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What's up, doc(s)?

We’re so glad you asked! Because as it happens, all these docs – documentaries, that is – are fresh off the presses and ready for you to take in at CIFF 2016. We also have a new sponsor for our documentary series this year, Boardwalk Property Management. Many thanks for the support!

This year, our documentary lineup includes 16 Features as well as a short package. Here’s a handful of some of the docs we know CIFF audiences are going to love: 


You might think there wouldn’t be much to cheer about when you live north of the Arctic Circle in Finland, but these cheerleaders would prove you wrong. Follow their competitive training routine as they push their limits to rise out of the obscurity of years past.


One sobering thought about the nuclear age is that we often don’t even know just how close we’ve come to accidental nuclear detonations. One such event happened in Arkansas in 1980, when a dropped tool nearly led to a mushroom cloud 600x bigger than the Hiroshima bomb. Robert Kenner leads us through a real missile silo to bring this harrowing story to life.


There’s more to punk rock than sex, drugs and rock n’ roll – though that is the vast majority of it. The poster children of the punk movement, this doc delves into the story of The Stooges: the legendary band that ushered in a new musical genre in the late ‘60s. It’s where Iggy Pop got his start, and where legions of anarchistic teenagers learned to stick it to The Man, man.


Most of us find it inconvenient to leave home for more than a few days if we’re unprepared. What if you had to give up your entire life – for years? Who would watch your pets, your kids, your finances? Learn from three very different convicts just how difficult it is to be sent to prison, and how our concept of “justice” can be rather unjust after all.

LIMIT IS THE SKY (World Premiere)

Before Europeans ever arrived in northern Alberta, the Cree were up at the oilsands, using the thick bitumen as waterproof canoe sealant. And since then, tens of thousands of people have made their way north to carve a living out in the boomtown of Fort McMurray – and, as a result, they are highly dependent on the volatile nature of oil prices in order to stay afloat. Welcome to the fickle and unpredictable petroleum industry.


In 2011, it seemed like the whole world shook when an earthquake hit Japan and disrupted a nuclear reactor at Fukushima. Weeks later, most people had forgotten about it – but not the citizens of northeastern Honshu, where the damage was cataclysmic. Shot over 2.5 years in three different communities, watch the people rebuild, reconnect and repeatedly try to restore normalcy to their shattered lives.


Over 150,000 people die every day – in the course of reading this paragraph, roughly 20 of your fellow humans will have expired. So how do you decide who gets a mention in the limited space of the New York Times? That’s the challenge that these prestigious obituary writers face – how to choose those acclaimed few who remain worthy of ink, when death has reached in to make us all equal. Step into the writers’ room and check it out.


When your credits include holding your own against the Beatles, populating plenty of spots on “Best-of” music lists, and having a career that’s longer than the lifespan of most of the musicians touring today, it’s only fitting that you make history with your latest shows. Get a front-row seat to the Stones’ epic tour across Central and South America, culminating in a historic Havana concert attended by more than a million screaming fans.

But that’s not all! Check out the full list of feature documentaries screening at CIFF 2016.

Short Docs Package
Looking for information that’s a bit more bite-sized? We’ve got a fine sampling of seven short documentaries this year, all wrapped up in a neat little package. Find out more.

Behind the Screen – In Conversation: Documentary Filmmaking
Actual conversations are so much better than just yelling at the screen when the movie is done! If you like to find out more about what happens on the set of a documentary, or you have some questions about, say, hockey and cricket-eating, you can meet filmmakers Ian Toews & Mark Bradley (BUGS ON THE MENU) and Adam Scorgie (ICE GUARDIANS) and join in the interactive CIFF experience! It all goes down on September 26, 5:30pm @ Café Blanca.


Are you subscribed to the Doc Soup series? Now in its ninth year, this is a partnership between CIFF and Hot Docs to bring the best documentaries to Calgary for local audiences to see. If you have (or, before Friday, get) a subscription, you're eligible to vote in our poll for the CIFF documentary you'd like to see in a Doc Soup Subscriber screening (Sept 24, 2:15pm @ Eau Claire) for Doc Soup members only: ANGRY INUK, OBIT, TOWER or GOD KNOWS WHERE I AM. Get details and a subscription here.


Still looking for more movies? Come back next Wednesday, August 31 when we announce our Canadian Cinema Series, and again on Wednesday, September 7 when our full lineup and schedule is announced. In the meantime you can still pick up Festival Passes, gala tickets, or 10- and 20-packs of general admission tickets. All tickets to specific screenings go on sale September 7 at noon, so mark your calendars!

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