Calgary International Film Festival returns to theatres in 2021 with over 175 films

Isabella Rossellini will be interviewed by Denise Clarke as part of the Calgary International Film Festival on Sept. 29

The 2021 Calgary International Film Festival figures it's time for Calgary to go back to the movies.

The festival announced its full lineup this week, and Thursday announced a number of special events, including a one-on-one interview with Isabella Rossellini, screenings of the popular made-in-Calgary TV series Tribal and Jann, and a uniquely Calgary twist to a special screening of the Charlie Chaplin classic The Kid.

However, rather than any single film, what stands out is that between Sept. 23 and Oct. 3, over 175 films will be screened at movie theatres in downtown Calgary, which is over 175 more than 2020, when the festival was conducted virtually.

For 2021, movie lovers will have to provide proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test done within the past 48 hours. Masks will be required at all CIFF festival venues, and may be removed while seated.

“There’s an overall sense of optimism and re-emergence in this year’s lineup that feels very refreshing and exciting,” said Brian Owens, CIFF’s artistic director.

“After what we’ve been through globally in the past couple of years, it has very much inspired the coming-of-age story and brought forward a youthful energy and lineup."

"There are a lot of strong titles and themes and our mandate to showcase diversity is at an all-time-high this year," he added, "not only with the countries being represented, but also in the diversity of story and the filmmakers creating these movies.”

THE LINEUP

Among the films being featured at this year's festival are a pair starring Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog by Oscar-winning director Jane Campion, and The Electrical Life of Louis Wann, which is about cats.

Julia, co-directed by the team of Julie Cohen and Betsy West, is a documentary portrait of the legendary Julia Child, who changed our way of thinking about food, television and even women.

Drinkwater, directed by Canadian Stephen Campanelli, is a homage to 1980's teen coming-of-age films. Flee, by director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, tells the story of an unnamed Afghan refugee who shares his story of persecution and escape.

(Flee, by director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, tells the story of an unnamed Afghan refugee who shares his story of persecution and escape.)

Drive My Car, directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi of Japan, tells the story of the unlikely friendship formed between an 80-year-old movie star and a 20-year-old girl.

And then there's Official Competition, a Spanish film starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, that's a satire of the movie-making process.

One of the signature events of the festival will take place Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at TELUS Spark, when One Yellow Rabbit's Denise Clarke will interview Isabella Rossellini, who will talk about her career as a model, actress, and director of films exploring animal behavior.

(Drinkwater, directed by Canadian Stephen Campanelli, is a homage to 1980's teen coming-of-age films.)

Two nights later, at Contemporary Calgary, the festival will present a 100th anniversary screening of Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, featuring a new musical score from Calgary's own Chad VanGaalen.

For those who have grown to enjoy watching movies at home, there will be online films offered throughout the fest, in addition to a one day digital screening Sept.28, when the festival will screen five films online while taking a day off from theatrical screenings.

And for anyone looking for an appetizer, there's a trailer party Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Globe Cinema. The trailer party will be available online Friday Sept. 10.

Tickets and information are available at https://www.ciffcalgary.ca