Whistler Film Fest Looking Towards China

Festivals
by Peter Belsito
October 22, 2013 8:30 AM
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Whistler Film Festival in BC runs from December 4 to 8, 2013, and filmmakers and deal-makers from Los Angeles, China and Canada will meet there at the Whistler Film Festival’s annual industry Summit to talk about cross border distribution and commerce. One of the many advantages of WFF’s Summit is the intimate environment in which executives and filmmakers network and forge relationships. Whether it is at a panel discussion, a reception or strolling through the village, Whistler offers an unparalleled opportunity for gaining access to the people you need to talk to – and with this years roster of industry elite, it’s an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

“Drawing on the expertise of this years VIP guests, the Summit is structured around the theme of bringing your films to market, and is designed to provide filmmakers and producers with the necessary tools to succeed both within and beyond Canada’s borders,” said Paul Gratton, WFF’s Director of Programming. “Our second annual China Canada Gateway for Film Script Competition will provide insight into what works when considering a possible co-production with China. Similarly, this year's Crossing Borders program focuses on film distribution in Canada, specifically addressing what the EOne acquisition of Alliance means to Canadian players.”

On December 5th, WFF’s Summit kicks off with the second annual China Canada Gateway for Film® Script Competition, a dynamic pitching competition designed to stimulate international financing for Canadian creators to participate in a China Canada co-production. The competition introduces experienced writer/producer teams to Chinese studios with production financing on the table for three selected projects. The selected teams, international panel of experts and three Chinese production companies will be announced at the end of October.

On December 6th, the Summit’s Crossing Borders program will address all things distribution from big screen success to small screen solutions, attracting the most influential players in the industry.

The New Distribution panel will reveal how the vacuum in the Canadian distribution sector is quickly being filled up by aggressive new players such as Pacific Northwest Pictures and Indiecan, and how more established companies such as Kinosmith and Phase Four Films are stepping up to the plate. Attendees will learn about the new distributors, what they are looking for, and how and when to best approach them with their next film project. Guests include: Emily Alden, VP of Production & Development, Pacific Northwest Pictures;
Robin Smith, Founder & President, Kinosmith; and Berry Meyerowitz, President & CEO, Phase 4 Films Inc.

The Alternative Distribution panel will speak to new ways of getting films to the big screen, or any screen for that matter. At a time when digital technology is allowing more and more films to get made than ever before, the challenge still remains on how to get these films to market. With alternative distributors speaking from both the US and Canadian perspective, attendees will find out from the pros how to get films seen and generating revenue no matter what side of the border you live on. Guests include: J. Joly, Founder & CEO, CineCoup; 
Bill Bromiley, Chief Acquisitions Officer, Image, RLJ Entertainment; and Avi Federgreen, CEO, IndieCan Entertainment.

Hussain Amarshi, President & Founder of Mongrel Media
The What’s Up Docs panel will be moderated by Sturla Gunnarsson, director of numerous award-winning docs and of Ice Soldiers, which is receiving its world premiere at WFF. Featuring notable documentary filmmakers, the panel will address financing and distribution options for feature length documentaries at a time when most of the programming slots for so-called "one-offs" have disappeared from television screens to make way for reality programs. Guests include: Barry Avrich, Director, Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story; and Lucy Walker, Director, Crash Reel, with others to be announced with WFF’s lineup.

Hussain Amarshi, President & Founder of Mongrel Media, will deliver a keynote address entitled The Best of Times, The Worst of Times - Reflections on 20 Years of Film Distribution at WFF’s annual invitation only Filmmaker Luncheon.

Summit highlight In Conversation: A View From The Top moderated by Variety’s VP & Executive Editor, Steven Gaydos features Canada’s distribution and exhibition leaders including eOne, Cineplex and Bell Media who will discuss consolidation in the media and debate the pros and cons their companies' dominant positions bring to their respective sectors (theatrical distribution, theatrical exhibition, and television exhibition) in Canada. Guests include: Patrice Theroux, President, Global Filmed Entertainment, Executive Director of Entertainment One Ltd.; Michael Kennedy, Vice-President of Filmed Entertainment, Cineplex; and Kevin Goldstein, VP Regulatory Affairs Bell Media Inc.

Registered filmmakers and producers with industry experience and production credits will also have the opportunity to sign up for high-level one-on-one meetings to pitch their projects to commissioning editors, sales agents, distributors and other key execs attending the Festival.

On December 7th, WFF’s ShortWork Lab returns to empower the next generation of storytellers, providing filmmakers firsthand insight into the world of narrative short-form storytelling. Emerging filmmakers are invited to participate in this full day of panel discussions, pitches, networking and screenings with filmmakers and industry experts.

WFF’s Summit industry schedule is now available at www.whistlerfilmfestival.com . The Festival’s online box office is open for early bird industry registration and festival passes until October 31st. The Festival lineup and film schedule will be available online on November 4th.

For more information, go to www.whistlerfilmfestival.com .

The Whistler Film Festival is supported by Telefilm Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the Resort Municipality of Whistler. Bell Media (CTV, Etalk, E!) is WFF’s lead partner. WFF is sponsored by Variety, Transcontinental Media (ELLE Canada), the Directors Guild of Canada - British Columbia, American Airlines, Sorel, Christie, Zoom Audio Visual Networks, Promosa Management, Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb and the Westin Resort & Spa Whistler.

The Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) is a cultural charitable organization dedicated to furthering the art of film by providing programs that focus on the discovery, development and promotion of new talent culminating with a must attend festival for artists, the industry and audiences in Whistler. WFFS produces one of Canada’s leading film festivals and plays a leadership role in offering professional and project development programs for filmmakers.

Whistler is Canada’s premier, year-round destination located in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and just two hours north of Vancouver. Consistently ranked the number one mountain resort in North America, Whistler features two majestic mountains, epic skiing and snowboarding conditions, four championship golf courses, more than 200 shops, 90 restaurants and bars, accommodations galore, hiking trails, spas and arguably the best mountain bike park in the world. In short, Whistler has everything you will ever need to have the time of your life - and so much more.

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