‘Hugh Hefner’s After Dark’ Tops Whistler Winners

By Pat Mullen

Brigitte Berman’s Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America was the big winner for Canadian film and documentary alike this week at the Whistler Film Festival. The documentary won the WFF Audience Award for Most Popular Canadian Film. The award honours the Canadian film with the highest vote based on audience ratings. Hugh Hefner’s After Dark had its Canadian premiere at the festival and delivered another of Berman’s engagingly composed and insightful portraits of the Playboy empire. The doc looks exclusively at Hefner’s late-night talk shows that revolutionized good times and topical conversations in the Mad Men era. (Read the POV review of Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America here.)

This year, the Whistler Film Festival boasted 85 films with 65% of its line going to Canadian productions or co-productions—more than any Canadian festival in 2018. “In many ways, you could measure the increasing sophistication and openness of Whistler audiences to quality cinema from around the world,” said WFF Director of Programming Paul Gratton in a statement from the festival.

The overall audience award winner at Whistler was Mimi Leder’s dramatic biopic of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Brit Felicity Jones plays RBG in the unlikely icon’s second film treatment of the year following the documentary RBG. Alfonso Cuarón’s awards contender Roma was the award’s runner-up.