Posted on September 13, 2019

Looking through almost 200 films can be fun but it can also be time consuming. Head straight to the source with these programmer picks and get these must-see films on your CIFF schedule. Meet Guy Lavallee, one of our Features Programmers, and let him guide you through these top CIFF flicks! 

------

I loved movies from a young age and I always knew I’d have some sort of involvement, I just wasn’t sure how. I went to film school, worked in some video stores, worked on a couple of films sets, then somehow stumbled into television, where I had the chance to make over half a dozen half hour broadcast documentaries. Somewhere along the way in all of this, I attended my first film festival (TIFF 1998), and that’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to do: I wanted to be able to program films for a film festival! Perseverance paid off, and I’ve had the great good fortune to be able to program for a number of film festivals over the last dozen years. It’s been one of the great joys of my life, getting to find those hidden gems, watching audiences react to them, and becoming lifelong friends with so many wonderful filmmakers over the years. I take this responsibility very seriously, and so I sincerely hope you love every film you see at CIFF this year!

And here, to get you started, 10 recommendations from me to you.

------

1. AFTER SO MAY DAYS

Fantastic music, raw emotion, and first time filmmakers putting their heart and soul on the line, all in the name of art. LOVE IT!

 

2. BANANA SPLIT 

After seeing this film, I decided that Hannah Marks and Liana Liberato should be cast together in every film made from this point forward. Their chemistry here is just off the charts.

BANANA SPLIT web

 

3. DOLEMITE IS MY NAME

Eddie Murphy starring as Blaxploitation legend Rudy Ray Moore, from the director of HUSTLE & FLOW, and the writers of THE PEOPLE VS LARRY FLYNT? Do I REALLY need to sell you any further on this?!

 

4.  HUMAN NATURE 

After I saw this phenomenal doc at SXSW, I had the opportunity to chat with the film's Executive Producer, Dan Rather, so this one is near and dear to my heart. It is simply one of the most compelling and fascinating films of 2019.

 

5. JAMES VS HIS FUTURE SELF 

I'm a longtime fan of filmmaker Jeremy LaLonde, and his partner in crime on this film, Jonas Chernick. Together, they've taken a high concept idea (and a brilliant Daniel Stern performance), and knocked it out of the park.

 

6. LOW TIDE 

The Stand By Me vibe and Coen-esque suspense make for an irresistible combination, bolstered by a knockout performance from the terrific young actor Jaeden Martell (IT & IT: CHAPTER TWO, KNIVES OUT).

 

7. MOTHER'S LITTLE HELPERS

Director/Co-Writer/Star Kestrin Pantera's dysfunctional family dramedy is one of the most welcome surprises of the year - funny, caustic, and brimming with great characters.

 

8. MYSTIFY: MICHAEL HUTCHENCE 

One of the most innovative and riveting docs of the year - music or otherwise - MYSTIFY is a stunning and deserving tribute to the lead singer of arguably the greatest band to ever come out of Australia, INXS.

 

9. PRINCESS OF THE ROW

This might be the most inspiring, moving, heartfelt, and genuine film I've seen all year. Do yourself a favour and rocket this one to the top of your 'must-see' list. Young breakout Tayler Buck will absolutely break your heart.

 

10.  SAINT FRANCES

This film Won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at this year's SXSW festival for a reason (it sure got my vote!) - find out for yourself why audiences are utterly falling for first time feature filmmaker Alex Thompson's beguiling comedy.

----------

Tickets for these and all our films are on sale now at calgaryfilm.com. Explore the guide and schedule here. 

Back to blog listing