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SpaceBoy directed by Olivier Pairoux
SpaceBoy directed by Olivier Pairoux

Calgary International Film Festival 2021 announced the Generation Next and Youth By Youth films chosen by 9 local high school students. Featuring a diverse range of genres and stories from around the world, these six films reflect the state of indie cinema as curated through a youth perspective. For audiences of all ages, these films will screen as part of the festival, from September 23 to October 3, 2021.

“It was such an honor to be a part of the team and work alongside an incredible group of people. I found it so fascinating how we all came from different backgrounds, had different interests and passions, and were able to share our personal opinions on a number of different films,” said Alexis Hope, 18-year-old graduate from Foundations for the Future Charter Academy who was a part of this year’s festival team curating the Generation Next selections.

Generation Next has helped CIFF foster youth education, volunteerism and increase Calgary’s cultural vibrancy. The Generation Next Section films are also available for viewing for all CIFF patrons throughout the festival at the regular ticket price.


ALONE, Directed by Paul Tom
Over 400 children arrive alone at the Canadian border to seek asylum every year. Scared for their lives, Afshin, Alain and Patricia left their home countries without their parents, setting off on a difficult journey that led them to Canada.

FIGHTER, Directed by YUN Jéro
After a few months of social adjustment training, North Korean refugee Jina moves to a small studio in Seoul to start her new life. She needs money to bring her father to South Korea but no matter how hard she works, discrimination stops her from saving enough money. One day, her broker gets her a cleaning job at a boxing gym. Seeing young and confident female boxers, Jina feels something burning inside…

MASHA, Directed by Anastasiya Palchikova
Thirteen-year-old Masha has grown up between the boxing ring and the streets of provincial Russian town in the turbulent 90’s. Her closest friends are young gangsters who kill, rob, steal and are loathed by the entire town. But in the young girl’s eyes they are the salt of the Earth, the family that loves and protects her. Masha discovers a taste for jazz and dreams of becoming a singer. Ultimately, she realizes who the men around her truly are, and what they had done to her family. Once grown up, Masha leaves her hometown for Moscow in an attempt to start a new life, but when the past catches up with her, Masha is forced to return to the place where she spent her childhood.

RAISE THE BAR, Directed by Guðjón Ragnarsson
In 2015 a girls basketball team was formed in Iceland by Brynjar Karl Sigurðsson, a coach who was experienced, unconventional, and constantly raising the bar. Early on, they set their goals high. They would compete with the best team, and with that ambition, they were victorious competing in both girls and boys tournaments. That is, until they were no longer allowed to compete with the boys. RAISING THE BAR is a story of eight 13-year-old girls who wanted to change the paradigm of women’s basketball, no matter the cost.

SPACEBOY, Directed by Olivier Pairoux
Arriving in a new town with his aerospace engineer dad, Jim, a gifted 11-year-old boy, has to participate in a young scientist competition with his new classmate, Emma. Pursuing his father’s dream of going to space, Jim convinces Emma to secretly build a real hot air balloon, dragging her into an adventure.

WAKE UP ON MARS, Directed by Dea Gjinovci
As his sisters suffer from resignation syndrome, a coma-inducing condition that mainly affects child refugees, 11-year-old Furkan attempts to cope with their illnesses by imagining he is an astronaut headed for mars.


A selection of Canadian short films created and submitted by youth under 18, not only will their films screen at the festival, the jury award winner of this section will receive a $500 CAD Youth by Youth Canada Short Film Award, a $2,500 Gift Certificate from White’s for their next film and a Scholarship to Vancouver Film School valued at up to $18,000!

IN THE WEEDS, Directed by Nick Milczarczyk
A teenage girl suspects a local gardener’s involvement in the unsolved disappearance of their childhood friend.

LILLY GOES TO THE DOGS, Directed by The Bum Family
Lilly, a 10-foot tall orange monster, visits the Victoria Dog Show, but her friend Fluffle gets sequestered in the mutt pen! Will Lilly take Best in Show?

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