10 Must-See Films and Events at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival

The 18th edition of the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) returns this week from November 28 to December 2 to officially kick off the holidays and close out the 2018 festival season. 

Set to open the festival this year is Josie Rourke's MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, starring Oscar®-nominated actresses, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. On the other end closing out the festival will be the Canadian premiere of the surf documentary, MOMENTUM GENERATION, directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist. 

We know the schedule can seem overwhelming with so much to see and do, so we’ve narrowed down the list to give you the top 10 must-see films and events while you’re in the mountains this year. 

Films:

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
*Canadian Premiere*
WFF will mark the Canadian premiere of the highly anticipated new film MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. Two of Hollywood’s hottest young actresses – Margot Robbie (I, TONYA) and Saoirse Ronan (LADY BIRD), both nominated for an acting Oscar® last year (Robbie’s I, TONYA had its western premiere at WFF last year), do a head to head thespian battle in this historical drama that explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan, LADY BIRD). Directed by Josie Rourke (MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING), this is a must on your WFF itinerary!
Showtimes: 
Wednesday, November 28 – 6:30PM at Rainbow Theatre
Wednesday, November 28 – 9:30PM at Rainbow Theatre

UNTOGETHER
*Canadian Premiere*
Emma Forrest’s feature screenwriting and directorial debut UNTOGETHER, is a modern romantic drama starring Jamie Dornan (FIFTY SHADES OF FREY), Alice Eve (BEFORE WE GO), Jemima Kirke (Girls) and Lola Kirke (MISTRESS AMERICA).
Showtimes: 
Saturday, December 1 – 8:30PM at Village 8 Cinemas, Theatre 7
Sunday, December 2 – 10:00AM at Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
*Western Canadian Premiere*
You can’t go to WFF without catching the western Canadian premiere of IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. Barry Jenkins’ first film since winning the Oscar® for Best Picture for MOONLIGHT, this feature is a remarkable and deeply moving adaptation of James Baldwin’s classic novel. The film poignantly encompasses issues of race, injustice and adversity, and yet in spite of these tribulations celebrates love as friends, family and community rally to offer solace and support during the most trying of times.
Showtimes: 
Thursday, November 29 – 6:00PM at Rainbow Theatre
Friday, November 30 – 2:30PM at Rainbow Theatre

SKIN IN THE GAME
*Canadian Premiere*
Alongside HONEY BEE and THIS IS NORTH PRESTON, the issue of human trafficking prevails via a number of thought-provoking angles among this year’s WFF selections. Abducted off the sidewalk of suburban America, 15 year-old Dani finds herself submerged in the horrific underground world of human trafficking. With no initial assistance from the police, Dani's mother and an ex-prostitute take to the streets in an effort to find her before it is too late. Produced by Emmy Award®-winning and Oscar®-nominated producer Howard Barish (13TH), the film was directed by first-time feature filmmaker Adisa. 
Showtimes: 
Saturday, December 1 – 9:00PM at Village 8 Cinemas, Theatre 8
Sunday, December 2 – 12:30PM at Village 8 Cinemas, Theatre 8

ON THE BASIS OF SEX
*Canadian Premiere*
Written by Daniel Stiepleman, honoured at last year’s festival as one of Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch, this is an inspiring story about Ginsburg’s rise through male dominated law schools, her struggles for equal rights, and how she overcame institutionalised sexism to become a US Supreme Court Justice. With a star-studded cast that includes the likes of Felicity Jones (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING), Armie Hammer (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME) and Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), this is a must-see at this year’s festival!
Showtimes: 
Friday, November 30 – 6:00PM at Rainbow Theatre
Saturday, December 1 – 2:30PM at Rainbow Theatre

TYREL
*Western Canadian Premiere*
Directed by Sebastián Silva, TYREL follows Tyrel, a sole black man, attends an otherwise all-white weekend of drunken bro debauchery on a birthday trip to a cabin in the Catskills.
Showtimes: 
Thursday, November 29 – 8:00PM at Village 8 Cinemas, Theatre 6
Friday, November 30 – 1:00PM at Village 8 Cinemas, Theatre 8

Events:

Women on Top Series
At a time when the call for gender parity is more prevalent than ever, WFF is proud to present the second part of its Women on Top Series. Women on Top, an original WFF program, aims to inspire women and men in an environment that promotes networking, learning, and growth around the issues of gender equity and cultural diversity in media, both on screen and behind the scenes. The keynote luncheon will be followed by the Women on Top Workshop themed Making Media Equitable, which will extend the experience by providing further insight into what is happening globally and in Canada to address gender equality and diversity by exploring who is working to implement inclusion and what filmmakers can to do to support the mandate. 

Signature Series Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch 
Saturday, December 1 – 3:30PM at the Mary Young Arts Centre
This year’s honoured screenwriters will share their personal stories and challenges related to succeeding in today’s film industry at an afternoon conversation hosted by Canadian broadcast veteran George Stroumboulopoulos.
Variety’s class of 2018 screenwriters and notable credits include:

  • Joe Robert Cole, “Black Panther”

  • Bryan Woods & Scott Beck, “A Quiet Place”

  • Ashleigh Powell, “The Nutcracker and The Four Realms”

  • Jay Longino, “Uncle Drew”

  • Elizabeth Chomko, “What They Had”

  • Sofia Alvarez, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”

  • Christy Hall, “Daddio”

  • Jac Schaeffer, “The Hustle”

  • Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster “You Are My Friend”

  • Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz, “BlacKkKlansman”


Follow the Money 
Thursday, November 29 - 11:00AM at the Garibaldi, Whistler Conference Centre
You have a story you are excited to tell, but what is the best route to financing your vision? We know that an A-list cast is always important, but what other elements can help to attract investors to your project? Hear from traditional and non-traditional funders and financiers about what it takes to secure the money.
Panelists: 
Stephanie Azam – Feature Film Executive, English-language MarketTelefilm Canada
Howard Barish – Executive Producer / President, Kandoo Films, Inc.
Mehernaz Lentin – Senior Director, CBC Films / CBC English Services
William Santor – CEO, Productivity Media Inc.

Doc Talk: Creative Financing 
Sunday, December 2 – 3:00PM at the Whistler Arts Centre
Financing feature documentaries can be a complex process to navigate. From more traditional funding agencies to innovative digital-based models, explore your options as we discuss a variety of ways to take your project from the page to the screen.
Panelists: 
Don Young – President, Those Canadians Media Group
Paula Froehle – CEO, Chicago Media Project
Steve Cohen – Co-Founder & Board Chair, Chicago Media Project
Robin Mirsky – Executive Director, Roger Group of Funds

Jenny Bloom