Calgary International Film Festival

CIFF Cineplex Odeon Calgary
CIFF Cineplex Odeon Calgary
12 Film Picks

Calgary International Film Festival

Maximize your festival experience with a pick for each day of the 2018 Calgary International Film Festival.
Tiffany Burns
Tiffany is the publicist for the Calgary International Film Festival, and gets an inside look into the films programmed each year. In addition to her work with the festival, Tiffany hosts BBTV Update – Calgary’s only entertainment news show on YouTube.

As Publicist for the Calgary International Film Festival, my role is to get the word out on all 178 films in this year’s festival. Trust me, I understand if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of choice.

People tend to have their go-to genres. Some cinephiles are dedicated to documentaries, while others love the gala glam. The Late Shows series appeals to those who enjoy dark and twisted thrills on the big screen, while other folks relish the opportunity to see foreign features that will never make it to the local megaplex.

If you’re someone who sticks to your lane when it comes to movies, why not try a different strategy this year? Bust out of your boundaries and embrace viewing variety by engaging in the full fest spectrum.

Here are my picks to help you maximize your festival experience, even on a time-crunch capacity of just one film a day.

Header image by Ben Tsui

The Sisters Brothers CIFF

The Sisters Brothers 

September 19 – The Sisters Brothers

If you can still snag a ticket, dress up and head to the Jack Singer Concert Hall for the chance to enjoy a film with 1500 other people at the Opening Gala screening. This year, the selection comes straight from Hollywood, with major movie stars like Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly, and Joaquin Phoenix. It also ticks a Canadian content box – the script based on the best-selling novel by Canadian author Patrick Dewitt.

Heavy Trip CIFF

Heavy Trip

September 20 – Heavy Trip

How often do you get to watch a movie in Finnish? Let alone a movie about an amateur heavy metal band called Impaled Rektum? You won’t even realize you’re reading subtitles – you’ll be laughing so much at this hilarious head-banging heartfelt story of a band’s adventure on the way to their first gig — after practicing for 12 years.

September 22 – The Woman Who Loves Giraffes

Long before Jane Goodall became famous for her gorilla studies, Anne Innis Dagg completed trailblazing research on giraffes in South Africa. This doc details the sexist attitude she faced upon her return home to Canada and how it affected the giraffes. Now in her 80s, Anne Dagg will be in attendance for the screening, along with Director Alison Reid and Producer Paul Zimic.

The Unicorn CIFF

The Unicorn

September 23 – The Unicorn

A hilarious, cringe-inducing look at an indecisive couple facing the fourth year of their engagement, this film is Sunday must-see. Their decision to have a threesome results in an awkward adventure that could make you look at your next trip to Palm Springs differently. Director Robert Schwartzman’s 2nd feature got major buzz at SXSW. Calgary will be its Canadian premiere.

Room Laundering CIFF

Room Laundering

September 24 – Room Laundering

Shy Miko has the perfect job as a room launderer. When a previous tenant has died of unnatural causes, such as murder or suicide, she stays on the property long enough to clear its manager from the legal requirement to inform future tenants of the tragedy. Miko’s only problem is she can see and talk to the dead. A quirky first feature from Japanese director Kenji Katagiri.

September 25 – The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution

Anyone who’s worked in the restaurant industry knows that cramped kitchens, high pressure and hot tempers can combine to create toxic conditions that make climbing the ladder to head chef daunting. Throw in rampant sexism, and it’s no surprise that there’s a decided deficit in the numbers of female chefs. Tired of watching culinary documentaries featuring zero women, filmmaker Maya Gallus focused her lens on seven acclaimed female chefs in this documentary.

Alberta Music Seen

Alberta Music Seen

September 26 – Alberta Music Seen

Do you still want your MTV? Even if that statement is mysterious anachronism to you, music video is alive and thriving. This year, Calgary Film’s Showcase Alberta focuses on Alberta’s music scene with a visual mix tape of locally produced music videos… Alberta Music Seen, get it? Head over to the King Eddy afterward for live music from artists featured in the screening.

Orange Days CIFF

Orange Days

September 27 – Orange Days

From Iranian documentary-director-turned feature-filmmaker Arash Lahooti, this fictional debut tells the story of the only female contractor in a cutthroat and male-dominated orange harvesting industry. Set in a country where headscarves are mandatory for women, actor Hedieh Tehrani’s portrayal of this film’s strong female lead is a step in the right direction.

Alive CIFF


In Conversation With: Leonard Maltin & Jessie Maltin CIFF

In Conversation With: Leonard Maltin & Jessie Maltin

September 28 – Alive

Produced and shot locally, this is the creepy tale of two injured people who wake up in an abandoned hospital, looked after by a sadistic caretaker who refuses to explain the truth about their identities. Director Rob Grant, who freaked us out with his mockumentary Fake Blood at last year’s festival, will be in attendance. This is part of the Late Shows series, but not too late at 9:15 pm.

September 29 – In Conversation With: Leonard Maltin & Jessie Maltin

If you have time for just one screening today, skip it, and head to see Leonard Maltin instead. He and his daughter Jessie are making the trip to Calgary to take part in Behind the Screen, the festival’s series of cool events and panel discussions. Before Rotten Tomatoes, film critics like Leonard Maltin reviewed movies the old-school way: on TV and in the papers. Hear how he’s adapting to the world of new media. And save your money for the popcorn — this event is free.

September 30 – Best of Shorts

With 75 shorts from 13 countries programmed this year, it can be tough to choose which package to see. Best of Shorts does the choosing for you and is always a packed house. Afterward, hit the Awards Party to celebrate your maximized festival experience. Cash money prizes will be given to filmmakers, and the person who sees the most movies will scoop an airline travel voucher worth $1000 U.S. greenbacks. The fest-ivities (zing!) will be at Junction conveniently located across the street from the Globe Theatre.

The Calgary International Film Festival runs from September 19 to September 30, 2018. Follow along with Tiffany Burns through the Festival on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.