Now Playing: Calgary International Film Festival promises exciting 10th anniversary
The 10th instalment of the Calgary International Film Festival has hit town, and Brenda Lieberman, programmer of the world cinema and late night schedules, has no problem finding ways to draw attendees to its many events.
As Lieberman states, the lineup’s success will be due to the multitude of exciting new artists making their unique voices heard.
“We’ve picked many award-winning films from around the world for this year’s lineup,” says Lieberman. “The filmmakers we’re featuring are ones to watch for, because they’re truly pushing boundaries. A lot of these films were prominent during the 2008-09 awards season, so this is a chance for Calgarians to see movies that they might not have been able to catch when they were on the world stage.”
Besides the vast array of films spanning countries and continents, everyone knows that the best part of any festival is the parties. CIFF is famous for its various galas, and this year is no exception. The festival kicks off with the American Express Opening Gala on Thursday, Sept. 24, featuring the premiere screening of “Crackie.” Director Sherry White and cast members Mary Walsh and Meghan Greeley will be in attendance for the event.
For students who think their thin wallets will be unwelcome at such swanky-sounding parties, Lieberman says not to fear: “The galas are very affordable for students, especially the VW Rock ‘n’ Roll Red Carpet Party. (The event takes place on Saturday, Sept. 26, and will feature a screening of “Rock Prophecies,” a film about veteran music photographer Robert Knight. The legendary artist will be in attendance along with director John Chester). Twenty-five bucks gets you a movie, a party, drinks, food, and celebrities, so you really can’t go wrong.”
Other gala events during the festival are the Black Carpet Party, with a screening of “Smash Cut,” on Friday, Oct. 2; and the Closing Night Gala on Saturday, Oct. 3, where the Best of Alberta award will be given to the best short film from the province.
Like all festivals that celebrate art, however, CIFF also contains a subtle worldly message within some of its films this year. Lieberman points out that there are four documentaries highlighting the turmoil within Tibet, creating a small socio-political theme that she hopes will shed light on an oft-neglected part of the world.
“It’s not something that’s been talked about much at this point,” says Lieberman, “but we hope people will pick up on it and tell their friends, and spread the word. Obviously it’s not something that we want to be the overarching theme of the festival — we don’t have an agenda outside showing great films — but the coincidence of these four films showing at the same festival can’t be ignored.”
What is most important, when looking at the sheer variety of films being shown and brought to Calgary for the first time, is that CIFF’s 10th anniversary will be a special treat for filmgoers dedicated or casual, addicted or just curious.
“I can proudly say that this year’s lineup is the strongest we’ve had in years,” states Lieberman.
With confidence like that, what more of a push towards your nearest cinema house do you need?