A packed theatre at the Calgary International Film Festival
Fans pack the house at last year’s Calgary International Film Festival | Photo: Courtesy of Calgary Film

Calgary International Film Festival

Extensive lineup perfect for film fanatics or casual viewers

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Price $13 - $350
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The perfect time to indulge your inner film lover, the Calgary International Film Festival returns with an impressive lineup that is sure to have something for everyone.

A 12-day showcase featuring 178 multi-genre feature and short films from 46 countries, check out gala events, screenings, special presentations, and so much more. Now the largest film festival in Alberta, and the sixth largest in Canada, it’s well worth hitting up. The festival also offers an impressive Behind the Screen series that even includes renowned film critic Leonard Maltin and his daughter, Jessie Maltin.

“Not only does our audience love our broad selection of independent films that often don’t make it to the local mega-plex, festival-goers also enjoy the chance to see highly anticipated movies ahead of their wide release,” says Stephen Schroeder, Executive Director of the Calgary International Film Festival, in a statement.

So, what’s on our must-see list? Here are our top picks for this year’s Calgary International Film Festival:

Bad Reputation

September 21, 2018, 6:30pm & September 24, 2018, 9:30pm
Cineplex Eau Claire (200 Barclay Parade SW)
$13 – $15

A raucous journey through Joan Jett’s ground-breaking career, CKUA Radio teams up with Femme Wave Music and Arts Festival and Calgary Girls Rock Camp to present this documentary. The film follows her early years as founder of The Runaways, her first collaborations with Kenny Laguna, and ultimately, to her status as a rock icon.


September 21, 2018, 9:45pm & September 23, 2018, 12:30pm
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW) & Cineplex Eau Claire (200 Barclay Parade SW)
$13 – $15

In the apocalyptic near-future, where mining conglomerates have turned Canada into a wasteland, a young smuggler is forced to convince his older brother to get back on the “Grid” and help him deliver mysterious cargo. Catch the Globe Cinema screening on September 21 to see a Q&A with director Lowell Dean, cinematographer Michael Jari Davidson, and writer T.R. McCauley.


September 23, 2018, 3:20pm & September 27, 2018, 9:15pm
Cineplex Eau Claire (200 Barclay Parade SW)
$15 – $17

Director Wash Westmoreland follows his multiple award-winning film, Still Alice, with the inspirational and timely Colette. Based on the real-life story about the famous French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, the film stars Keira Knightley and has been a gem on the festival circuit.


September 23, 2018, 8:30pm & September 30, 3:15pm
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)
$13 – $15

Award-winning Canadian writer and director, Bruce Sweeney, returns to the 2018 Calgary International Film Festival with this Vancouver-set romantic comedy about suicide, infidelity, and in-laws. Fresh off its world premiere at TIFF, Sweeney will be in attendance for the September 23 screening alongside actor Jeff Gladstone.

Circle of Steel

September 25, 2018, 7:00pm & September 30, 2018, 11:00am
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW) & Cineplex Eau Claire (200 Barclay Parade SW)
$13 – $15

Featuring an all-Albertan soundtrack, Circle of Steel is a satirical and sympathetic portrait of life in the oil and gas field, through the eyes of a young new engineer Wendy Fong (played by Chantelle Han). From Calgary-based first-time feature filmmaker Gillian McKercher, swing by the September 25 screening and join a number of special guests.

Calgary Opera’s Magic Piano & the Chopin Shorts

September 28, 2018, 6:30 & 8:30pm
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (850 4th St. SE)
$15 – $25

Created by Oscar award-winning BreakThru films, Magic Piano tells the story of a girl and young boy’s adventure of discovery across Europe aboard a magic flying piano. A Calgary Opera premiere presented in conjunction with the Calgary International Film Festival and the Honens International Piano Competition, the performance is accompanied by live piano and includes four Chopin Shorts, each set to Chopin Études.

The Calgary International Film Festival runs September 19 to 30, 2018 and the full schedule can be found at calgaryfilm.com.