Whistler Film Festival Day 15: Road Trips & Introversion

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

Still running strong with new premieres until December 20th, Whistler Film Festival powers right along with two new Canadian movies with very different backgrounds, showcasing a LOT of diverse talent before and behind the camera. This along with many other premieres are now streaming on the virtual site.

Indian Road Trip (Canada, dir. A.W. Hopkins)

Earlier in the festival I raved about SMALL TOWN WISCONSIN and the road trip, feeling that we don’t see many of them anymore. Well, here’s another one! INDIAN ROAD TRIP is a fun little slice-of-life about two hustlers who are taking their cantankerous older lady from their town so she can see her sister who is unwell. Though it starts off on an odd moment involving a white family driving through their land, it immediately picks up as we meet the two leads, Hank and Cody, who are hustlers in their town and have a great connection, and as the road trip continues along they meet a lot of interesting characters and even some stolen loot. 

Developed right at the Whistler Film Festival’s Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship a few years ago, it’s great to see a finalized version of a project that originated right at the festival on the big screen. Director A.W. Hopkins clearly has a lot of personal connection to the material here and it if flows through nearly every moment of INDIAN ROAD TRIP with its setting gorgeously photographed, a likeable music score throughout and solid performances from all of its cast I liked how it’s a light-hearted and fun comedy with fully developed characters from all age groups that will definitely speak to Canadian audiences. 

Rating: *** out of ****

An Introvert’s Guide to High School (Canada, dir. Sophie Harvey)

There is a great idea within AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO HIGH SCHOOL, a Vancouver-shot comedy featuring some professional and a lot of non-professional actors in the concept of several characters battling with their horrors of getting through high school and preparing for the SAT. As a victim of bullying myself, it’s a tough subject that has been dealt with in countless movies and TV shows over the years including a favourite, FREAKS & GEEKS, which got me through a lot of my bullying just at the correct time. 

I mention that show because while the show was set in the 80s, the themes have never changed, and this new feature also strives to bring these issues forward through multiple characters, one in particular well-played by the always wonderful Julia Sarah Stone (who has had many WFF titles here over the years). One aspect I do admire about INTROVERT is the ADD-fueled editing which suggests the personality of its characters. The movie wildly edits itself within scenes, intercut with heavy titles, social media bursts and Christopher Guest-like interviews and title cards. Many of which don’t feel very authentic to current social media. 

I want to love this movie as it’s always fun to see a Vancouver-based comedy (I had a few flashbacks to the wonderful AFTER FILM SCHOOL that premiered at WFF in 2014),  yet I did have issues with its overall look and feel which makes it feel somewhat unfinished. I know there is a REALLY good movie in here, and with some heavy editing, ditching the iMovie-style title cards and having a more real look at social media along with teen angst and peer pressure in the current world, it could definitely connect stronger with younger Canadian audiences.

Rating: **1/2 out of ****

#WFF20 is here! Join in celebrating cinematic excellence with 97 fresh films, including 30 features and 67 shorts, premiering through December 20th and available to Canadian audiences online until December 31. Once you order a film, you have 24 hours to watch it. (We at Get Reel Movies recommend the TV streaming box Apple TV or even the Roku app, both of which I use to stream titles this year.) Plus, WFF has pledged to share net online proceeds on a 50/50 basis directly with the filmmakers or Canadian rights holders.

For more information, visit www.whistlerfilmfestival.com!

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