Red Rooms directed by Pascal Plante
Red Rooms

The Calgary International Film Festival 2023 unveiled the films in competition for Canadian Narrative Feature Award and DGC Canadian Documentary Feature Award.

The largest award presented is the RBC Emerging Canadian Artist Award, which includes a cash prize of $10,000 given to the Canadian director who creates the best first or second narrative feature film. The DGC Canadian Documentary Feature Award prize is $5,000, and new this year, the Air Canada Canadian Narrative Feature Award will include a cash prize of $5,000 as well.

“I’m always such a big fan of the Canadian Narrative films and being able to support our Canadian directors and sharing their stories with our audience. This years’ films have some of the most exciting titles that are filled with fun, quirky and vibrant characters, unique coming of age stories, rom-coms, as well as some titles falling into thriller, horror and crime. There’s a little bit for everyone here,” said Brenda Lieberman, CIFF Lead Programmer.

Calgary International Film Festival 2023 runs from September 21 – October 1, 2023.


ASOG, Directed by Seán Devlin 叶 世民 (Canada/Philippines)
Follows Rey, a 40-year-old non-binary teacher and typhoon survivor, on a road trip to fame. Canadian Premiere.

FITTING IN, Directed by Molly McGlynn (Canada)
Follows a teen’s journey post-diagnosis, as she navigates uncharted waters, redefining relationships and exploring unique solutions in the face of unexpected challenges. Alberta Premiere.

FLOAT, Directed by Sherren Lee (Canada/US)
A city girl rejected by her parents makes an impulsive decision to spend the summer at a small beach town with her estranged aunt. Alberta Premiere.

Sasha, an empathetic vampire, partners with suicidal teen Paul to fulfill his wishes before dawn, forging an unexpected bond in their race against time. Alberta Premiere.

I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE, Directed by M. H. Murray (Canada)
Struggling against time and financial constraints, a gay musician races to secure life-saving HIV medication after an assault, finding love and defying stigma in the process. Alberta Premiere.

I USED TO BE FUNNY, Directed by Ally Pankiw (Canada)
Sam, a stand-up comedian struggling with PTSD, weighs whether or not to join the search for a missing teenage girl she used to nanny. Alberta Premiere.

IN FLAMES, Directed by Zarrar Kahn (Canada / Pakistan)
When the family patriarch dies, a mother and daughter’s precarious existence meets a haunting past. They must find shared strength to survive the malevolent forces that threaten to engulf them. Alberta Premiere.

MY ANIMAL, Directed by Jacqueline Castel (Canada)
A small-town teenage goalie falls for the newcomer, an alluring but tormented figure skater. As their relationship deepens, her darkest secrets force her to control the animal within. Alberta Premiere.

THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS, Directed by Fawzia Mirza (Canada/ Pakistan)
Connected through a shared love of Bollywood, a distant mother and daughter come of age in two different eras. Alberta Premiere.

RED ROOMS, Directed by Pascal Plante (Canada)
A woman obsessed with a serial killer on trial goes down a dark path to seek the missing video of a murdered 13-year-old girl. Alberta Premiere.

RICHELIEU, Directed by Pier-Philippe Chevigny (Canada/ France)
Newly recruited as a French-to-Spanish translator in a factory that employs temporary labourers from Guatemala, a young woman takes a stand to defend the migrant workers from abuse. Alberta Premiere.

SOLO, Directed by Sophie Dupuis (Canada)
Simon must deal with the disappointment of two impossible loves: a passionate but destructive crush on Olivier and a distant and cold relationship with his mother. Alberta Premiere.

SUZE, Directed by Linsey Stewart & Dane Clark (Canada)
When her only daughter goes off to university, an empty nest mother gets stuck taking care of her daughter’s heartbroken ex-boyfriend, who she can’t stand. Alberta Premiere.

WILD GOAT SURF, Directed by Caitlyn Sponheimer (Canada)
In a rundown Okanagan RV park during the summer of 2003, Goat, a surfing-obsessed, twelve-year-old skater girl, navigates the unbridled, unstructured summer days of youth, dreaming about becoming a surfer. Alberta Premiere.


“The diversity of stories and styles in this year’s Canadian Documentaries reflects the multitude of voices telling these true stories, several of which have strong Alberta ties,” said Brian Owens, CIFF’s Artistic Director.

AITAMAAKO’TAMISSKAPI NATOSI: BEFORE THE SUN, Directed by Banchi Hanuse (Canada) Previously Announced in Alberta Spotlight
A portrait of a young Siksika woman as she prepares for one of the most dangerous horse races in the world. Alberta Premiere.

COVER YOUR EARS, Directed by Sean Patrick Shaul (Canada) Previously Announced in Music on Screen
A fascinating – and wildly entertaining – dissection of the history of music censorship. Calgary Premiere.

CYNARA, Directed by Sherien Barsoum (Canada)
The Canadian justice system is put on trial as a defense team and an investigative journalist challenge the murder conviction of a mother accused of killing her disabled daughter. Alberta Premiere.

I LOST MY MOM, Directed by Denys Desjardins (Canada)
In the form of a filmed diary, director Denys Desjardins documents the extraordinary sequence of events that drove his mother into a long-term care home. Alberta Premiere.

I’M JUST HERE FOR THE RIOT, Directed by Kathleen Jayme and Asia Youngman (Canada)
When violence erupted after the Vancouver Canucks Game 7 2011 Stanley Cup loss, it enrapt the world—partially because it appeared so un-Canadian—but mostly because it was the first “smartphone riot”. Alberta Premiere.

MR. DRESS-UP: THE MAGIC OF MAKE BELIEVE, Directed by Robert McCallum (Canada)
A heartfelt celebration of the life and work of Ernie Coombs, the iconic Canadian children’s television personality who encouraged generations of kids to be their best selves. Alberta Premiere.

SUBTERRANEAN, Directed by Francois-Xavier De Ruydts (Canada)
Over the course of one remarkable year, two gritty teams of hobbyist cavers are poised to break records for the longest and deepest caves in Canada. Alberta Premiere.

SUMMER QAMP, Directed by Jennifer Markowitz (Canada)
Every summer at Camp fYrefly—in the heart of southern Alberta—queer, non-binary, and trans teens get the chance to be their whole selves in a caring and supportive environment. Alberta Premiere.

SWAN SONG, Directed by Chelsea McMullan (Canada)
Chelsea McMullan takes us inside the National Ballet of Canada’s 2022 production of Swan Lake, directed and staged by the legendary Karen Kain. Alberta Premiere.

UNSYNCABLE, Directed by Megan Wennberg (Canada)
Unsyncable is a testament to perseverance, the resilience of the human spirit and our endless capacity for growth at any age. Alberta Premiere.

WE WILL BE BRAVE, Directed by Chrisann Hessing (Canada)
In Toronto, a group of racialized men known as “The Good Guise” are on a mission to dismantle toxic masculinity, using art to create radically-loving alternatives to shame and punishment. World Premiere.

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