The Calgary International Film Festival kicked off with outdoor movie screenings last Friday, offering students discounted tickets. The CIFF presented Calgarians with a first look at some film producers with an outdoor festival last Thursday on Stephen Avenue downtown. Filmmakers were interviewed on scene for the public to take part in. Programs were also distributed throughout the afternoon in hopes to encourage students and Calgarians to attend.
Jacqueline Dupuis, executive director of the CIFF, is pleased with this year's outdoor movie festival. Information about the festival is free of charge, as well as complimentary coffee provided by Starbucks and other giveaways from sponsors such as American Express and Volkswagen.
"Our goal is to create ... a niche focus for the festival so that we can start to differentiate ourselves from the festivals across Canada, but also around the world," said Dupuis. "I think we've got a real opportunity to create a destination film festival for Calgary." Their new addition of outdoor movies is just one way the festival is working toward differentiating themselves.
Students are encouraged to attend the films and learn something about the cultures around the world. Discounted tickets are provided for students at the Fido Box Office located in Eau Claire downtown Calgary.
"It's a great place to learn to be inspired," said Dupuis. "We scour the globe for the best films for [the Calgary] audience." With over 100 films premiering at the film festival from countries such as Brazil, Thailand, Canada, and Iceland, the CIFF brings many diverse cultures to the city. Icelandic film producer Ragnar Bragason, who has two films in the CIFF, would like students to attend the festival for a new experience.
"I think it's important to broaden their horizon instead of going to American Hollywood [films] which is kind of pushed down your throat everyday," said Bragason.
He believes that young people are surprised when seeing independent films that deal with everyday life, instead of Hollywood films that deal with society's heightened reality. "Cinema is a reflection of life," said Bragason insisting that many American Hollywood films are not an accurate portrayal of real life.
The Icelandic producer has two films premiering at the CIFF. "Parents" premiered on Friday, Sept. 19 and "Children" on Saturday, Sept. 20, and they deal with the circumstances between higher and lower classes in Iceland.
Students who wish to attend the film festival can check out "Confessions of a Porn Addict" starring Spencer Rice, who is one of the stars of the popular comedy television show "Kenny vs. Spenny". Showing Wednesday, Sept. 24 at Plaza Theatre in Kensington at 9:15 p.m. and Thursday, Sept. 25 at Westhills theatre at 9:15 p.m. students are welcome to attend. The outdoor movies as well are expected to be a big draw for the student crowd.
Canada's third largest film festival, the CIFF requires at least 40 staff and over 400 volunteers to make the festival a success.
Starting Friday night and running through to Sunday, the festival offers movie premieres, galas, parties, outdoor movie screenings and many other events for those who wish to attend. Tickets can be purchased online at www.calgaryfilm.com or at the Fido box office in Eau Claire Market downtown Calgary.