Whistler Film Festival Unveils Content Summit and First Wave of Industry Guests

Crossing borders and across platforms, WFF connects storytellers to dealmakers

Whistler, B.C. (October 18, 2018) – With six weeks to go until ‘Canada’s coolest film fest’ kicks off, the Whistler Film Festival (November 28 – December 2) has unveiled its industry programming line-up and announced its first wave of guests, which includes some of the industry’s established industry leaders and creators as well as the latest innovators and disruptors. Featuring four themed days with 30 interactive sessions designed to foster business connections and collaborations, WFF’s Content Summit aims to provide practical intel for filmmakers and dealmakers, as well as spark debate through high-level keynotes and panel discussions on topics that range from finance, marketing, distribution and technology to export. With up to 1,000 expected delegates from across North America and beyond, Whistler is the place for industry to get intel, connect, deal and see great films.

Structured around bringing films to market and designed to provide filmmakers with tools to succeed, both within and beyond our borders, delegates can expect to gain insights from key power brokers and some of the best creative minds in the business including the following guests confirmed to date:

  • Bill Bromiley – President, Saban Films
  • Todd Brown – Head of International Acquisitions, XYZ Films
  • Jhod Cardinal – Director of Distribution, Thunderbird Entertainment
  • Vanessa Case – SVP, Studio, VICE Canada, VICE Media
  • Glenn Cockburn – President, Meridian Artists
  • Susan Hummel – Executive Vice President & Managing Director, Lionsgate Entertainment Canada Corp.
  • Tory Jennings – Director of Pay TV Programming, Bell Media
  • Jennifer Kolber – Vice President, Theatrical Sales, Entertainment One
  • Mehernaz Lentin – Senior Director, CBC Films / CBC English Services
  • Michele McMahon – Production Executive, Original Programming B.C. and the Territories, Bell Media
  • Kathleen Meek – Manager, Original Content, Drama & Factual, Corus Entertainment
  • David Miller – President, A71 & V71 Entertainment Groups
  • Tobias Queisser – Co-Founder & CEO, Cinelytic Inc.
  • Michael Repsch – President, Dark Star Pictures
  • William Santor – CEO, Productivity Media Inc.
  • Jesse Wente – Director, Indigenous Screen Office
  • Catherine Winder – CEO/Partner, Skybound North Entertainment

“The Whistler Film Festival’s Content Summit is an established and well-recognized event for Canadian industry and talent looking to expand their network and gain insights into a rapidly-evolving media environment,” said Julie Di Cresce, WFF’s Director of Industry Programming. “High-level executives and creatives now make Whistler a can’t-miss destination on their fall festival circuit.”

WFF’s Content Summit will address the business and future of film both locally and internationally, as well as the ever-changing landscape of filmmaking in the digital age. Over the course of the four-day event, industry insiders will have the opportunity to hear from and connect with over 100 cinematic masters, creative innovators, business visionaries, and industry leaders.

Highlights from this year’s lineup includes:

  • On November 29, WFF’s Content Summit launches with Crossing Borders programming dedicated to building bridges from the producers point of view. Sessions will focus on finding and financing stories with international appeal, as well as understanding how to identify and create meaningful partnership opportunities. Attendees will gain intel from creative minds whose expertise ranges from working with high-level talent to finding the next best business collaboration and using analytics to get a greenlight. It also includes a Power Pitch Workshop with LA-based industry veteran and pitch master Carole Kirschner, creator of the CBS Diversity Program and Director of the WGA Showrunner Training Program, and the Meet Market that connects storytellers to dealmakers.
  • On November 30, WFF’s Content Summit continues with View from the Top, which highlights experts at the top of their field who will address evolving business models for releasing independent feature films, as well as examine important industry trends on financing, marketing release patterns, and new forms of distribution. There’s also a significant focus on making media equitable with the Women on Top Series featuring a networking luncheon and keynote address with special guest Madeline Di Nonno​, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, followed by a workshop with leading advocates and representatives from Canadian public agencies, organizations, companies and filmmakers that have initiated gender, inclusion and diversity policies and mandates.
  • On December 1, WFF’s Content Summit pivots to the creative perspective with Content Connections, featuring creators of both short and long form content with live pitch events. These events include the Power Pitch for high concept/genre feature projects with a $41K prize package, and the 12th annual MPPIA Short Film Pitch with a $115K prize package. There’s also a major focus on digital storytelling practices with Stream Big sessions that feature innovative content creators and buyers across all platforms that will provide intel and speak to best practices.
  • On December 2, WFF’s Content Summit concludes with Doc Talk, which focuses on the evolving film and television documentary landscape featuring sessions, case studies and round tables. Some of the most important industry players including commissioning editors and award-winning filmmakers will provide key insights on how to move projects forward.

WFF’s Summit directly connects to the festival’s slate of 11 talent programs designed to provide creative and business immersion experiences for over 70 Canadian artists, including the Producers Lab, Power Pitch, Praxis Screenwriters Lab, Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship, Doc Lab, Women on Top Mentorship, Stars to Watch and Music Showcase. WFF also collaborates with several industry organizations by hosting specific third party initiatives at the Whistler Summit including the Women in the Director’s Chair Industry Immersion, Women in Film & Television Film Market Preparation Mentorship, and the MPPIA Short Film Award Pitch with the Motion Picture Production Industry Association and Creative BC.

All WFF Summit events take place at the Whistler Conference Centre (4010 Whistler Way) and Maury Young Arts Centre (4335 Blackcomb Way) unless specified otherwise. WFF’s Content Summit schedule and guest lineup are now available at whistlerfilmfestival.com/industry-summit/schedule/, with additional guests to be announced in the coming weeks. In addition to the 16 films already announced, WFF’s full film lineup schedule will be available online on November 1 with special guest and event announcements to follow.

From November 28th to December 2nd, the Whistler Film Festival will welcome film fans and filmmakers to experience its 18th edition featuring fresh films, special guests, epic events, unique industry and talent programs, and time to play in North America’s premier mountain resort destination.

The Festival’s online box office at whistlerfilmfestival.com/tickets is now open for Film, Industry and Patron Passes as well as Ticket Packages. Individual film tickets go on sale on November 14. Exclusive air travel and ground transportation deals as well as best accommodation rates from WFF’s 20 accommodation partners are now available at whistlerfilmfestival.com/attend.

The Whistler Film Festival is funded by the Government of Canada through Telefilm Canada, and by the Province of British Columbia and the Resort Municipality of Whistler through the Resort Municipality Initiative, is supported by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and the American Friends of Whistler, and is sponsored by Variety, Creative BC, Cineplex, Whistler Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler, RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate, Encore Vancouver and the Westin Resort & Spa Whistler.

The Whistler Film Festival Society is a charitable cultural 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, industry and audiences in Whistler. Find out more at whistlerfilmfestival.com.