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Calgary Underground Film Festival showcases documentaries

By Connor Sadler, November 13 2014 —

When the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) received more documentary submissions than they could screen during their April festival, organizers decided to host a smaller festival focusing solely on documentaries.

CUFF Docs festival director Brenda Lieberman says the decision to host a documentary festival was based on audience demand.

“It seemed like there was a strong interest for documentaries in the city, and a lot of the people that we work with are big documentary fans,” Lieberman says. “There are enough mixed festivals throughout the year that already exist, so we decided to just go for it and make a documentary festival.”

Now in its second year, CUFF Docs will screen 11 full-length documentaries and short films from Nov. 20–23 at the Globe Cinema.

The documentaries are eclectic and vary in both tone and content.

An Honest Liar tells the story of James Randi, a former magician known as The Amazing Randi, who exposes televangelists, psychics and others claiming to have paranormal abilities.

Art and Craft unravels the story of Mark Landis, who for 30 years recreated paintings and donated them to art museums across the United States.

Comedic mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows focuses on three roommates just trying to live normal lives as immortal vampires. Other films explore music, art, abortion and redemption.

“We wanted to pick films that not only would make people laugh, but have powerful outcomes in the forms of discussion and audience engagement,”
Lieberman says. “We were narrowing it down from a huge number of documentaries, but we also wanted to pick films that we thought for sure our Calgary audience would like.”

Many of the films shown at CUFF Docs defy the traditional documentary format by taking a more immersive approach to filmmaking. Staying true to CUFF’s tradition of thought-provoking cinema, Lieberman says they wanted to feature engaging, provocative and boundary-pushing films at CUFF Docs.

“There’s a couple of them where it’s hard to believe they’re documentaries. It really feels like a narrative film,” Lieberman says. “If you’ve got a set impression of what a documentary is, some of these films are definitely going to change your views.”

Tickets are $8.25 for students and can be purchased online or at the door.



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