(This article is sponsored by Tourism Whistler.)
When thinking about Whistler, traversing the Peak to Creek, relaxing at the Scandinave Spa, and après ski at Bar Oso come to mind for many. But the world-class mountain resort is also known for bringing film enthusiasts together every year at the highly anticipated Whistler Film Festival (WFF).
From December 1 to 5, Whistler will be welcoming visitors in person to attend Canada’s coolest film festival. Following a completely virtual festival in 2020, the upcoming edition will take a hybrid format with a combination of online and in-theatre programming.
The dynamic event will once again connect audiences and filmmakers through premiere screenings, live and virtual discussions with top talent, and summits. It’s also an incredible networking opportunity for those working within the field. Industry pass holders can expect up to three panel sessions a day, the Power Pitch Competition, an industry lounge for filmmakers to connect, and networking receptions.
Cinephiles can take delight in 40 feature films and 41 shorts in-theatre, including several Oscar contenders, breakthrough Canadian films, and award-winning stories from around the globe.
On December 1, the festival will open with a screening of a brilliant first-time feature The Lost Daughter, written and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. The psychological drama stars Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, and Ed Harris.
Western slow-burn The Power of the Dog stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, and Kirsten Dunst. The drama tells the story of a successful rancher and his turbulent relationship with his brother.
Other compelling feature films like Altar Boy, Buried, Precious Leader Woman, Drinkwater, and Jockey will capture the attention of audiences. For the full festival lineup, click here.
The WFF gives attendees the opportunity to discover other cultures, admire filmmakers’ unique craftsmanship, and hear a rich diversity of voices. While the famous actors always attract plenty of attention, this year’s event focuses on showcasing unique indie films produced by up-and-coming filmmakers.
What’s even more impressive is that the WFF has achieved gender parity in its 2021 lineup, supporting emerging, diverse, and domestic talent. The five-day event will showcase 17 first-time feature films, with 56 percent of all the movies directed or codirected by women. This includes 50 percent of the features and 61 percent of the shorts.
The WFF continues the conversation on gender parity, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the screen industry with the 5th annual Women in Focus series. The series will kick off on December 3 with WFF’s keynote event, a Fireside Chat, featuring Vernā Myers, vice president of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix and Prem Gill, CEO of Creative BC. This event takes a look at the diversity and inclusion work being done at Netflix and around the world.
After attending an in-theatre screening or special guest discussion, visitors can explore Whistler’s snowy village, snowshoe trails, cafés, and restaurants. You don’t have to be an avid skier or snowboarder to enjoy winter at the resort. But film lovers who double as adrenaline junkies should definitely take advantage of the 200-plus ski and snowboard runs found on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
The Scandinave Spa Whistler can help festival goers recharge their batteries after attending dozens of lively cinematic events. The spa is most famous for its outdoor baths filled with steaming turquoise water, nestled among trees often cloaked in snow.
The village also has a flourishing arts and culture scene, and is home to the Audain Art Museum, Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, and Whistler Museum.
Visit www.whistler.com/filmfest/ to learn more and book a trip to Whistler for the Whistler Film Festival from December 1 to 5. You can stay three nights from $189 per night and receive a free $100 retail voucher for use at participating stores in Whistler.