Posted on September 9, 2019

Looking through almost 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 10 "Must See" lists for the 2019 festival. Use these lists as a jumping off point for deciding on your own picks for the year, and hey - don't worry about cross-pollinating. Feel free to make your own top 10 lists from these top 10 lists, and more! 

Kevin Schlauch is a Beltline resident, enthusiastic volunteer, public safety advocate, ultra marathoner, year-round bicycle commuter, craft beer drinker, and budgy smuggler. Kevin is a known advocate for cycling safety in Calgary. Last year, he won the title of Bike Commuter of the year after he was successful in his advocacy for the 42nd Ave Cycletrack project. He is also the Director of Transportation for the Beltline Neighbourhood Association. 


My earliest film memory is seeing Beaches in theatres at my friend Nicole's 8th birthday party. My favourite genre is "dark comedy where the protagonist dies at the end." I've cried during one of the Lethal Weapons, but you'll have to buy me a few drinks to get me to admit which one.

So yeah, I'm overwhelmed and under-qualified to blog about film. And it is film, right? To make sure, I recently read not one, not three, but two(!) articles about the difference between films and movies - because I didn't know which term to use - even though the F in Film makes up 25% of CIFF's acronym. Turns out these are films. 

OK, that's enough chit chat, let's get down to business. Here's a list of ten films I'm excited to see, and why.



I watched the trailer, watched the trailer immediately three more times, sent a link to the trailer to my all friends (if you got the link - good news, we're friends! If you didn't get the link, I'm sorry for being a bad friend), and bought a stack of tickets to share. In one text to a friend I mentioned that Greener Grass "has the potential to be - and I say this without hyperbole - the greatest achievement in the history of humankind." 


The likely outcome is that I’m going to try and see all the short film packages at CIFF this year, but if I have to pick one, I’ll combine my love of short films and my love of cartoons. I mean, I still watch Rocky & Bullwinkle regularly.


3. Toxic Beauty

Make-up is something I’ve never understood. Why do people wear it. Why do people feel like they have to wear it? How many people who wear it like wearing it? These probably sound like dumb questions because this privileged white man has a lot to learn - and this documentary is hopefully a step in that direction.


4. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

It’s a documentary about Miles Davis. Could you possibly need more hype? Fine, listen to “Madness” off Nefertiti. That’s always been one of my faves. If you wake up as early as I do and listen to what I listen to, you’re hearing jazz on CJSW most of the time - so you’ll wanna see this. And if you don’t, then this’ll fill a hole you didn’t even know you had.


5. White Snake

Mythical beasts?! Trickster demons?! Ancient legends?! Dark plots?! Hot snakes?!

This sounds like a film I’d like to watch with my D&D campaign. Although if my team were the stars of this film, Raj and I would run in and try to slay the White Snake while Darryl and Dave take pot shots from a safe distance, Allan shaking his head the whole time because now the story can’t happen thanks to our guild of weiners. Let’s watch this for an evening together instead, eh?


6. Honeyland

Bees! Bees! Beeeeeeeeeeeessssss! Just because I've never bee-kept or bee-whispered myself doesn't mean I'm not incredibly interested in bees. I'm also a fan of bee puns, but I'll bee-have myself and refrain from pollen your leg.


7. Blood Quantum

From Plan 9 From Outer Space and World War Z (the audiobook, not the movie) to Shaun of the Dead and The Walking Dead (the comic book, not the TV show), I tend to enjoy Zombie fare, but I'm always looking for new takes on the old narrative and this looks like one.


8. Bacurau

Political sci-fi western? This checks a lot of boxes for me. It almost sounds like there should be a Bruce Campbell cameo… almost. 

9. Dolemite Is My Name

This one attracts me as a music fan as much as it does a film fan. Blaxploitation soundtracks are some of my favourite albums (Across 110th Street, Coffy, Superfly, Foxy Brown, Trouble Man, etc). The original Dolemite soundtrack is dope, too. Seeing that this one comes from the director of Hustle & Flow (which also has a great soundtrack) is a bonus.


10. Vivarium

As a Calgarian who doesn’t own a car, the suburbs already seem like a work of science fiction. Reading the synopsis of Vivarium gives me equal thoughts of Radiant City, the Hank Scorpio episode of The Simpsons, and getting lost in the suburbs on bicycle adventures with my friend Calvin (it always happens… ALWAYS). Maybe I should give the suburbs more of a chance? Well, you know what they said in 1989's The 'Burbs, "No Thanks, Tom Hanks."

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