Calgary International Film Festival
Catch Weirdos, an offbeat coming-of-age comedy-drama, at CIFF | Image: Courtesy of Films We Like

Calgary International Film Festival

Stars and screenings collide for another fantastic year

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Price $13 - $300
Buy Tickets

After nearly seven weeks of announcements and building excitement, the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) is upon us with 12 days of gala events, screenings, special presentations and more.

For 2016 CIFF will be showcasing 210 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and over 40 other countries. The festival is even hosting a new Behind the Screen series that emphasizes unique and exciting ways for filmmakers and fans to interact including a tour of the new Calgary Film Centre.

“The Calgary International Film Festival is getting better and better, and growing on so many different levels,” says CIFF Executive Director Steve Schroeder, in a statement. “Last year, CIFF set an all-time box office and attendance record with 35,000 fans attending the 12-day festival. This year, we will continue to expand the excitement with a tremendous array of films, galas, filmmakers and special guests in attendance.”

And, fitting in the year of music, the long-standing Music on Screen series is certainly a highlight.

“One of the really cool themes that has emerged in the Music On Screen series this year is a number of films that shine the spotlight on those who don’t necessarily get all the glory,” says CIFF Music On Screen Features Programmer Guy Lavallee, in a statement. “From session musicians to sidemen; from innovators to ground breakers, this year’s films celebrate some of our generation’s greatest musicians—some of whom are household names… and some of whom soon will be.”

In a festival first, The American Epic Sessions will be shown at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre on September 28.

Of course there’s a ton more to check out in CIFF’s vast programming but as always, picking and choosing is so difficult. So, what’s on our must-see list? Here are our top picks for this year’s CIFF:

Best of Shorts

September 24, 2016, 7:00pm
Globe Theatre (617 8th Ave. SW)

We love the art of shorts and you can catch the best of the best at CIFF. See the top nine films vying for cash prizes and Academy Award consideration thanks to the festival being Oscar-accredited for short films in the Animated and Narrative categories.

Limit Is the Sky

September 26, 2016, 6:30pm & September 28, 2016, 4:30pm
Globe Theatre (617 8th Ave. SW) & Cineplex Eau Claire (200 Barclay Parade SW)

The world premiere of Limit Is the Sky is certainly on our list. This Alberta-produced National Film Board of Canada (NFB) feature documentary explores the lives of a diverse group of millennials in search of money, identity and success, whose paths lead them to Fort McMurray. Shot over several years, Director Julia Ivanova will be in attendance at the September 26 screening.

Limit is the Sky | Video: NFB

The Eyes of my Mother

September 27, 2016, 10:15pm & September 29, 2016, 4:30pm
Globe Theatre (617 8th Ave. SW)

This award-winning film is part of the Late Shows series and looks to be truly haunting. Shot in crisp black and white, Francisca’s mother teaches her to understand anatomy and be unfazed by death but her longing to connect with the world around her takes on a distinctly dark form.


September 30, 2016, 7:15pm & October 2, 2016 4:45pm
Globe Theatre (617 8th Ave. SW)

Part of the Canadian Cinema series, Weirdos reunites two of Canada’s most original and prolific talents—Screenwriter Daniel MacIvor and Director Bruce McDonald. In it audiences meet 15-year-old Kit (Dylan Authors), who is determined to run away from his small town Nova Scotian home where he lives with his dad and grandmother (played by Allan Hawco and Cathy Jones). McDonald will be in town for the September 30 screening.


October 2, 2016, 7:15pm
Cineplex Eau Claire (200 Barclay Parade SW)

A film that’s been getting a lot of Oscar buzz, Moonlight has been called a groundbreaking exploration of masculinity. It tells the story of a young man’s struggle to find himself in his depressed hometown.

The Calgary International Film Festival runs September 21 to October 2, 2016 and the full schedule can be found at