At the biggest film festival in Alberta, there are a lot of options.

Taking over the Globe Cinema, Eau Claire, the National Music Centre at Studio Bell, the Jack Singer Concert Hall and the New Central Library, there's always plenty of entertainment for the discerning movie buff. With around 200 different movies to choose from it can seem daunting to try to pick just a few, but here's a handy glossary list of our major categories so you can get prepared before our Box Office opens.

From Hollywood headliners and Documentaries to Music On Screen and Gala events, there's something for everyone. 


Shining a light on marquee films, galas celebrate the year’s highest accomplishments with a screening and a party.
 Our Opening Gala takes place Wednesday, September 18, the NEW Centrepiece Gala which kicks off the Music on Screen series takes place Wednesday, September 25 while the Closing Galas will be held Saturday, September 28.


FRANKIE webHeadliners 

The most anticipated, not-to-be-missed, most buzzed-about films of the festival circuit – from award winners and high-profile projects to celebrities and master directors.



Canadian Cinema

From sea to sea to sea – the series celebrates our country’s most inspiring, diverse and promising films. 



These interactive (and usually free!) events are the best way to see how movie magic is made. From tours through special effects labs, to discussions with directors and filmmakers, to peeks at the technology used on a film set and much more, it's a great way to learn more about Alberta's movie industry. Presented by Calgary Economic Development.


New American Cinema

New and emerging voices from the United States: vibrant, independent movement, with an emphasis on under-the-radar and cutting-edge style and story. Presented by Scott Venturo Rudakoff, LLP.


World Cinema

A spin of the globe: a captivating world of rich stories from beyond our borders. Note: All foreign language films are played with English subtitles.



An uncensored view of the real world: showcasing gripping, entertaining and enlightening stories from around the globe.



AFTER SO MANY DAYS web 1Music on Screen

From the grassroots of rock n’ roll to hip-hop and folk and everything in between: the best of movies where music plays the starring role.


WHY webLate Shows

Dark, twisted and daring late night selection of genre films, ranging from sci-fi to horror, thriller and fantasy films from around the world, with no shortage of high-intensity suspense, shock, gore and action. Presented by Ship and Anchor.


Shorts Series

Split into packages that cover themes like animation, animals, awkward situations, life-changing experiences, and more, this year's inspired collection of shorts are a testament to how impactful a few minutes of film can be. Presented by Jerilyn Wright & Associates and MiniMax.


COLONY A web v2Generation Next

A diverse range of genres and stories from around the world, with themes targeted to younger audiences and those looking for innovative, youthful, fun, and at times challenging subject matter. Presented by Calgary Foundation.


Finally, as a special feature for our 20th anniversary year we are also presenting two additional retrospective series: 

REVENANT webREtrospective: Made In Alberta

To celebrate our 20th Anniversary we are highlighting some of the great movies that have been made in Alberta over the past 20 years.  Our Retrospective series Made In Alberta will celebrate our local industry and in partnership with the New Central Library we'll be hosting FIVE FREE community screenings.

DONNIE DARKO webREtrospective: Fan VOte Favourites 

To celebrate our 20th anniversary, our expert CIFF programming team put together a list of their Top 20 films that have played the festival over the past 20 years. Between April 29th and May 27th, we received hundreds of votes from the public. The Top 5 films chosen will make their triumphant return to the big screen this September.


Share what films you're most excited to see by tagging @calgaryfilm / #calgaryfilm on social media and keep an eye on our blog for Q&As with filmmakers and recommendations from some of Calgary's biggest film fans.