Posted on September 6, 2017

We know, skimming through over 200 films can be fun but it can also be time-consuming. That is why the Calgary International Film Festival has put a call out to our trusty community members, volunteers, and even a few local celebrities to develop their very own Top 5 "Must See" lists for the 2017 festival


Our next list comes to us from Katrina Olson, a Calgary-based artist, culture curator, and influencer. In addition to curating, Katrina is the co-founder of Calgary's newest film festival – the Canadian International Fashion Film Festival (CANIFFF). Katrina's taste in film ranges from American Contemporary Cinema to European art house or experimental including her favourite genre, fashion film. Her favourite director is Pedro Almodóvar, and loves all of his work since his 1999 masterpiece ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER. Her love for Spanish Cinema extends beyond Almodóvar, including Mexican and South American directors from this past decade – she's all about the drama and tragedy with hints of humour in the most unexpected places.

Consider Katrina's list as the "Picks for the Fashion Forward" - someone who doesn't want to miss the most dramatic and glamorous films to hit the big screen, but also appreciates the smaller independent or art-focused projects that will pull on your heartstrings.

Check out Katrina's picks below:


1. LA LA LAND in Concert with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

As if the music in LA LA LAND wasn’t enchanting enough theatrically, you will have the opportunity to watch the film with the score performed live by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. This love story won six Academy Awards last year, it is a really wonderful film that moved me. LA LA LAND tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams. The film & concert takes place at Jack Singer Concert Hall on Thursday, September 21. 


BORG/MCENROE will have its world premiere as the Opening Night Film of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), but you can see it in Calgary just a few weeks later! I love Shia LeBeouf and I wish he did more films. It makes it really special when he is anything nowadays because his roles are so few and far between. I especially love how he has been choosing to work with some amazing European directors in the past few years (like Lars von Trier, Andrea Arnold and now Janus Metz). Now he is back with Swedish superstar Stellan Skarsgård (they were both in NYMPHOMANIC directed by Lars von Trier) who plays the coach in BORG/MCENROEBased on a true story, this film recounts the legendary 1980 Wimbledon match between fierce rivals Björn Borg and John McEnroe. With the match drawing near, the calm and methodical fan-favourite Borg contends with media scrutiny and pressure from his longtime coach Lennart (Stellan Skarsgård). Meanwhile, the hotheaded McEnroe fights against his underdog status while trying to reign in his temper. As the fierce matchup between these legends in tennis is finally settled on the court, BORG/MCENROE recounts the game that had the world at the edge of its seat.


I saw Shane Koyczan perform his spoken word poetry live in Calgary in 2015 at the Glenbow Museums previous fundraiser Schmancy. When Shane got up on stage and started his melodically timed spoken words, I was brought to tears because I had never heard anyone use words in such a way that eloquently expressed emotion. I will never forget it, and if you ever get the chance to see him live, you absolutely must. Until then, you should really watch this documentary SHUT UP AND SAY SOMETHING, which is both an introduction to his poetry and an exploration of his relationships with those around him. It highlights his journey of seeking reconciliation with his father who abandoned him at an early age, and how in order to accomplish this, Koyczan has to rely on his poetry’s vulnerability like never before.


If you know anything about me, you would know Spanish cinema is my most beloved genre of film. Last year I ugly cried solo at the Calgary International Film Festival watching JULIETA (the Pedro Almodóvar film). That was slightly embarrassing. Luckily this Spanish film is a comedy. THE QUEEN OF SPAIN pokes fun at Hollywood and Spain’s studio system in the mid-1950s. This film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February and was met with a long standing ovation, the film was nominated for five Goya Awards held this past March, including a nomination for Cruz as best actress.


Writer and Director Sean Baker’s follow-up to the 2015 breakthrough film TANGERINE (shot on an iphone 5S), THE FLORIDA PROJECT sets him apart, illustrating his ability to highlight complex topics with stunning cinematography and chemistry. Sean Baker is super talented and dynamic in his skills, so I would watch anything he writes and directs. In THE FLORIDA PROJECT six-year-old Moonee lives in the shadows outside Disney World with her unconventional family in this heartwarming look at childhood innocence. Willem Dafoe plays the property manager Bobby who becomes a friend and father figure the Moonee’s mother, a young woman struggling to provide a life for her and her daughter.


Individual tickets to all of Katrina's picks are available via the links above or you can buy packs and passes by clicking here.

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