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About Us

Our Story

CIFF operates on the traditional territories of the Treaty 7 region, which includes the Blackfoot First Nation tribes of Siksika, Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley and the Region 3 Metis Nation of Alberta. 

The first Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) was held in 2000 for six days and was attended by 8,000 people. Now, attendance has nearly quadrupled to ~30,000 for the expanded 11-day festival.

In 2023, CIFF celebrates its 24th year, September 21 - October 1. The 11-day showcase of over 200 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and around the world also hosts an Industry Week series that emphasizes unique and exciting ways for filmmakers and fans to interact.

Calgary International Film Festival is now the largest film festival in Alberta and the sixth-largest in Canada. It is also an Oscar-qualifying festival for short films, a Canadian Screen Award Qualifying festival, and was named one of "50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" in 2009, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2022, and 2023 by MovieMaker Magazine.

We also host Oscar-nominated Shorts screenings every February.


To learn more about our most recent festival, see our 2023 Festival Report.

Our Mission

The Calgary International Film Festival's mission is “to entertain and engage audiences by curating the most innovative and compelling films and creating remarkable festival experiences.”

Achieving our mission includes hosting a large number of participating filmmakers – both locally and from abroad – and connecting them with the audience through interactive post-screening Q&As, networking, panels and film talks.

We aim to be a place where filmmakers and fans can find each other, discuss and appreciate films, and discover not only new talent and audiences but new ways to connect over their love of film and get one-of-a-kind interactive viewing experiences that go beyond the screen.

We seek the most compelling, innovative, and noteworthy films, and present them in a festival format that is interesting, distinctive, and unique. Each year’s line-up is presented in sections that group the Festival's offerings into easily identifiable categories – Canadian Narrative Feature, Canadian Documentary, International Narrative, International Documentary, Special Presentations, Late Shift, Music on Screen and Shorts. We present a number of awards to outstanding films selected by our audiences and esteemed juries with cash and prizes.

The festival is an experience that takes place outside the theatre as well as in it, and we are constantly implementing new ideas to do that. From the Opening night to the final weekend, we have something for everyone – and whether you’ve attended before or you’re brand new to the Festival, we invite you to take part.

Our Impact

We screen films of every genre, selected from our backyard and around the world. Passion for film cuts across virtually every culture and demographic, making CIFF an exceptional opportunity for a truly inclusive artistic celebration.

The artistic and social value of a film festival is to celebrate visual storytelling in its most ideal context: cinematically on the big screen, in a way that brings together the artists and the audience in a lively atmosphere. No other form of film watching carries with it the celebration, shared experience, and creation of a community passionately engaged around the love of film.

As the largest film festival in the province, We are uniquely positioned as a leading champion for Alberta film.  For short film, our Alberta Spirit program celebrates the province’s best of the year and is a flagship event each year for audience and filmmakers. In 2020 we relaunched a special feature section called Alberta Spotlight.

Headed into its fifth year, Generation Next empowers Calgary high school students to choose films for the festival that are relevant to their generation. Featuring a diverse range of genres and stories from around the world, these films reflect the state of indie art cinema curated through a youth perspective for audiences young and old. 

This Festival's programming emphasizes discovery. We are proud to include a large number of first-time feature filmmakers in each year’s festival. By showing their work alongside that of established contemporaries from around the world, we celebrate the new energy and ideas they bring to the future of the art form, highlight how they contribute to the global culture of film, and make them an integral part of the exciting milieu of the festival.

Board Of Directors

Amish Morjaria
Kristin Anderson
Vice President
Sammi Ha
Zahra Allidina
Jil Macdonald
Azrah Manji-Savin
Kathryn Nyland
Kelly Pitaoulis
Quinton Rafuse
Terry Rock
Alan Ross
Elizabeth Middleton
Chelsea Hazewinkel
Eva Kanovich
Gurleen Gill

Past Board Chairs

Josh Marantz
Domenic Venturo
James Pettigrew
Joe Novak & Peter Wallis
D'Arcy Levesque
Kate Monaghan
Jill MacKenzie

Staff Members

Katherine Penhale
Acting Executive Director
Brian Owens
Artistic Director (Programmer: Canadian & International Documentary Features)
Lucia Juliao
Partnership Director
Amanda Mercado
Director of Philanthropy
Corrie-Ann Cardiff
Operations Manager
Clinton Hallahan
Marketing Manager
Brenda Lieberman
Lead Programmer & Jury Coordinator (World Cinema, Canadian Narrative, Late Shift)
Adam Keresztes
Program Administrator & Programmer (Shorts, Generation Next)
Celina Vides
Industry Specialist
Guy Lavallee
Programmer (Music on Screen, New American Cinema)
Eman Safadi
Shorts Programmer
Darian MacDonald
Industry Relations & Programming Assistant
Gaby Aguilar
Marketing Specialist
Jason Do
Engagement Coordinator
Matt McKinney
Content Specialist
Aldona Barutowicz
Ashley Menzies
Grants Associate
Courtney Smith
Special Events Associate
Steve Schroeder
Strategic Advisor
Phyllis Lizacich
Phillip Johnson
Randi Rhodes
Payroll Administrator
Michael Grondin
Head Photographer
Heather Saitz
Graphic Designer
Brian Cairns
Web Developer
Binder Productions
Screening Tech. Provider

Media & Interview Requests, Aldona Barutowicz

Sponsorship Opportunites, Lucia Juliao

General Inquiries

Programming Inquiries