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 had more than quadrupled to over 35,000 for the expanded 11-day festival.
In 2020, CIFF celebrated its 21st year, September 24 - October 4. The 11-day showcase of 180 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and around the world also hosted a Behind the Screen series that emphasized unique and exciting ways for filmmakers and fans to interact. For the first time, our virtual cinema program was available for audiences across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Calgary International Film Festival is now the largest film festival in Alberta and is 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 by MovieMaker Magazine.
In addition to Calgary International Film Festival, we present three film series year-round: MoS Docs, a series dedicated to showcasing the year's most talked and compelling music documentaries from around the world, Top Docs, a six-month screening series of award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary film and our third series introduced in 2019, Global Perspectives, a new contemporary world cinema series. We also host an Oscar-Nominated Shorts Weekend every February.
To learn more about our most recent festival download our 2020 Festival Report.
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, and through panels and film talks open to the general public.
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, Official Selection, and Shorts. We present a number of awards to outstanding films selected by our audiences and esteemed juries with cash and prizes totaling over $24,500.
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.
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 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 fourth 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 - of which five are announced today - 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.