WFF 2020 heads online

Credit_ Tourism Whistler_Mike Crane
'Canada's Coolest Film Fest' is currently exploring ways to combine its virtual aspects with plans for an adapted local five-day physical edition.

The Whistler Film Festival (WFF), known as ‘Canada’s Coolest Film Fest,’ has warmed to an online festival environment.

Running from Dec. 1 to 20, the festival’s upcoming 20th edition will take place as an online experience featuring film premieres, interactive conversations with filmmakers and talent “and industry initiatives all scheduled for streaming convenience,” according to a release.

“In a year of unprecedented change we will mark our 20th anniversary by doing what we do best – building bridges between great films and passionate audiences, celebrating the success of our alumni and supporting domestic talent to advance their work,” said WFF executive director and founder Shauna Hardy Mishaw in a statement.

Notably, as part of the festival’s plans for this year, WFF also announced that it is exploring ways to combine its virtual offerings with socially distanced physical screenings over the course of five days, premiering its full slate of films for its regional audience from Dec. 2 to 6. The festival noted that these screenings would be contingent on B.C.’s reopening framework in order to meet public health guidelines.

All told, WFF’s upcoming 2020 lineup is set to feature up to 30 new feature films and five short film programs, according to a release, down significantly from last year’s recorded 86 presentations which were split between 43 features and 43 shorts from 15 countries. Programming is set to be unveiled this September.

The festival also said it will present a Sea to Sky Short Showcase in an effort to celebrate B.C.; hold its annual awards celebration online on Dec. 6; welcome 20 celebrated filmmakers and actors to help mark its 20th anniversary; and see both its Content Summit and Talent Programs delivered virtually.

WFF’s Content Summit is expected to take place online over the festival’s three-week period, offering information sessions, workshops, masterclasses as well as virtual networking opportunities and one-on-one meetings. Meanwhile, WFF’s 11 talent programs will roll out in October to give talent the opportunity to fully participate in the festival and summit. Both WFF’s Screenwriters Lab and Producers Lab kicked off last month.

Every year WFF welcomes over 16,000 film buffs. Notably, some of last year’s selections included Lost Transmissions starring Simon Pegg, director Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Spinster with Chelsea Peretti and Canadian Screen Award Best Motion Picture and Adapted Screenplay winner Antigone, which picked up best Canadian feature, best director and best screenplay at the festival.

Image credit: Tourism Whistler