Calgary International Film Festival announced this year’s new Alberta Spotlight Section includes 10 features and the return of the Alberta Spirit Shorts Package for the 21st Annual Festival, taking place September 24 to October 4, 2020 online across the entire province of Alberta and in-cinema in downtown Calgary.
“It’s been an incredibly strong year for local film. With 111 Alberta film submissions, it was by far the largest number we’ve had to consider. To show off our local crews, writers, directors and Alberta locations, we created a brand new feature and short film section, Alberta Spotlight. In addition to our in-cinema screenings in Calgary, we’re delighted to share these films with new audiences across the whole Province with online streaming” said Brenda Lieberman, CIFF’s Lead Programmer
PARALLEL MINDS, Directed by Benjamin Ross Hayden
An Indigenous thriller about love, ego, redemption and corporate greed, by Calgary director Benjamin Ross Hayden (THE NORTHLANDER).
In 2027, the latest version of Red Eye, a contact lens which can record and see past memories is about to be released. On the eve of a presentation with the visionary inventor, Margo’s friend Elise (Michelle Thrush, TRIBAL, THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE) dies in her lab. Margo (TommieAmber Pirie, JAMES VS HIS FUTURE SELF), a Metis researcher is determined to find her killer.
DARK CLOUD, Directed by Matt Embry
Calgarian and CIFF Audience Award recipient Matt Embry (LIVING PROOF) returns to the festival with an important documentary about Amanda Todd, a young Canadian teenager who committed suicide in 2012. Following her death, a video she had posted to Youtube about being bullied and blackmailed went viral around the world.
EVENTS TRANSPIRING BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER A HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME, Directed by Ted Stenson
The feature film debut from Calgary-based director/writer Ted Stenson, is a funny, endearing and unconventional take on the all-too conventional sports narrative. Featuring Andrew Phung (KIM’S CONVENIENCE), the film features a teen cast of first-time and experienced actors and a soundtrack sourced from Calgary’s beloved 90s punk, emo, and rock bands…and of course, Jann Arden.
As the Middleview Ducks boys basketball team prepares for another loss, the dramas around the game become more of a focus than the score. As the mundane realities of high school rise to the forefront, the characters strive to reach their ambitions and accept their inadequacies.
JASMINE ROAD, Directed by Warren Sulatycky
Shot in and around Calgary (Longview, Black Diamond), this is a really well crafted, heartwarming, sophomore film by Calgary-based writer/director Warren Sulatycky (APRIL IN AUTUMN).
In the town of Red River, Mac Bagley, a widowed rancher in his sixties, opens his home to Syrian refugee Layla and her family. Withstanding some opposition in the conservative town, the family struggles to gain new footing. While waiting for news of her missing husband, Layla introduces Mac to her Muslim culture. She proposes they partner in opening an Arabic “booza ice cream” shop to help them both move forward.
JOHN WARE RECLAIMED, Directed by Cheryl Foggo [World Premiere]
Cheryl Foggo engages in an archival, genealogical, and archaeological search around John Ware’s life.
JOHN WARE RECLAIMED follows filmmaker Foggo on her quest to uncover the complex story of John Ware, a Black cowboy and rancher who settled in Alberta. As she endeavors to dig past the racist myths and mistellings surrounding Ware, she recalls her childhood in Calgary, her own experiences of racism, and her family’s history as part of the 1910 migration to western Canada to escape violence in the southern United States.
Five other feature films are included in the Alberta Spotlight:
BRIGHT HILL ROAD, Directed by Robert Cuffley
THE CURSE OF AUDREY EARNSHAW, Directed by Thomas Robert Lee
MARLENE, Directed by Wendy Hill-Tout
COME TRUE, Directed by Anthony Scott Burns
VAGRANT, Directed by Caleb Ryan
ALBERTA SPIRIT SHORTS
(RE)CLAIMING INDIAN STATUS, Directed by Lese Skidmore
This documentary digs into the stories of Indigenous women and families to reclaim their Indian Status through their fight for the elimination of sex-discrimination in the Indian Act. Skidmore sheds light on the generational impact of colonialism and the loss of Indigenous kinship and identity for many individuals, families and communities.
BERLIN CASTRO, Directed by Gabe Romero
Employees at a publishing house destroy an important manuscript and must create a forgery to avoid being fired. Albert and Soyung work throughout the night trying to piece together the remains exploring the complicated relationship between a translator and poetry.
BERTA BOYS, Directed by Kyle Terrence
DICHROME, Directed by Weston Snider
THE MOTHER, Directed by Kaytlyn Turner
SPIRIT, Directed by Braden Dereniwski
KEY OF T, Directed by Ashley Chugg
WE ARE CRUSH, Directed by Julia Gunst