Whistler fest up with ‘Papal’

Pic beat out 'Pink,' 'Cable,' 'Game' for Borsos award

WHISTLER, B.C. — “Papal Chase,” an irreverent comedy about Toronto filmmaker Kenny Hotz’s attempts to meet Pope John Paul II during a visit to Canada, won the Phillip Borsos Award at the fourth annual Whistler Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

New this year, the C$10,000 ($8,500) Borsos Award honors the best Canuck feature making its world premiere at Whistler. Borsos, a Vancouver filmmaker (“The Grey Fox,” “Bethune”), died in 1995.

The four other candidates for the juried award were “Cable Beach,” directed by James Head; “Pink Ludoos,” directed by Gaurav Seth; “Part of the Game,” directed by Rick Alyea; and “Better Off in Bed,” directed by Reg Harkema.

“Scared Sacred,” directed by Velcrow Ripper of Vancouver, took the documentary nod, and “Call It Karma,” directed by Geoff Browne of Vancouver, drew kudos in the adventure film category.

“Boxing Day Classic,” by Kirby Morrow, won the short scripts contest. Morrow will receive $20,000 in services and cash to create his film, which will play at next year’s fest.

This year’s four-day event at the ski resort town 90 minutes north of Vancouver doubled the number of films screened to 93, including eight world premieres.

Organizers doubled the fest’s budget this year to $212,500 and hired William Evans from the National Screen Institute in Winnipeg as director of programming. The number of films submitted also doubled to 400.

“We aim to make Whistler the pre-eminent place to discover new and innovative Canadian cinema,” said Shauna Hardy, a founder of the fest. Whistler will be the site of several events in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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