with an award at the WFF Awards Brunch.
Lastly, eight films will compete for the prestigious $15,000 Phillip Borsos Award for best Canadian feature. It is the second largest cash prize in Canadian film after the Toronto International Film Festival’s award for best feature, and the jury includes acclaimed actor/director Helen Shaver, producer Martin Katz, and actors Rachelle Lefevre (Omerta, Barney’s Vision) and Liane Balaban (One Week).