IF3 Film Festival to host awards gala in Whistler


After switching to a hybrid format in 2020, the ski and snowboard film festival will be live and face-to-face again in 2021

For the first time in 14 years of existence, the iF3 Film Festival will be holding its gala and awards ceremony in Whistler.

The International Ski and Snowboard Film Festival has previously hosted screenings in Whistler in 2015, 2018 and 2019, but the awards ceremony has always been held at the festival headquarters in Montreal.

But with the festival’s steady growth over the past few years and COVID-19 restrictions making overseas travel a challenge for many filmmakers, iF3 president Luke St-Jacques thought it was the year. perfect for expanding the festival to a new location.

“We are now in 2021, and we have decided to do so [in Whistler because] many athletes and producers from around the world and from Canada have decided to stay home to film this year, ”he says.

“A lot of them stayed in their backyard, and Hollywood ski and snowboard is located right in Whistler, so there are a lot of great athletes and producers out there right now, who have been living there for two months, this will be able to attend the gala for the first time in a few years, physically.

St-Jacques took over the presidency of the festival in 2017, the same year snowboarding was added to the content pool. Back then, people kept telling him that film festivals like iF3 would surely start to disappear as apps like Instagram and Tik Tok started to take over people’s lives with their instant and short video models. .

But St-Jacques refused to believe that there would be a time when people wouldn’t want more depth in the movies they were watching and he worked hard to make the festival grow even more.

“I was right. In fact, we had the best year so far in terms of content and types of projects. It was such a difficult year for our judges, it was incredible,” said St-Jacques.

“I think there is a need for human beings to tell their stories in much more detail than a 30-second video. There is a need for us to understand, and if we can take the time to sit down and analyze what is on offer in front of us, it’s like reading a book and I don’t think it will get old either. . People want to be immersed in something and you can’t be immersed in 30 seconds or a minute in flashes. “

Since its inception in 2007, the film festival has changed dramatically, according to St-Jacques, who says iF3 now has a lot more balance with a good mix of male and female content, skiing and snowboarding, storytelling and sports performance.

However, perhaps the biggest and most recent change to the festival’s format came last year when COVID-19 threatened to shut everything down.

“In 2019, we had grown quite a bit, there were more than 80 films and we were doing very well on both sides. We were starting to have plans for 2020 to go back to Whistler and expand it a bit, ”says St-Jacques. “And then of course the pandemic hit and at that point it took us about two days, we got the team together and we made a decision and we said we were going to focus on the hybrid format. of the festival. “

The iF3 team decided to make almost all of the films available online for free for anyone who wanted to be a part of the festival. They were even able to screen in a drive-in theater and safely bring together nearly 1,200 people to watch the films and the awards gala.

And due to the success of the 2020 festival, they’ve decided to keep the hybrid format and share most of the movies online for anyone who can’t make it to one of the three screening locations (Whistler, Montreal, and Chamonix). ), or is not yet comfortable being in a crowd.

St-Jacques says that every year of the festival there are films that surprise the judges and show something unexpected – and this year is no different.

“On Women’s Night, I would definitely not miss Jess Kimura’s movie called Learning to Drown. It is a very important film to watch outside of the festival. I don’t even have words because when I start talking about it I’m a little emotional, ”he said.

“We also have very good reports from the judges’ side on Tales From Cascadia from [Blank Collective Films]. They are also nominated for several awards.

The festival runs from Thursday October 21 through Saturday October 23, with screenings at several locations in Whistler, including the Westin Resort and Spa and the Maury Young Arts Center. Thursday and Friday screenings at the Maury Young start at 7 p.m. while Friday’s screenings at the Westin start at 8 p.m.

To watch online, go to the festival website and click on the big blue “Live TV” button.

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