This year, there are generous doses of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll in the film lineup of the 12th edition of the Whistler Film Festival. Well, to put it more accurately, sex, horror, and rock 'n' roll.
The WFF, which runs from November 28 to December 2, unveiled its list of films today (November 1), with some new elements that will broaden the appeal of the festival.
Music films have been a strong component at WFF in the past, and this year is no different. Two selections are world premieres.
Canadian director John Barnard's documentary The Sheepdogs Have At It chronicles the rise of Saskatchewan rock band The Sheepdogs from obscurity to the cover of Rolling Stone. (The film closes the festival.) Meanwhile, iconic Canadian singer-songwriter and activist Bruce Cockburn gets profiled in Bruce Cockburn Pacing the Cage.
There's also Hit 'N Strum, starring and directed by Vancouverite Kirk Caouette. Worlds literally collide in this urban musical, when a 30-something businesswoman commits a hit-and-run but later befriends her victim: a talented but homeless street busker.
As for sex (for those of you who are into that sort of thing), there's My Awkward Sexual Adventure. This Canadian sex comedy follows a heartbroken accountant who, dumped for his sexual inadequacies, embarks upon a mission to improve his skills in bed. His seeks help from a stripper, who he, in turn, promises to provide financial expertise to help her get out of debt.
And since we've already met the Fockers, it's time to Meet the Fokkens, a documentary about identical twins in Amsterdam who have been sex workers for over 50 years, set up their own brothel, and established the first informal trade union for prostitutes.
There's also Fair Sex (Les Manèges Humains), a faux documentary about how a 25-year-old woman contends with the sexual implications of the genital mutilation she experienced as a child in Africa.
Quebec titles figure prominently, including some of the province's top grossing films. There's Driving to the Edge (Dérapages), a documentary investigating the reasons for drinking and driving accidents among 16 to 24 year olds; Omertà, a crime thriller based on director Luc Dionne's TV series; and Mars et Avril, a visually striking sci-fi film, set in Montreal, about a musician and an instrument maker who fall for the same woman on the way to Mars.
Karen Cho's NFB documentary Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada takes a look at the state of women's rights in Canada. The film joins several other Canadian films making their world premieres: Jason Bourque's Bird Co. Media, David Hicks' Big Hairy Movie, and David Mortin's Mad Ship (in addition to previously mentioned titles).
Other Canadian content includes Michael McGowan's Still. This opening night film is based on the true story of an 88-year-old man who fights New Brunswick bureaucracy in order to build a home suitable for his wife suffering from Alzheimer's.
There are also some new film programs that will pique the interest of audiences who may have not previously attended the festival.
New this year is the Late Night Terrorfest, which will include American Mary by Vancouver directors Jen and Syliva Soska, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh by Toronto's Rodrigo Gudino, and the 1970 Mexican western El Topo by Alejandro Jodorowsky.
There are also four family-friendly animated features in the new GKids Showcase series.
Also of note are Michael Apted's 56Up, the latest installation in the 7 Up British documentary series, and Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law.
For more details about the festival, as well as the Whistler Summit industry conference, visit the WFF website.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.