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The 2014 Calgary International Film Festival concludes with record attendance

By Melanie Bethune, October 2 2014 —

The Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) proved again this year that nothing beats a night out at the movies.

After a thrilling 11 days of original film, the renowned festival wrapped up its 15th season on Sept. 29 with record attendance and box office sales.

Over 200 documentaries, narratives and shorts from around the world were showcased during the festival.

Previous audience attendance records were shattered with a 42 per cent increase to a staggering 28,869 filmgoers, up  from last year’s 20,000 attendees. As well, box office revenue was 50 per cent higher than 2013’s festival.

The festival showcased everything from youth-made short films as part of the YYC Short Film Series to major Oscar contenders such as the much talked about Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum.

The Discovery Awards highlighted first-time filmmakers’ outstanding achievement in cinema. Matt Livadary’s Queens and Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo won the award for documentary filmmaking while Lukas Huffman took home the award for the  narrative with his sibling dramedy When the Ocean Met the Sky.

“While our film does not have a big budget, nor any stars behind it, we do have a strong story and a lot of heart,” Huffman said  in  a  press  release. “I thank the CIFF audience for their appreciation of raw, honest cinema such as ours.”

Audience choice awards for best narrative and documentary went to Damien Chazelle’s psychologically thrilling Whiplash and Grant Baldwin’s illuminating Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story. The award for choice animated short was Bernardo Britto’s Yearbook, while the documentary or live-action short award went to Judd Palmer’s The Old Trout Puppet Workshop: From Naughty to Nice.

With such a year of success, movie lovers can only look forward to a brighter and bigger future when CIFF returns in future years.

“This has been a breakthrough year for the Calgary International Film Festival,” said CIFF executive director Stephen Schroeder said in a statement. “Audience reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and many of the filmmakers who attended have told us CIFF is the best festival they’ve ever been to.”


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