CIFF 2019 Full Lineup and Opening Gala Announced

Posted on August 21, 2019





Cannes & Berlin Festival Award Winners plus Academy Award Contenders

Albertan & Local Filmmakers Celebrated

Opening & Closing Gala star-studded films and the brand new Block Party!


Tickets On General Sale 10 a.m. Friday, August 23


With close to 200 films announced today, including the return of Music on Screen and Shorts packages, the Calgary International Film Festival is excited to highlight some of the films for the 2019 festival taking place September 18 to September 29. From ASSHOLES: A THEORY, a timely investigation into a worldwide behaviour inspired by the New York Times bestseller book by Aaron James; the unvarnished truth of police life in COPPERS and the true story of three young men with disabilities fleeing their overbearing parents on a road trip in COME AS YOU ARE; to TOXIC BEAUTY lifting the lid on the cosmetics industry's ugly secrets and the unlikely friendship between a young boy and a Korean War vet in DRIVEWAYS; this years’ line up embodies the mosaic of our society, taking people on a journey of discovery.


CIFF kicks off their 20th anniversary festivities with the annual Opening Gala. The Gala will take place on Wednesday, September 18 at The Jack Singer Concert Hall, where festival patrons can celebrate CIFF20 with a screening of THE SONG OF NAMES. Starring Tim Roth and Clive Owen, THE SONG OF NAMES is another musical epic crafted by director François Girard (THE RED VIOLIN) and an emotional detective story spread over two continents and a half century surrounding the lead-up to and impact of The Holocaust. 

Attendees at this year’s festival can also expect to see some much-anticipated Film Festival Award winners. Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE, an exhilarating mix of suspense and satire is one of the year’s must-see films and winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes -  the first Korean film to win the award. 


Also screening is SYNONYMS, a bold and energetic love letter to Paris which took home the 2019 Golden Bear, the top award at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale); BACURAU, a smart multi-layered Brazilian political allegory and winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival; and PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, directed by Céline Sciamma, the first woman to win Best Screenplay and the Queer Palme at the Cannes Film Festival for a sensuous tale about a painter and her subject.


Highlights from this year’s Headliner films include Oscar-winner Renée Zellweger returning to the Best Actress race in the musical biopic JUDY which follows legendary performer Judy Garland as she arrives in London in 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts; MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL a riveting documentary about Miles Davis’ remarkable life; and FRANKIE starring Isabelle Huppert and Marisa Tomei grappling with a life-changing experience during one day of vacation in Sintra, Portugal. 


Not only will attendees have the opportunity to see a decorated list of award-winning films, also included on the CIFF docket are documentaries tipped by the respected Indie Wire magazine to be award contenders. ONE CHILD NATION, this fearless, Sundance award-winning exposé unmasks the wrenching costs to millions of families of China’s infamous “one-child-policy”; FOR SAMA, which is dubbed one of the year’s most important and powerful documentaries follows a young Syrian mother as she creates a tender video diary for her baby daughter as a war rages; and HONEYLAND a triple Sundance award-winning documentary following Europe's last female bee-hunter as her peaceful existence is disrupted by some unruly new neighbours. 


CIFF continues the celebration and support for locally made films with 38 Canadian films screening at this year’s festival. Films include ROOT OF THE PROBLEM, a locally produced IATSE 212 family film about a money growing tree; Z is about the divide in childhood and adulthood directed by Calgary native Brandon Christensen; and AMERICAN WOMAN, directed by Calgary’s own Semi Chellas, which is based on the Patty Hearst affair and tells the story of a young political activist in the early 1970s who helps care for a group of America's most wanted fugitives.


CIFF rounds out the celebrations with the annual Closing Gala which will screen two films at Globe Cinema on Saturday, September 28, the penultimate day of the festival. The first film, GUEST OF HONOUR, sees the return of Canadian master and CIFF alumnus Atom Egoyan and features a stirring performance from David Thewliss. The second film will be announced soon.


An exciting new addition to the Closing Gala will be a throwback to 2006 - a 20th Anniversary Block Party, the afterparty for the Gala. Joining in on the celebrations are Stephen Ave favourites Paper 


St, Junction Stage + Bar, The Derrick, and State & Main with custom cocktails, music, special pop-ups, and industry guests in attendance. Block Party ticket-holders will receive a wristband that will grant them access to all participating bars and the street will be closed off to the general public with fun activations taking place. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 20th Anniversary Closing Party celebration! 


For a full list of announced films please visit

Tickets go on general sale 10am Friday, August 23. Tickets are $17 for Headliners, $15 for regular screenings. Lunchtime Shorts and films starting before 6:30pm Monday-Friday are $10.

For more information or to book interviews contact:
Nadine bibi, Marketing Director, The Calgary International Film Festival

About the Calgary International Film Festival

The Calgary International Film Festival (Calgary Film) is a 12-day showcase of up to 200 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and over 40 other countries. The festival hosts gala events, screenings, special presentations, and a Behind the Screen series that emphasizes unique and exciting ways for filmmakers and fans to interact.

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