Whistler Film Festival – in person Nov 30 to Dec 4, and online Dec 5 to Jan 3, 2023
Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced the full lineup for its 22nd edition taking place in-person from November 30, to December 4 2022 in Whistler, BC, and online from December 5 to January 2, 2023.
Selected from over 2,000 submissions, the lineup includes 86 bold and inspiring films curated into nine program strands. There are 41 features and 45 shorts from 19 different countries, including award-season contenders, new breakthrough Canadian features, heart-stopping extreme adventure films, and previously unseen projects from around the globe.
WFF is known for its commitment to Canadian artists and is once again thrilled to showcase the rich diversity of perspectives and talent with 13 first-time features, and by dedicating 66% of its programming to premiering Canadian features. The lineup also proudly includes 39 films directed by women.
Screenings are available both in-theatre and online. More than 75% of festival films available to cinephiles across Canada from December 5, 2022 to January 2, 2023 on the Whistler Film Festival screening platform. 50% of net proceeds from online ticket revenues will be directly shared with the filmmakers or Canadian rights holders.
WFF’s opening night will set the tone with the Western Canadian Premiere of WHITE NOISE, Noah Baumbach’s sly parody of an ideal American nuclear family under threat, featuring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig. The film, which opened both the Venice International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, already holds wide-spread acclaimed status.
Other significant award-contenders having their first Canadian festival showings at Whistler include Guillermo del Toro’s PINOCCHIO, a stop-motion reinvention of the classic Collodi tale set in fascist Italy, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s epic BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS, about a journalist returning to his country in the final lap of his career. Inarritu won the Oscar for Best Director for both THE REVENANT (2015) and BIRDMAN (2014).
Rian Johnson’s crowd-pleasing GLASS ONION (People’s Choice runner-up at Toronto International Film Festival) and Laura Poitras’ ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED (surprise Golden Lion winner at this year’s Venice Film Festival) will also inspire film buffs to make the trek to BC’s world-class ski destination to see great movies projected in 4k on the big screen.
Acclaimed actor and director Jason Priestley returns to WFF for the World Premiere of OFFSIDE: THE HAROLD BALLARD STORY. Big money, big headlines, and a long list of enemies – Harold Ballard made them all during the two decades he owned the crown jewel of Canadian sports – The Toronto Maple Leafs – down the road to ruin. This not-to-be-missed feature-length documentary explores one of the most controversial figures in Canadian sports history. Directed by Priestley, this world premiere marks the star’s return to the festival for the first time since the release of his critically-acclaimed film Cas and Dylan – the opening night selection at WFF in 2013.
Relationship dynamics are examined in Vanessa Matsui’s first feature, MIDNIGHT AT THE PARADISE, which deals with three couples at different stages in their relationships and includes extraordinary performances by Liane Balaban, Allan Hawco and the late Kenneth Welsh in his final screen role. EXILE, directed by Jason James, stars actor Adam Beach in his most haunting and mature performance yet as a father trying to deal with guilt when protecting his family following a DUI incident.
French director Thierry Donard taps into the mind of extreme sports athletes in the World Premiere of his film HUMAN EXTREME in WFF’s closing night selection. Music fans will love BOY CITY, a funny throwback to the era of boy bands and those who loved them, directed by Sean Cisterna and featuring Jonas Chernick. Chernick is also the co-lead in the comedy THE END OF SEX directed by Sean Garrity.
SOFT-SPOKEN WEEPY CULT CHILD, directed by Irina Lord, deals with a daughter whose mother is a member of a religious sect. ADULT ADOPTION, directed by Karen Knox, tells the story of a lonely adult foster-home graduate who longs for family connection and tries to get adopted as an adult.And BROKEN ANGEL traces an abusive relationship as an Indigenous woman and her daughter seek respite by escaping to an Indigenous safe house.
The four Quebec entries this year all deal with family, two of which are on the road. RODEO, directed by Joelle Desjardins-Paquette, is about a trucker who illegally runs off with his young daughter to Western Canada to participate in a truck rodeo. Guillaume Lambert’s NIAGARA follows three sons who have to put their differences aside as they take a road trip to bury their father who died following a “bucket challenge” in Niagara Falls. COYOTE, by Katherine Jerkovic, tells the story of a struggling ex-chef who suddenly has to look after his grandson following his daughter’s need to go to rehab. No words can truly describe the bizarre hilarity found in Martin Villeneuve’s affectionate tribute to his paternal grandmother, THE 12 TASKS OF IMELDA. Donning granny’s clothes and make-up, a la Tyler Perry’s MEDEA, Villeneuve himself plays Imelda as a tart-tongued force of nature–nasty, petty, but full of life and not willing to fade into the great beyond without putting up a fight.
