By RACHAEL FREY
Calgary is a city of film lovers. In fact, Calgarians spend more money attending movies than any other city in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. It’s not just watching, though—Calgarians and Albertans are creating films too, and the local film industry is experiencing impressive growth.
DAILY FILM PICKS
Here are a few of our most anticipated films to help ease you into the festival schedule.
Fri, Sep 19: Ejecta
An extraterrestrial investigator is hunted by a creature from another world.
Sat, Sep 20: Maps to the Stars
Hollywood’s treatment of child stars is satirized in this dysfunctional family drama.
Sun, Sep 21: The Valley Below
Rural life in Alberta’s badlands is explored through four people’s stories.
Mon, Sep 22: Welcome to New York
Gérard Depardieu stars in this controversial imagining of a major political scandal.
Tue, Sep 23: The Boxtrolls
An orphan is raised by quirky cave-dwellers in this cute stop-motion animated film.
Wed, Sep 24: Jewel Fools
Slackers recover a stolen engagement ring in this action, fantasy and Bollywood blend.
Thu, Sep 25: Waiting for August
A Romanian teen struggles to care for her six siblings in this award-winning documentary.
Fri, Sep 26: Time is Illmatic
Hip-hop artist Nas revisits the influences that shaped his seminal debut album 20 years ago.
Sat, Sep 27: Rocks in my Pockets
Strange, striking animation portrays an autobiography of family and mental illness.
Sun, Sep 28: The Editor
A film editor is suspiciously devoted to his work in this send-up of classic Italian horror films.
The annual Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), now in its 15th year, is eager to bring the watchers and the creators together. Though the festival shows films of all types and genres from around the world, Executive Director Steve Schroeder says the programming team puts a special emphasis on presenting artists from Alberta.
“Alberta’s and Calgary’s film-making communities are getting more confident and stronger and I think that’s only going to continue,” Schroeder says. “We’re seeing multiple feature films coming at us by Calgary filmmakers that are really strong contenders.”
One such contender is Ally Was Screaming, a feature written and directed by Calgary-based filmmaker Jeremy Thomas. It tells the story of two “nice guys” who discover a winning lottery ticket in the belongings of their recently deceased friend Ally. Preventing her abusive ex-husband from getting his hands on it seems to be the noble thing to do, but the longer they keep the ticket, the blurrier the lines between right and wrong become.
Another Canadian film. Just Eat It, is a documentary that takes a hard look at the staggering volume of food that goes to waste—seven billion kilograms (15.4 billion pounds) every year in Canada at a cost of $27-billion, according to a recent report from the University of Western Ontario. Filmmakers Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin quit grocery shopping and committed to eating only food that would be otherwise thrown away. Contrasted with the struggle of many Canadians just to find enough to eat, their images of excess and needless waste border on stomach-churning.
More than 8,000 people attended CIFF when it started up in 2000, a remarkable achievement for a fledgling fest. Over the next few years attendance doubled and then nearly tripled, and in its 15th year well over 20,000 movie aficionados are expected to fill the seats of the city’s indie theatres.
The festivalgoers will have the chance to participate in another CIFF mission, the recognition of emerging, first-time directors. Audience members will be given a ballot to rate the films from one to five, and the highest rated feature and documentary will score Discovery Awards for Best First Narrative Feature or Best First Documentary Feature.
“Today’s new filmmaker you’ve never heard of may be somebody who’s a household name in five years,” Schroeder says. “Everybody wants to play a role in discovering a brilliant new artist and being one of the first to recognize their talent.”
The Calgary International Film Festival takes places September 18 – 28, 2014 at various venues. Festival Passes and single show tickets are available at calgaryfilm.com, Festival Box Office at Eau Claire Market (200 Barclay Parade SW), or at the venue.