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A new look for the Calgary International Film Festival

By Sophia Lopez, August 10 2020 —

The 21st annual Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) on Sept. 24 – Oct. 4 is taking new measures this year due to COVID-19.

The artistic director of the festival, Brian Owens, provides an insight into what the festival that presents about 160 films will look like this year, and how CIFF wants to celebrate and promote diversity within Calgary and around the world.

“[We want to show] not just the diversity of the voices of the creators, which is an important part, but also the diversity of style and types of films that are created all around the world,” says Owens.

CIFF’s goal is to create an inclusive environment. From Calgary films to films from overseas, as well as various genres and lengths, there is going to be something for everyone.

Nevertheless, along with this goal comes the pressure to adjust to COVID-19. 

“We’re actually working through the protocols given to us by Alberta Health Services, the city and also the theatres themselves,” said Owens. “Safety and health is our top priority.” 

New changes, such as maximum capacity of the theatre set at 100 people, along with socially distanced seats, prove that the CIFF is taking protocols very seriously. 

Adding to their goal of increasing diversity, the festival also wants to ensure that local artists, not just filmmakers, are being celebrated.

“We’re working with ten local artists and they’re creating their take on classic and famous movie posters,” said Owens. 

A new Friends with Benefits membership is available this year, providing discounts and bonuses such as giving people a 48-hour advantage to purchase individual tickets, because, as Owens said, “with seating being limited to 100, we do expect that several films’ tickets will get snatched up very quickly.”

Ticket bundles are available for purchase online as of now, and film title announcements along with individual ticket sales will begin in September. 

Although a box office will be available at the theatres, Owens and the rest of the staff recommend pre-purchasing tickets online prior to the day of the film screening to avoid as much person-to-person contact as possible.

For more information about the ticket bundles, memberships, merchandise, and more, go the CIFF’s official website.


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