Jeffery Lando’s LISSA’S TRIP, is a psychedelic film about an actress in LA who accidentally imbibes a lot of acid on the day of a major audition. The visual effects used to represent the hallucinatory images in the film were created with artificial intelligence to ensure the audience experiences the full extent of Lissa’s psychedelic trip. COLORBLIND follows a Black mother and her son, who are both colorblind by birth, as they move to a new apartment and get entangled with a racist landlord. The film is directed by mostafa keshvari.
From the Yukon comes POLARIS, a dystopian action movie set in a frozen future, a sort of MAD MAX on Skidoos, directed by WFF alumni Kirsten Carthew. Representing Winnipeg comes the stylish DIASPORA, directed by deco dawson. Set in North Winnipeg, it tells the story of a young Ukrainian immigrant who lands in a new neighbourhood where virtually nobody speaks English, much less Ukrainian. The architecture of the run-down areas and the colourful locals who have made these dwellings homes and businesses make for a fascinating and original look at the immigrant experience in Canada. Mary Nighy’s ALICE DARLING stars Oscar® nominee Anna Kendrick who plays a woman pushed to the breaking point by her psychologically abusive boyfriend.
For sports fans, ICE-BREAKER: THE ‘72 SUMMIT SERIES, directed by Robbie Hart and based on a book by diplomat Gary J. Smith, is a must-see that examines the unforgettable 1972 hockey series between Canada and the Soviets set against the Cold War political backdrop that defined the era. It’s a fine companion piece to Jason Priestly’s OFFSIDE: THE HAROLD BALLARD STORY. OUT IN THE RING brings a queer perspective to the screen as director Ry Levey explores the history of LGBTQ representation in professional wrestling through archival footage and interviews.
Music has a large presence in the WFF doc mix this year. A special screening of BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: CARRY IT ON, with a live-streamed and in-theatre Zoom conversation with the iconic singer, songwriter, and activist, takes place on December 2. The documentary is directed by Madison Thomas, an alum of the Whistler Film Festival Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship (2017).
WFF will screen the too-crazy-to-be-believed behind-the-scenes concert doc REVIVAL ‘69: THE CONCERT THAT ROCKED THE WORLD. It features John Lennon in his first post-Beatles appearance, as well as Yoko Ono, Klaus Voorman, Eric Clapton, Alice Cooper (and the infamous chicken incident that put him on the map), Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and The Doors, plus a couple of hundred bikers used to provide Lennon with a motorized escort from Pearson Airport to Varsity Stadium to make the concert in time. A must-see for any rock historian.
Australian director Jennifer Peedom will grace audiences with her breathtaking documentaries MOUNTAIN and RIVER. Both films focus on the artistry of mother nature and will leave viewers feeling deeply connected to the world around us. Thierry Donard of Nuit De Glisse (NDG Films) brings us RESET and the closing night selection HUMAN EXTREME. Shot over two years with BC as one of its locations, Donard focuses on extreme sports practitioners and the natural environments where they choose to play. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO is the latest film from Whistler local legends Sherpas Cinemas, who are also credited as cinematographers on Peedom’s films. The festival will also be welcoming back WFF alumni Mike Douglas and Anthony Bonello (GUILT TRIP, SNOWMAN) with TRACING INFLUENCE, which connects six skiers and the people who inspired their lives.
From Ukraine, GULLIVER RETURNS, is based on an idea and concept by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Over 35 Ukrainian animators worked on the computer-generated animation that follows Gulliver’s journey back to the land of Lilliput after a forty year absence – only he is not the giant they remember. SALT LAKE is a powerful exploration of late-life desire and emancipation. In this Polish film, 64-year-old Helena announces her intention to pursue sexual experiences with other men before she dies, much to the shock of her husband of 40 years. And WINTER BOY features Juliette Binoche as the mother of a gay 17-year-old son trying to adjust after the death of his father.
