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Calgary International Film Festival to have Academy Award winners, Hollywood royalty, and local stars

From prominent Academy Award winners, to celebrated international directors, and even locally beloved musicians Tegan and Sara, CIFF 2022 is aiming to have something for every audience this year.

CIFF is opening on Sept. 22, with a screening of The Lost King, directed by academy award nominated director Stephen Frears—known for The Queen, and High Fidelity—and starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan.

Films and shorts Riceboy Sleeps, directed by Anthony Shim, Viking, directed by Stéphane Lafleur, and The Flying Sailor directed by Academy Award winners Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, are among the must-see Canadian films being presented this year.

The festival also announced their lineup of special experiences on Sept. 7. It includes a screening, Q&A session, and acoustic performance with Tegan and Sara Quin for their Amazon and Plan B produced series, High School.

Other festival special experiences are the CIFF Digital Media Hub with virtual reality and games, a classic video store experience via the CIFF Video Palace, and social media ready interactive art installations.

“Movies are the heart of CIFF,” said Steve Schroeder, executive director of CIFF.

“Not limited by our name, this year we’re excited to punctuate the broader film lineup with special experiences ranging from music crossover events, to interactive digital media, to quirky art installations that enliven the festival site.”

Hollywood royalty and jump in your seat scares

The festival is also featuring Hollywood royalty in the form of Destry Allyn Spielberg’s Let Me Go (The Right Way), which stars Hopper Penn.

“Her film premiered at Tribeca back in June, and I saw it there and I was like, ‘this will be a great addition to to our festival,'” said Adam Keresztes, shorts programmer for CIFF.

“It’s actually a really fantastic, darkly comedic thriller, and sort of a psychological film.”

Keresztes said that audiences would be surprised about how good the film is, if they planned on attending based on name recognition alone.

“Seeing the names on paper is like, ‘oh, I know who those people are,’ but seeing the film you wouldn’t be like, ‘that’s Sean Penn’s son,'” he said.

The film is playing as part of CIFF’s Champage Chronic Nightcap, which is a mix of thriller, horror, and comedy films.

“There are good scares, and you’ll jump a little bit in your seat, but then there’s really surreal and audibly funny films,” said Keresztes.

The world’s best directors at CIFF

Another must see for this year is Decision to Leave, directed by Park Chan-Wook. The film comes to CIFF after being nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and where Park received an award for best director.

Park was also the director of 2003’s cult film Oldboy, and 2016’s award winning The Handmaiden.

“I think having Park Chan-Wook in the festival is amazing,” said Keresztes.

He said that this would be an opportunity for casual viewers of world film to reconnect with South Korean cinema, after Parasite won best picture, and Bong Joon-ho won best director at the Academy Awards in 2020.

“Parasite winning a few years ago, definitely put World Film and South Korean film on the map with a lot of more casual viewers,” said Keresztes

“So bringing someone like Park Chan-Wook, who’s a legend, but maybe people haven’t seen his films, this will be kind of like an introduction.”

Keresztes said that having big-name, established international directors would likely be a draw for audiences, and that the festival experience would provide something extra for them in getting to see these films on the big screen.

“Watching it in the cinema with a full group of people, especially at a film festival, where it’s with like minded people, people are there for the same reason that they are really interested in these films, you get such a atmosphere and environment from that,” he said.

“Whether it’s laughing or crying or being shocked at things, just seeing how that reaction plays out with those around you is a huge part of like the film going experience.”

Calgary’s own Academy Award winners

Keresztes said that audiences would get a chance to chat with Calgary’s own Academy Award winning duo Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis during the presentation of their short The Flying Sailor.

The directors will be doing an audience Q&A about their a comedic, suspenseful, and philosophical film.

“We watched The Flying Sailor and absolutely loved it. Then as as we were watching it we realized, ‘it is Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, and oh those are award winning filmmakers and they’re from Calgary,'” Keresztes said.

“That’s always such an exciting thing to see your homegrown talent go out and make it somewhere, and then come back and still show that love and respect to the filmmaking industry and the film going audience in Calgary.”

Festival lineup of films and special experiences

The entire lineup of films and experiences is now available on CIFF’s website at www.ciffcalgary.ca.

Ticket bundles can be purchased online, and individual ticket sales start on Sept. 8.

This year’s opening film is The Lost King, which is being shown on Sept. 22 at 7:30 pm at Eau Claire. The festival is closing with Brother, directed by Clement Virgo, on Oct. 2 at 6:30 pm at Eau Claire.

This year’s feature films include Butterfly in the Sky (USA), Emily (UK), End of Sex (Canada), Final Cut (France), Hawa (France), and Viking (Canada).

Special presentations include Broker (South Korea), Dead for a Dollar (USA/Canada), Decision to Leave (South Korea), Good Night Oppy (USA), and Triangle of Sadness (Germany, France, UK).

Short selections this year encompass The Flying Sailor (Canada), Let Me Go (USA), The Sentence of Michael Thompson (USA), and the Spirits on Fire Package from FOREIGNERZ which includes CIA-BER (Egypt), Face Recognition (Estonia), F^¢K ‘€M R!GHT B@¢K (USA), Sandstorm (Pakistan), Tank Fairy (Taiwan), and Tigress (Canada).

CIFF will also be hosting a variety of virtual reality and game experiences this year, at Eau Claire Market.

Among those experiences include Gorn, by Free Lives / Devolver Digital which will allow participants to partake as a gladiator, battling an infinite number of comically animated opponents, with all sorts of weapons. Other experiences are Jordan Jones Dies in Space, The Orchid and the Bee, Tentacular, and this is Not a Ceremony.

Video games The Cluckening, Cult of the Lamb, Insurgency: Sandstorm, and Townscaper will also be available to play.