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‘Sheepdogs’ Documentary One Of The Cool Films Premiering At The 2012 Whistler Film Festival
November 1, 2012
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One thing about George and this show, we are big fans of this country's film festivals.

Another one is coming up and it's one of the best - because of the films and the spectacular location.

It's the 12th annual Whistler Film Festival.

More than 75 films this year (selected from more than 800 submissions), including World premieres, North American premieres, Canadian premieres - you name it.

The festival's new Director of Programming Paul Gratton said he's looking for a "hip, cool vibe."

The lineup includes 42 features and 34 shorts, shown on 5 screens in 4 theatre venues over 5 days - November 28 to December 2.

The festival will open with the film 'Still' directed by Michael McGowan (of Toronto).

Sheep-Dogs-Documentary-One-of-the-cool-films-premiering-at-the-2012-whistler-film-festival-feature2.jpg Starring James Cromwell, it's based on the true story of an 88-year-old man who has to fight with local bureaucrats while building a house for his sick wife.

The film for the closing night gala is 'The Sheepdogs Have It', a documentary about the Saskatchewan band that won Rolling Stone's 'Do You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star' contest earlier this year.

It's directed by Canada's John Bernard. It's one of six world premieres at the festival - all of them Canadian films.

The Whistler Film Fest also has a new late-night screening series that kicks off with 'American Mary'.

Sheep-Dogs-Documentary-One-of-the-cool-films-premiering-at-the-2012-whistler-film-festival-feature3.jpg It's the latest horror film by twins Jenn and Sylvia Soska of Vancouver.

It stars Katharine Isabelle as increasingly broke and disillusioned a med student who finds work in an underground fetish scene, doing body-modification surgery.

The film has received rave reviews at genre festivals in the U.S. and around the world, but Whistler will be the first time it screens in B.C.

Check the trailer below.

The late-night series will also screen 'The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh' by Toronto director Rodrigo Gudino.

Of the 40 plus features at Whistler this year, only eight were "unspooled at TIFF", something Gratton says he's particularly proud of.

It "indicates that we are succeeding in carving out a distinct niche for Whistler amidst the plethora of film festivals that currently dot the media landscape."

The festival is also featuring a series of high-profile documentaries including the latest in the highly regarded "7 up series" - '56 Up'.

Here's a promo from ITV in the U.K.

Other World Premieres include...

The documentary Bird Co. Media about a notorious ad agency in Mumbia, by Vancouver director Jason Bourque.

'The Movie Out Here' - a buddy comedy directed by David Hicks and starring Leslie Nielsen's grand-nephew Robin Nielsen.

'Mad Ship' - a drama set in the Depression directed by David Mortin.

'Status Quo?'- a documentary on Canada's feminist movement, directed by Karen Cho of Montreal.

'Tempting Fear', directed by Mike Douglas.

The director's cut of Joel Goldberg's music doc 'Bruce Cockburn Pacing The Cage.'

Here's a short trailer.

"I really tried to mix it up and be as eclectic as possible," Gratton says.

He's also locked down the North American premiere of 'White Deer Plain' - a three-hour Chinese feature.

He says it has "the most beautiful photography of wheat fields I have ever seen" and "levels of tawdry sex the likes of which I did not think you could find in Chinese movies."

So he says "the three hours are not as lugubrious as you might otherwise think."

As well, the festival has a contest called the 'China Canada Gateway for Film Script Competition.' A dozen Canadian writer/producer teams (out of more than 100 entrants) are competing for up to $15 million in production financing.

It's a pilot project, co-sponsored by Telefilm Canada, with the idea of launching nine China-Canada co-productions in the next three years.

George will be at the festival, hosting a VIP cocktail reception on Friday, Nov. 30 and a benefit dinner on Saturday, Dec. 1.

The proceeds will go to Artists For Peace And Justice and its projects in Haiti.

As a board member of APJ, George has hosted similar events in Toronto with Paul Haggis (founder of APJ), Jude Law, David Belle (CEO of APJ), featuring performances by K'Naan and members of Arcade Fire.

Those events raised more than $550,000.

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