About Us

Our Story

The first Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) was held in 2000 for six days, and was attended by 8,000 people. Within three years, attendance had more than doubled to over 20,000 for the expanded 10-day festival.

Today, CIFF 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.

With steady growth over the past three years, in 2016 CIFF set a record attendance for the 12-day festival, hitting 36,700 attendees, representing a 4% increase in attendance over the previous year. Film Submissions have more than tripled over the past four years, to over 2,000 in 2016.

CIFF is now the largest film festival in Alberta, and is the sixth largest in Canada. It is also an Oscar-qualifying festival for short films and was recently named one of "50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2016" by MovieMaker Magazine.

Audiences are responding – In our 2016 post-festival survey, 98% of respondents stated “I had fun attending”, and virtually everyone who attended says the festival either met or exceeded their expectations. 

In addition to the festival, CIFF presents other film events year-round, including Doc Soup Calgary, a six-month screening series of award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary films presented in conjunction with the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival.

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To learn more about our most recent festival download our 2016 Festival Report.

Our Mission

CIFF’s mission is “to entertain and engage audiences by curating the most innovative and compelling films, and creating remarkable festival experiences.”

Achieving our mission includes hosting a large number of participating filmmakers – both locally and from abroad – and connecting them with the audience through interactive post-screening question and answer periods, networking at our events, and through panels and film talks open to the general public.
We aim to be a place where filmmakers and fans can find each other, discuss and appreciate films, and discover not only new talent and audiences, but new ways to connect over their love of film, and get one-of-a-kind interactive viewing experiences that go beyond the screen.

We seek the most compelling, innovative, and noteworthy films, and present them in a festival format that is interesting, distinctive, and unique. Each year’s line-up is presented in series that group CIFF’s offerings into easily identifiable categories – Canadian, American, World Cinema, Documentaries, Music on Screen, Late Shows and Shorts. We present a number of awards to outstanding films selected by our audiences and esteemed juries.

The festival is an experience that takes place outside the theatre as well as in it, and we are constantly implementing new ideas to do that. From the Opening Gala to the final weekend with its Closing Gala, we have something for everyone – and whether you’ve attended before or you’re brand new to CIFF, we invite you to take part.

Our Impact

We screen films of every genre, selected from our backyard and around the world. Passion for film cuts across virtually every culture and demographic, making CIFF an exceptional opportunity for a truly inclusive artistic celebration.

The artistic and social value of a film festival is to celebrate visual storytelling in its most ideal context: cinematically on the big screen, in a way that brings together the artists and the audience in a lively atmosphere. No other form of film watching carries with it the celebration, shared experience and creation of community passionately engaged around the love of film.

CIFF’s programming emphasizes discovery. We are proud to include a large number of first-time feature filmmakers in each year’s festival. By showing their work alongside that of established contemporaries from around the world, we celebrate the new energy and ideas they bring to the future of the art form, highlight how they contribute to the global culture of film, and make them an integral part of the exciting milieu of the festival.

As the largest film festival in the province, CIFF is uniquely positioned as a leading champion for Alberta film. A meaningful share of the program is from Calgary, and we devote at least one gala each year to an Alberta feature. For short film, our Alberta Spirit program celebrates the province’s best of the year, and is a flagship event each year for audience and filmmakers.

The Board of Directors

  • James Pettigrew | President
  • Domenic Venturo | Past President
  • Peter Wallis | Secretary
  • Jill MacKenzie | Treasurer
  • Joe Novak | Vice President
  • Teresina Bontorin | Director
  • Matthew Beswick | Director
  • Murray Ord | Director
  • Darren Zwack | Director
  • Brent Buechler | Director
  • Kate Monaghan | Director
  • Lisha Hassanali | Director
  • Doug Wong | Director
  • Janice Harrington | Director

Staff

Executive Director

Steve Schroeder

Programming Manager & Features Programmer

Brenda Lieberman

Business Development Manager

Jennifer Cecconi

Marketing & Communications Manager

Laura Carlson

Finance & Administration Manager

Alicia White

Customer Experience Manager

Joshua Dalledonne

Filmmaker Experience Manager

Taylor Ross

Technical Screening Manager

Cole Binder

Features Programmer – Series Lead on World Cinema

Sachin Gandhi

Features Programmer – Series Lead on American Cinema and Music on Screen

Guy Lavallee

Features Programmer – Series Lead on Documentaries

Alex Rogalski

Shorts Programmer

Karilynn Thompson

Shorts Programmer

Brennan Tilley

Youth by Youth Cinema Coordinator

Cathy McKee

Film Programming Administrator

Jennifer Crighton

Business Development Coordinator

Ashley Menzies

Festival Accountant

Christian Argyll

Bingo Coordinator

Barry Johnston

Box Office Coordinator

Leonard Conlin