August 30 is one of our favourite days here at the Calgary International Film Festival offices - the day we release our full lineup of films and our programming schedule! We've been building up to this for months, and we're very excited to share this year's excellent selection of home-grown and international films with all of you.
One of the major announcements is our Opening Gala pick. We are extremely proud to bring the Canadian music documentary WHEN THEY AWAKE to the big screen at the Jack Singer Concert Hall on September 20! This film explores the ongoing rise of Canada's Indigenous music scene. We are thrilled to have director P.J. Marcellino and editor Hermon Farahi in attendance, along with one of the subjects in the documentary, the Cree/Dene singer-songwriter IsKwé, who will be performing at the after-party. Lending to the grandeur of this year's Opening Gala is our partnership with Telefilm's Movie Nights Across Canada, making this our biggest Opening Night Gala Party yet. Pick up your tickets for just $35 (movie + afterparty), or $75 (pre-reception, movie, afterparty).
There are plenty of other notable films in our roster this year as well. In our Headliners series, for example, we have a little bit of something for everyone. There's a big crop of movies based on true stories that are sure to entertain, such as David Gordon Green's STRONGER, with Jake Gyllenhall and Tatiana Maslany, about a survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing; FILM STARS DON'T DIE IN LIVERPOOL, about the life (and love life) of one of the first movie stars, Gloria Grahame; the political drama MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE, focusing on the Watergate/Nixon scandal; and MARY SHELLEY, a debut feature from Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker, Haifaa Al Mansour, and a biopic of the author of FRANKENSTEIN, starring Elle Fanning, Bel Powley, and Douglas Booth. Also in this category is Andy Serkis' directorial debut BREATHE, a timeless love story produced by the real-life son of the people portrayed on screen.
It's also a big year for films with contrasts that make you think. In the comedy THE QUEEN OF SPAIN, laughs prevail in a period piece set during the crushing oppression of the Spanish civil war, and in HAPPY END, a wealthy young girl is awakened to the troubles of the wider world beyond the walls of her family's home. The futuristic scenario painted in MARJORIE PRIME, where people can have A.I. versions of dead relatives "returned" to life, is sure to fuel plenty of discussions, while the juxtaposition of poverty, wealth, sadness, and joy in THE FLORIDA PROJECT (about a young girl living in a rough neighborhood near Disneyworld) is generating buzz all over the world. And in THE SQUARE, the award-winning latest offering from past Calgary Film alum Ruben Östlund, reality and satire collide in a chaotic and thoroughly entertaining way.
There are several big dramas in our lineup as well. One of them, Stephen S. Campanelli's INDIAN HORSE, is based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Richard Wagamese and follows a young Ojibway boy who deals with the fallout of his shattered childhood by focusing on hockey as an escape. NOVITIATE by Margaret Betts and starring Oscar winner Melissa Leo, takes us into the world of a convent during the early days of Vatican II, when old Catholic teachings and the dawn of a new era pull a young nun-to-be in two very different directions.
These are just a few of the fantastic films that will be hitting Eau Claire and Globe Cinema as part of this year's Calgary International Film Festival, which runs September 20 - October 1. In addition to the 10- and 20-packs of tickets, and the Festival Pass, you can now buy individual tickets to single screenings through each film's page on our website at www.calgaryfilm.com/films. Happy festival planning!