Variety salutes award winners at film fest

Beneath pristine peaks at the ski resort town of Whistler, British Columbia, Variety saluted two of its award winners at the 11th annual Whistler Film Festival.

Andy Serkis, honored as Tech Pioneer of the Year for his work in performance-capture acting, was shooting aerial footage in New Zealand for “The Hobbit” but interrupted his morning to “jump commando style” out of a helicopter and Skype into a master class at the Whistler Fest. He told the festival aud, “I feel very lucky to be at the point where (performance capture) is just beginning to be charted and used properly.” But he did have a complaint about the way his work is described — and credited. “I’ve got a list of the ways my work has been talked about. ‘Andy Serkis has lent his voice to,’ or ‘Andy Serkis has lent his movements to,’ or ‘Andy Serkis has lifted the character up.’ There are all these elliptical ways of describing it. In actual fact, it’s acting.”

Jay Baruchel, the longtime thesp who has turned scribe for “Goon,” accepted kudos as one of Variety’s “10 Screenwriters to Watch” for 2011 in an onstage conversation with Variety’s Steven Gaydos. Montreal native Baruchel expects to keep making movies in Canada. “I want to do for Montreal what David Cronenberg did for Toronto,” he said.

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