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Sept 28: Friday Film Frenzy

It's Friday - that means big entertainment here at Calgary Film! We've got some top-notch picks to help you kick off your weekend, and there's much more to come in the days ahead.

Our documentary fans have a couple of options tonight, as ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS hits the screens for its second showing at Eau Claire. Focusing dually on the natural wonders of and the imposing human presence on a small tropical island off the coast of Australia - filled with millions of crabs, and hundreds of refugees in a detention camp - it's an award-winning and haunting look at the impact of the refugee crisis and the juxtaposition of beauty and darkness in the world. Of a similar theme but on a different topic, Laura Wayne's LOVE, SCOTT follows Scott Jones, a Canadian musician who was paralyzed in a homophobic assault in a Nova Scotia town several years ago, as he comes to terms with his new life and learns the values of forgiveness and love in a world overcome with divisions and hatred.

(TEJANO)

For fans of foreign films, tonight's offerings really bring the evening to a whole new level. The Iranian 3 FACESwinner of Best Screenplay at Cannes, stars a popular actress and the director as themselves, on a mission to find a young rural girl who has contacted them, begging for help to pursue her dreams of getting into the film industry. With cinematic landscapes and a unique twist on the road trip movie, it's a great way to experience the world of the Middle East! Further north, in Macedonia, the main character of SECRET INGREDIENT finds himself the accidental owner of a bunch of marijuana - which he promptly uses to bake a cake for his ailing father. Miraculously, the father recovers quickly, and the neighborhood turns up to ask about the special recipe...but so do the owners of the marijuana stash, who are getting ever closer to the truth. And just south of us, at the Texas/Mexico border, David Blue Garcia's TEJANO is making its international premiere tonight, wrapping us up in the story of Javi, a young Texas farmhand who needs quick money to save his dying grandfather, and agrees to a seemingly foolproof plan: breaking his arm and smuggling a cast made of cocaine across the border. Of course, it doesn't go quite so smoothly, and Garcia's award-winning cinematography will keep you engrossed until the very end.

(ALIVE.)

Here at home, the northern dramatization THE GRIZZLIES brings us up to Nunavut, where a freshly-moved "southern" teacher arrives in a small town to find his class demotivated, demoralized, and apathetic. Starting a lacrosse team to build up some morale, the activity soon unites the team - and the town - in a way that no one could have ever predicted. From Ontario, the based-on-a-book THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE will be lighting up the screens for the second time, taking us into the lives of a Cree family - including a missing woman in Toronto, a sister in search of her, and an uncle whose life is affected in unbelievable ways from hundreds of miles away. Director Don McKellar will be in attendance to do an introduction at the screening as well.

Shot close to home around Calgary, the horror thriller ALIVE. is having its world premiere at Globe Cinema this evening, with director Rob Grant, writer/producer Jules Vincent, and producer Michael Peterson in attendance for a post-show Q&A. In the film, two people wake up in an abandoned hospital, under the "care" of a mysterious steward who refuses to give them any information about how they were hurt or how they got to the hospital. Ramping up the tension and the thrills, you'll be on the edge of your seat until the lights come back up!

(PEGGY, from SHORTS: STRETCH OUT AND LAUGH)

We've also got something for your funny bone with SHORTS: STRETCH OUT AND LAUGHa collection of bite-size films that will have you holding your sides. Director Justin Miller from the short PEGGY (pictured above) will be in town to answer some questions after the show as well. If you prefer your entertainment quick and to the point, this is the place for you!

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We're entering the last few days of the festival, and that means it's time for the Awards Party! Taking place this year at Junction - Food, Stage, and Bar, it's a free event but will be limited by capacity, so plan to come down early. We'll be announcing the winners of our juried awards, including a $10,000 prize for Best Canadian Feature and the $2,500 Best Overall Short winner, which allows entry for Academy Award consideration. We'll also be revealing the 2018 Fan of the Year for the person who's seen the most films at this year's festival!