BABY RUBY, a film that looks at postpartum depression and an inability to bond with your child, featuring GAME OF THRONES’ Kit Harington and Noémie Merlant. SANCTUARY is a riveting two-hander about a professional dominatrix who tries to blackmail her client when he inherits a lot of money. Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott star in this intense cat-and-mouse game. FÉLINE@6.15 is Carl Bessai’s ingenious look at a day in the life of an online influencer who is dealing with a health scare. CORNER OFFICE, shot in BC and based on the novel The Room by Jonas Karlsson, stars Jon Hamm as an uptight overachiever who discovers a hidden office that no one else can see when he starts a new job at a strange company. And Steve Zahn was made to play the stoned-out surfer dad living in Mexico and reunited with his almost grown-up daughter in the very funny and touching GRINGA. LITTLE JAR from Dominic Lopez is about Ainsley, a misanthropic woman who must work from home, where she befriends a stuffed mouse.
There are a total of 45 short films from Canada and around the world, including celebrated filmmaker and Whistler alumni Ingrid Veninger’s beautifully composed drama “If you were me”, as well as the Western Canadian premieres of the top short film prize winners from TIFF: Canadian-Egyptian director Aziz Zoromba’s “Simo” and Mongolian director Lkhagvadulam (Dulmaa) Purev-Ochir’s “Snow in September.” Also, catch the World Premieres of alumni Ali Liebert’s “Calls from a Bridge”; compelling action sports documentaries “The Trapline” directed by Andrea Wing and “Skin Swimmer” directed by Hannah Walsh; and debuts from student filmmakers Zane Klassen, Cam Liardi, and Calum Watson.
WFF 2022 COMPLETE FEATURE FILM LISTING BY PREMIERE STATUS:
World Premieres (5):
- BOY CITY (Canada) Dir. Sean Cisterna
- EXILE (Canada) Dir. Jason James
- HUMAN EXTREMES (France) Dir. Thierry Donard
- MIDNIGHT AT THE PARADISE (Canada) Dir. Vanessa Matsui
- OFFSIDE: THE HAROLD BALLARD STORY (Canada) Dir. Jason Priestley
North American Premieres (1):
- LISSA’S TRIP (Canada/USA) Dir. Jeffery Lando
Canadian Premieres (5):
- CORNER OFFICE (USA) Dir. Joachim Back
- FÉLINE@6.15. (Canada/USA) Dir. Carl Bessai
- GRINGA (USA) Dir. Marny Eng and E.J. Foerster
- RESET (France) Dir. Thierry Donard
- SALT LAKE (Poland/Sweden) Dir. Katarzyna Roslaniec
Canadian Festival Premieres (2):
- BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS (Mexico) Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu
- GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO (Mexico, Canada, USA) Dir. Guillermo del Toro
Western Canadian Festival Premiere (2):
- GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (USA) Dir. Rian Johnson
- WHITE NOISE (USA) Dir. Noah Baumbach
English Canadian Premieres (3):
- NIAGARA (Canada) Dir. Guillaume Lambert
- RODEO (Canada) Dir. Joelle Desjardins-Paquette
- THE 12 TASKS OF IMELDA (Canada) Dir. Martin Villeneuve
Western Canadian Premieres (11):
- BABY RUBY (USA) Dir. Bess Wohl
- BROKEN ANGEL(Canada) Dir. Jules Koostachin
- COLORBLIND (Canada) Dir. Mostafa Keshvari
- COYOTE (Canada) Dir. Katherine Jerkovic
- DIASPORA (Canada) Dir. Deco Dawson
- LITTLE JAR (USA) Dir. Dominic Lopez
- POLARIS (Canada) Dir. Kirsten Carthew
- RIVER (Australia) Dir. Jennifer Peedom
- SANCTUARY (USA), Dir. Zachary Wigon
- SOFT-SPOKEN WEEPY CULT CHILD (Canada) Dir. Irina Lord
- WINTER BOY (France) Dir. Christophe Honoré
British Columbia Premieres (9):
- ADULT ADOPTION (Canada) Dir. Karen Knox
