Whistler Film Festival and Vancouver Asian Film Festival announce leadership changes

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      Here's a summary of some changes in leadership that are taking place at B.C. film festivals, as well as details about a new filmmaking competition.

      Meanwhile, the Vancouver International Film Festival, with interim executive director Kyle Fostner, will conclude on Wednesday (October 7) with the closing gala screening of the France-Beglium coproduction Delete History.

      Whistler Film Festival

      The founder of the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has decided to step down from the helm of the annual cinematic celebration at the B.C. skiing destination.

      The festival announced on October 5 that Shauna Mishaw Hardy, who founded WFF in 2001, is resigning from her position as executive director, which she has held since the the festival’s inception, and will pursue other opportunities.

      However, she will remain on as part of the festival’s board of directors and will serve as interim development director, with a focus on revenue generation and development activities, for the 2020 festival.

      Hardy Mishaw was recognized for her work in the 2019 Variety International Women’s Impact Report; received the 2014 Women of the Year Award and 2009 Wayne Black Service Award from Women in Film and Television Vancouver; and received the 2008 Whistler Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year.

      She also executive produced 22 short films commissioned for WFF’s Whistler Stories legacy project from 2005 to 2010 for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

      Angela Heck, recently promoted to managing director, will lead the organization through the forthcoming festival, which will be held online this year from December 1 to 20, and will include screenings held in cinemas.

      In addition, to mark the 20th anniversary of the festival, WFF is launching the Sea to Sky Shorts Showcase, a new regional filmmaking competition that will present a $2,000 award to an outstanding short film made in and shot by filmmakers from the Sea to Sky region, which spans from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish and Whistler to the Pemberton Valley, including Birken and D’Arcy. 

      Filmmakers are invited to make pitches, from which 20 projects will be chosen to be made for a five-minute film in 20 days.

      The films will be presented online during the WFF 2020 edition, and the winner will be announced at the WFF awards ceremony on December 20.

      Applications open today (October 6) with a deadline of October 18. Full details are available at the WFF website.

      Vancouver Asian Film Festival

      In other recent changes at local film festivals, the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) announced that Susan Hanson will become its new festival director, as of February.

      Hanson, who immigrated to Canada from Seoul, South Korea, and has worked as an English-Korean interpreter, will take over from current festival director Lynne Lee, and she will help to foster the festival’s growth internationally.

      Other new appointments at VAFF include Loucia Ho as marketing director, Rakesh George as sponsorship director, and Japan-based Maggie Lee (who has served as programming consultant for the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival) as consulting curator.

      The 24th annual festival will be held online this year from October 31 to November 8, with full details to be revealed this week.