The Whistler Film Festival always offers the chance to catch a few highly touted films before they hit the multiplex, with Mary Queen of Scots (starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie) and If Beale Street Could Talk (from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins) among this year’s big-ticket items. But it’s the under-the-radar product that WFF does best. Here are three recommendations to get your chilled-out festival started. The Whistler Film Festival runs from Wednesday to Sunday (November 28 to December 2).
Never Be Done: The Richard Glen Lett Story
Local standup comedian Richard Lett lost an upwardly mobile career to alcoholism and drug abuse, which this doc captures in gruesome detail, rock bottom included. By the time filmmaker Roy Tighe began pointing his camera at Lett in 2009, he’d been banned from every club in the city except one.
Lett’s infamous bit “The Ballad of Bobby Pickton” is perhaps the stress test here for the curious. As an expression of all the rage and disgust that Lett would habitually turn on himself and everyone else, it’s painfully true, if you have the stomach for it. Homelessness and psychosis would follow as the abuse wore on and the gigs dried up, but this is a redemption story, and a particularly poignant one for Vancouverites familiar with some of Lett’s local contemporaries who line up to either praise or condemn the man. (The Straight’s Guy MacPherson sticks to the facts.)