CIFF marks 11th year with remarkable focus

By Rhiannon Kirkland

The Calgary International Film Festival is set to enter its 11th jam-packed year. This years programming exemplifies the festival’s usual diversity and features 283 films including documentaries, feature-length fiction, retrospectives and shorts.

“This year more than ever we’ve really focused on trying make the festival accessible and have lots of entry points for people to try something, so there’s a little bit of something for everybody,” says Trevor Smith, programming director. “Lots of comedies, lots of dramas, actions films.”

Like in the past, CIFF has a spotlight section featuring movies about a specific issue or theme. This year’s spotlight is on the environment.

“In the documentaries section we have a section called the green screen which is a focus on environmental issues,” says Smith. “[Including] the Force of Nature film with David Suzuki, a lot of our environmental films particularly about dirty oil have captured the public’s attention. It’s had some media attention and controversy so that’s been selling well.”

CIFF brought back a series called Beyond Borders that was last done in 2007. It consists of a free matinee screening at the Calgary Public Library and Media Gallery.

The films are picked by a group of programmers who work in conjunction with the preview committee. CIFF received over 1,400 submissions for this year’s festival.

“We’re actively pursuing and watching films pretty much from the end of January right through to the end of July making our choices,” says Smith.

Attendees will be able to rub shoulders with over 20 filmmakers and directors present at screenings and events throughout the festival.

“There’s definitely still lots of delegates and filmmakers on the ground and at a lot of screenings so that’ll be cool. That’s a nice value added for people to see the filmmaker and have the Q and A afterwards,” says Smith. “There are movies that are just not going to screen on our Hollywood screens. So take a chance and try something new.”

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