Whistler Film Festival in Canada Appoints Robin Smith as New Director of Film Programming

Whistler Film Festival Welcomes Robin Smith as Director of Film Programming. Image: WFF
Whistler Film Festival Welcomes Robin Smith as Director of Film Programming. Image: WFF

Short Summary:

The Whistler Film Festival in Canada has appointed Robin Smith as its new Director of Film Programming, succeeding Paul Gratton. Smith, former CEO of Blue Ice Docs Inc., brings nearly 30 years of industry experience. Executive Director Angela Heck praised Smith’s talent and experience, highlighting WFF’s commitment to Canadian filmmakers and international programming.

The Whistler Film Festival Society (WFF) has announced Robin Smith as its new Director of Film Programming. This appointment marks a significant leadership change as Smith takes over from Paul Gratton, who has held the position since 2012 and now transitions to the honorary role of Programmer Emeritus.

Robin Smith joins WFF with nearly 30 years of extensive experience in the film industry. Most recently, he served as the CEO of Blue Ice Docs Inc., a company focused on funding, acquiring, and distributing top-tier non-fiction films globally. Smith’s career spans various prominent distribution companies, including the National Film Board of Canada, Alliance Films, Lions Gate Film Entertainment, Seville Pictures, Capri Releasing, and levelFILM. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in programming the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema during its first decade and has served as an advisor to the Vancouver International Film Festival and Vortex Media.

Smith’s impressive portfolio includes managing high-profile film releases such as "All About My Mother," "Away from Her," "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," "Blackfish," "Up the Yangtze," "Kedi," and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." He has also executive produced acclaimed documentaries like the Oscar-nominated "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail," the Emmy Award-winning "Solitary," the Emmy-winning "Advocate," "A Glitch in the Matrix," and the 2023 SXSW documentary "The Hobby."

Angela Heck, WFF’s Executive Director, expressed enthusiasm about Smith’s addition to the team, stating, "With Robin Smith’s talent, experience, and impressive background, his addition to the team is both exciting and emblematic of WFF’s commitment to Canadian filmmakers, audiences, and international award-winning programming."

Heck also acknowledged Paul Gratton’s substantial contributions to the festival over the past 12 years, noting his role in elevating WFF to its current status as a highly respected institution and cinematic champion. "We are so grateful to Paul Gratton for all his work with Whistler Film Festival. With his curation, guidance, and deep commitment to the Canadian film industry, Paul has helped elevate the festival and turn it into the highly respected institution and cinematic champion it has become. It’s a true delight to welcome Robin and continue to build on the festival’s strengths. We can’t wait to see the wonderful ways he will shape the festival in the years to come."

Robin Smith expressed his excitement about joining the Whistler Film Festival team, saying, "I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Whistler team. The Whistler Film Festival has always held a special place in my heart, both personally and professionally, and I am excited to be working with their team in helping bring great talent and amazing films to their audiences and beyond."

Smith’s extensive experience and commitment to film programming are expected to bring new opportunities and innovations to the Whistler Film Festival, further enhancing its reputation and impact in the global film community.