MAUDIE, Aisling Walsh
MAUDIE, Aisling Walsh

The Calgary International Film Festival‘s Fourth Wave of films screening at the 2016 festival includes the five Gala Films that will attract some of the festival’s most exciting guests and red-carpet, black carpet and green carpet action.

The festival will open with the MAUDIE directed by Aisling Walsh, and close with CHOKESLAM directed by Robert Cuffley. Other Gala films include the Canadian Gala screening of TWO LOVERS AND A BEAR directed by Kim Nguyen, the Green Carpet Gala screening of BUGS ON THE MENU directed by Ian Toew, and the Black Carpet Gala screening of VAN HELSING directed by Michael Nankin.

2016 Calgary International Film Festival Gala Films

Opening Gala: MAUDIE (Dir. Aisling Walsh)
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Wednesday, September 21, 7:30 pm
This romance biopic celebrates the life and career of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. Based on a true story, MAUDIE charts the unlikely romance between Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins, HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, BLUE JASMINE) and the reclusive Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke, BEFORE MIDNIGHT, TRAINING DAY). Residing in Nova Scotia, Maudie rose to fame in the 1960s, becoming an internationally celebrated artist while living with crippling juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Canadian Gala: TWO LOVERS AND A BEAR (Dir. Kim Nguyen)
Theatre Junction GRAND, Thursday, September 22, 7:00 pm
New to CIFF this year, the Canadian Gala is a celebration of all the things that make our country great – from sea, to sea, to sea.

This romance set in the remote Arctic stars ORPHAN BLACK’S Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan (THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES). Near the North Pole, in a modern Nunavut town of 200 souls, minus-50 weather is the norm and the roads lead to nowhere but the endless white. With the remote “Great White” as the eerie and visually stunning backdrop, Lucy and Roman, two young tormented souls, fall in love. Written and directed by Academy Award®-nominated Kim Nguyen (REBELLE/WAR WITCH), the hauntingly beautiful TWO LOVERS AND A BEAR stars the spectacular landscape of Canada’s north as a character in itself, and shares this amazing story about young lovers living in the contemporary Arctic.

Green Carpet Gala: BUGS ON THE MENU (Dir. Ian Toews)
Globe Cinema, Tuesday, September 27, 7:00 pm
Highlighting an acclaimed environmental film, the Green Carpet Gala celebrates sustainability.

The sound of crickets isn’t always a good thing, but to the entrepreneurs of Entomo Farms, it’s the sound of their rapidly growing business. The Goldin brothers raise cricket protein for human consumption, and they’ve seen their farm grow tenfold in two years. The surge of interest has been sparked by a 200-page UN report outlining the health and environmental benefits of insect protein that has been downloaded 7 million times. BUGS ON THE MENU follows startup companies, such as Entomo Farms, Chapul and Six Foods, and highlights how these and other restaurateurs, cricket farmers, scholars and scientists are part of a movement to normalize insect eating in the West as an alternative to traditional, resource-intensive meat.

Black Carpet Gala: VAN HELSING (Produced by Chad Oakes and Michael Frislev, of Calgary-based Nomadic Pictures; Dir. Michael Nankin)
Globe Cinema, Thursday, September 29, 7:00 pm

The Black Carpet gala features a high-profile genre film (horror, fantasy or thriller) and is followed by one of the best and most unusual parties of the festival.

In a festival first, this year the Black Carpet Gala will screen the first two episodes of a television show, before they premiere in Canada. Four lead stars – including Kelly Overton (TRUE BLOOD), Jonathan Scarfe (RAISING THE BAR), Christopher Heyerdahl (HELL ON WHEELS, TWILLIGHT) and David Cubitt (MEDIUM) – have already confirmed they will be in Calgary to walk the black carpet.

VAN HELSING is produced locally by the award-winning Nomadic Pictures. Based in Calgary, Nomadic has previously offered fan favorites like FARGO and HELL ON WHEELS. In the near future, vampires have risen up against humanity and a war rages between the two factions. Having lost nearly everything, the humans are pushed underground and to the edges of survival – until a new hero emerges in Vanessa Helsing (Kelly Overton, TRUE BLOOD), a distant relative to her vampire-hunting ancestor. With modern twists on the steampunk original, it’s a gory and action-packed offering for this year’s Black Carpet Gala.

Closing Gala: CHOKESLAM (Dir. Robert Cuffley)
Theatre Junction GRAND, Sunday, October 2, 6:30 pm


Corey Swanson (Chris Marquette ) has problems. He’s almost 30, still lives in his mom’s basement, doesn’t date, and his career amounts to slicing meat in an archaic deli that no one ever comes to – unless they want to rob it. After a chance encounter with popular former classmate Luke (Michael Eklund), Corey learns that that his high school crush turned pro wrestler Sheena Halliday (Amanda Crew) will soon be in town for their 10-year reunion. Shot in Saskatchewan and including a role played by WWE wrestler Mick Foley, the latest feature film from Calgary Director Robert Cuffley is a comedic tale of reconnecting with your high school crush, and the perils of dating a female wrestler with a bad temper.

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