CIFF returns with more than 175 films in ‘hybrid’ lineup

The Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) unveiled its 2020 lineup on Tuesday with more than 175 films to be screened including a documentary about an iconic Black cowboy who settled in Alberta more than a century ago, a documentary about climate change activist Greta Thunberg and Viggo Mortsensen’s directorial debut.

The festival is adapting to COVID-19 health and safety protocols with a hybrid of both in-cinema screenings and streaming movies.

More than 90 of the movies on its roster will be in-cinema feature films and shorts package screenings, where theatre admissions will be limited to 30 per cent capacity, with extra time between shows for thorough cleaning.

Meanwhile, more than 160 of the festival’s films will be available to stream online — and those films will be made accessible to three provinces for the first time.

“I feel deeply connected to and excited about this lineup. The challenges we have faced this year have made us feel even more passionate about the films we are presenting. There are a lot of strong titles, and our mandate to showcase diversity behind and in front of the camera, is present in every section,” Brian Owens, CIFF’s artistic director, is quoted as saying in a press release. 

“This year’s hybrid festival has given us the opportunity to grow in so many ways, there is an occasion for those who haven’t been able to join us in the past, especially with our virtual screening expansion into the rest of Alberta and into Saskatchewan and Manitoba.”

Alberta documentary John Ware Reclaimed among premieres

The lineup includes films such as Viggo Mortsensen’s directorial debut, Falling, and a documentary about young climate change activist Greta Thunberg called I Am Greta.

It also will include the premiere of a feature documentary about an iconic Black cowboy who settled in Alberta before the turn of the 20th century, John Ware Reclaimed, by Cheryl Foggo, an award-winning, Calgary-born filmmaker.

CIFF’s 2020 Behind the Screen series will feature live conversations with Stranger Things actor Finn Wolfhard and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan.

The festival is set to run from Sept. 24 to Oct. 4.

A full listing of films along with ticket information can be found on the organization’s website.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


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