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Calgary Film's New Artistic Director: Brian Owens

Brian Owens

Since the inaugural run in 2000, The Calgary International Film Festival has brought thousands of films and filmmakers to tens of thousands of fans. As we've grown, we've looked to the future and anticipated where we want to be in the years ahead, with the singular goal of making the festival a must-attend event every Fall. That's why we are happy to announce that, for the first time, Calgary Film welcomes an Artistic Director to our team!

This October, Brian Owens joins us as Artistic Director of the Calgary International Film Festival. He comes to us from his prior role as the Artistic Director of the Nashville Film Festival, where he has been for the last ten years. Under his leadership, the audience of that festival doubled, and it is now going strong into its 49th season. Before that, he was the founder and executive director of the Indianapolis International Film Festival, which he launched in 2004.

“The creation of the Artistic Director role will leverage the growing excitement the Calgary International Film Festival has generated in recent years. This addition to the team is a key part of our strategic plan and has been in the works for the past two years,” says Steve Schroeder, Executive Director of the festival. “Over the last few years we've seen record audience growth. We’re overjoyed at how Calgary has increasingly embraced the festival. Brian shares our vision of an audience-centered event devoted to creating a remarkable festival experience, and I’m thrilled to being working with him."

As Artistic Director, Brian will help deepen the organization's artistic vision, inspire and engage the public, help keep pace with national and global film trends, and grow the festival’s profile here and abroad. It's a big job to fill - but given Brian's 15 years of doing just that, we’re excited to welcome him to our team.

When asked what he sees in the future for Calgary Film, Brian is brimming with ideas. “I’m looking forward to my new role,” says Owens. “One of my goals will be to help grow the festival, not just in audience numbers, but in impact and influence on the city's culture and film industry. I'd like to expand the competitions, draw talent in, get more films submitted, and create a true city-wide community that celebrates the festival."

Due to arrive in Calgary just before the festival's Opening Gala, Brian will be here during our 12-day run, getting familiar with the city he'll be calling home and immersing himself into the festival he’ll be programming. He may even drop a recommendation or two. "THUNDER ROAD is a must-see," he says, speaking of the critically-acclaimed latest work by writer/director/star Jim Cummings. Considering Brian’s track record with festivals, his picks are sure to be spot on!