Posted on January 8, 2018

They select the movies for the Calgary International Film Festival, and now our team of programmers share their Top 10 films of 2017. Still not sure what films you need to catch up on from the past year? Take it from our curators – these are films that you'll want to seek out as we say goodbye to the year that was 2017.  

Shorts Programmer Brennan Tilley shares his Top Films of 2017.


2017 was another great year for films. I still have not caught up with a few of the audience favourites from this year's festival. As I reflected on the year and made my list I found that most of the films that stuck with me as favourites were ones that I went in without advance knowledge of. I think this speaks to the joy that comes from taking chances on films at festivals.

My Top 10 split into features and shorts


1. BAND AID directed by Zoe Lister-Jones
This film is pure joy. Music + Relationship Strife + Comedy is the perfect equation for making a film I love.
BAND AID is streaming on Netflix

2. GET OUT directed by Jordan Peele
This debuted with a bang as a secret screening at Sundance. Jordan Peele took familiar genre beats and infused them with new tensions, subversive humour and nuance.

3. THE SHAPE OF WATER directed by Guillermo del Toro
Another film that plays that expertly utilizes tropes while treading its own path. Feels at once familiar and thoroughly original.
THE SHAPE OF WATER is playing in Calgary at Cineplex Chinook

A neo-noir thriller with the perfect mix of quirk and grit.

5. BEST F(R)IENDS directed by Justin MacGregor
Of all of the films I saw this year this is the least apt to be captured in a few sentences. Tommy Wiseau's skewed worldview and quest for pathos are effectively utilized in a film markedly more competently made than THE ROOM. A singular movie-going experience.


1. DEKALB ELEMENTARY directed by Reed Van Dyk
A tightly focused drama based on a real school shooting incident. Acute performances capturing the calmness that can be at the centre of diffusing these incidents

2. NO OTHER WAY TO SAY IT directed by Tim Mason
A highly relatable situation with laugh out loud moments.

Watch No Other Way To Say It from ONE at Optimus on Vimeo.

3. FACING MECCA directed by Jan-Eric Mack
Calgary had the Canadian Premiere of this short that is now on the 10 film Academy Award shortlist. A portrait of two men from different backgrounds navigating bureaucracy and tragedy.

4. GREAT CHOICE directed by Robin Comisar
The distress of being trapped in a Red Lobster commercial parallels the distress my body feels eating at Red Lobster

5. BRAD CUTS LOOSE directed by Christopher Good
No film I saw this year had more of an effect on my outlook on life than this. Work hard, party considerably harder, be wary of your fantasies coming true.

Watch Brad Cuts Loose from Christopher Good on Vimeo.

Honourable Mentions (Features):
THE BIG SICK directed by Michael Showalter
THE DISASTER ARTIST directed by James Franco
A GHOST STORY directed by David Lowery Available on Netflix

Honourable Mentions (Shorts):
AFTER LIFE directed by Prisca Bouchet and Nick Mayow
FRY DAY directed by Laura Moss
PILLOW TALKING (Lil Dicky music video) directed by Tony Yacenda
Special mention for LOST FACE, winner of Alberta Spirit Award in 2016 thus not in consideration for my 2017 list. It recently was selected to the shortlist of 10 live action shorts in Academy Award consideration.

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