Whistler Film Festival turns 15
The little film festival up on the big mountain keeps growing
November 27, 2015
The Whistler Film Festival turns 15 this year. Executive director Shauna Hardy Mishaw talks about how far it’s come.
“The first Whistler Film Festival opened with a screening of John Zaritsky’s NFB documentary Ski Bums, and 1,300 people showed up. It was crazy. We hadn’t intended to start a film festival, but after 3,600 people attended screenings over three days, we thought, ‘Wait a second—maybe we’re on to something.’ Whistler is different from many other festivals: once people come, they really are a captive audience. There’s no city to navigate. One thing we quickly realized was that we wanted to bring in the film-industry talent from Vancouver, so we began building those partnerships early on, and I would say the festival has grown organically… I think we’ve created a really important industry event on the Canadian movie landscape—one that is now part of Whistler’s wider growth as a cultural tourism destination. And after 15 years, I’d say it’s about time.”