What to expect at this year's Calgary International Film Festival
Festival starts Thursday and runs until Oct. 1
The Calgary International Film Festival has kicked off its 24th year — and this time around moviegoers can expect new films and a final screening.
There are more than 200 short and feature-length films playing at this year's CIFF, said Brian Owens, the festival's artistic director.
It's also the last time the festival will take place at the downtown Cineplex Eau Claire theatre, as the site is set to be demolished to make way for the Green Line LRT.
"It will be bittersweet. We did a test run of our own video that we made and we played it before a staff screening last week, and everybody got a little teary-eyed as we were saying our goodbyes," Owens said. He added that organizers already have plans for next year, but they are under wraps until 2024.
"We've been there for so many years that it will feel different, that's for sure. But we're excited. Change is always good."
There will also be films and events related to CIFF at the Globe Cinema, Cameo Bar and Brewery, Knox United Church and Jubilee Auditorium.
There will be documentaries, an outdoor party, live scores, and 11 feature-length and 15 short films made by Albertans.
"The spotlight is shining very bright on Alberta," Owens said.
LISTEN | Director Robert Cuffley talks about his film, Romi
Among the local films is Romi, directed by Calgary-based director Robert Cuffley. Romi stars Alexa Barajas of Yellowjackets, and follows a young woman in a smart-home. The movie was filmed at a house in the city's northeast Bridgeland area.
"It just kind of was absolutely perfect for a horror film," Cuffley told CBC Radio's The Homestretch.
"The audience reaction in Montreal was really positive … that gave me confidence. I think Calgary is going to really eat it up."
LISTEN | The business of CIFF with David Finch
David Finch, marketing professor at Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business, told The Calgary Eyeopener that the Calgary International Film Festival plays a critical role in Alberta's film industry, though it is a relatively new festival.
"It's considered in the top four in Canada. It really focuses on independent films, global films. So there's about 200 films each year showing at CIFF. This year they got 4,000 entries. It's a massive pool of talent we're pulling from, so it creates opportunities for young filmmakers."
The festival also comes during a dual writer-actor strike, which limited the number of celebrities at the Toronto International Film Festival this year.
But Finch doesn't think that strike will have as big an effect on CIFF.
"These grassroot, organic ones that are really about capacity building [are] not going to see the impacts of some of the larger film festivals," he said.
This year the festival starts on Sept. 21 and runs until Oct. 1.