- ALICE DARLING (Canada/USA) Dir. Mary Nighy
- ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED (Canada) Dir. Laura Poitras
- BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: CARRY IT ON (Canada) Dir. Madison Thomas
- ICE-BREAKER: THE ‘72 SUMMIT SERIES (Canada) Dir. Robbie Hart
- KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: TO THE HILLS AND BACK (Canada) Dir. Mike Quigley
- OUT IN THE RING (Canada) Dir. Ryan Bruce Levey
- REVIVAL ‘69: THE CONCERT THAT ROCKED THE WORLD (Canada) Dir. Ron Chapman
- THE END OF SEX (Canada) Dir. Sean Garrity
Whistler Premieres (3):
- GULLIVER RETURN (Ukraine) Dir. Ilya Maksimov
- MOUNTAIN (Australia) Dir. Jennifer Peedom
- TRACING INFLUENCE (Canada) Dir. Mike Douglas and Anthony Bonello
WFF 2022 Feature Films Eligible for the Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature (14):
- ADULT ADOPTION
- BROKEN ANGEL
- LISSA’S TRIP
- MIDNIGHT AT THE PARADISE
- SOFT-SPOKEN WEEPY CULT CHILD
- THE END OF SEX
- THE 12 TASKS OF IMELDA
WFF 2022 SHORTWORK FILMS LISTED BY PREMIERE STATUS:
World Premieres (7):
- CALLS FROM A BRIDGE (Canada) Dir. Ali Liebert
- HEART OF THE VALLEY (Canada) Dir. Calum Watson
- OMUKAMA (Canada) Dir. Zane Klassen
- RASCAL² (Canada) Dir. Michael Sousa
- SHADOWLANDS (Canada) Dir. Cam Liardi
- SKIN SWIMMER (Canada, USA) Dir. Hannah Walsh
- THE TRAPLINE (Canada) Dir. Andrea Wing
International Premiere (1):
- THE VACATION (USA) Dir. Jarreau Carrillo
North American Premieres (1):
- EXPOSED (Australia) Dir. Kitale Wilson
Canadian Premieres (7):
- ADRIFT (Canada) Dir. Cathy Huynh
- ALLOWED (United Kingdom) Dir. Zillah Bowes
- BLUE HONEY (Canada) Dir. Valeriya Khan
- DREAMING OF A BETTER PLACE (Canada, USA) Dir. Cameron Thuman
- PLEASE HOLD THE LINE (Malaysia) Dir. Tan Ce Ding
- RECKLESS (Sweden) Dir. Pella Kågerman
- SMOKE EATER (Canada) Dir. Gloria Mercer
Western Canadian Premieres (13):
- À LA VIE À L’AMOR (Canada) Dir. Emilie Mannering
- AIRHOSTESS-737 (Greece) Dir. Thanasis Neofotistos
- CONVICTION (Canada) Dir. Bruce Miller
- FALENA (Canada) Dir. Nancy Pettinicchio
- IF YOU WERE ME (Canada) Dir.Ingrid Veninger
- LAY ME BY THE SHORE (Canada) Dir. David Findlay
- SAME OLD (Canada, USA) Dir. Llyod Lee Choi
- SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS (Canada) Dir. Ariane Louis-Seize
- SHALLOTS & GARLIC (Canada, Indonesia) Dir. Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto
- A SHORE AWAY (Canada) Dir. Gaëlle Graton
- SIMO (Canada) Dir. Aziz Zoromba
- SNOW IN SEPTEMBER (Mongolia, France) Dir. Lkhagvadulam (Dulmaa) Purev-Ochir
- UNTOLD HOURS (Canada) Dir. Daniel Warth
British Columbia Premieres (6):
- ALEX (Canada) Dir. Aisha Evelyna
- BEYOND BEGBIE (Canada) Dir. Zoya Lynch
- MOMENTO (Australia, Canada) Dir. Cassie De Colling
- SNOW BLIND (Canada) Dir. Anthony Bonello
- VIOLET GAVE WILLINGLY (Canada) Dir. Claire Sanford
- WALKING ON CLOUDS (Brazil) Dir. Renan Kamizi
Whistler Premieres (10):
- THE DEBORAH EFFECT (Canada) Dir. Darcy Hennessey Turenne
- THE FLYING SAILOR (Canada) Dir. Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis
- HOUSE AFTER (Canada) Dir. Dustin McGladrey
- ICE MERCHANTS (Portugal, France, United Kingdom) Dir. João Gonzalez
- MUNICIPAL RELAXATION MODULE (Canada) Dir. Matthew Rankin
- PACO (Canada) Dir. Kent Donguines
- TONGUE (Canada) Dir. Kaho Yoshida
- VICTORIA (Canada) Dir. Roy Garza
- WARSHA (Lebanon, France) Dir. Dania Bdeir
- WEEDS ARE FLOWERS, TOO (Canada) Dir. Kay Metchie
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.