Great Canadian Film Festivals

Published in Campus Life Magazine September 2008

filmVancouver International Film Festival  September 25 – October 10, Vancouver

The 27th annual Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) captures the best of this West Coast city: cosmopolitan, friendly, culturally complex, and innovative. An audience of more than 150,000 enthusiastic people are expected to attend 575 screenings of 350 films from more than 60 countries. Critically acclaimed as “an unspoiled celebration of world cinema,” VIFF screens the largest selection of East Asian films outside the region, and is one of the biggest showcases of documentaries. In addition to many undiscovered gems, the line-up includes the picks of the world’s top films fests with an emphasis on Canadian film. This is very much a festival “designed for the benefit of people who love films and people who make them.”

Atlantic Film Festival    September 11- 20, Halifax

Located in coastal Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Atlantic Film Festival (AFF) is a celebration of film and video from the Atlantic Provinces, Canada and around the world. Known for its warm and festive atmosphere, AFF is committed to screening an inspiring and engaging array of films. Whether it is inspiring documentaries, the latest Hollywood blockbuster, or beautifully crafted animation, this cultural event has a film for everyone. The Inspired Doc program invites filmmakers to attend screenings for a facilitated Q&A with the audience, offering an exciting insight into the vision and inspiration behind each film. Atlantic Canadian writers have an opportunity to submit and pitch their script ideas to potential producers in the Inspired Script competition helping local artists turn their dreams into reality. In addition to watching some of the best international and Canadian films, audiences can even take the time to hear some of the best artists the region has to offer in AFF’s music program promoting East Coast music.

Calgary International Film Festival  September 19 – 28, Calgary

Since it began in 1998, The Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) has experience a continual growth in attendance and film screenings. In its 9th year, it exists to showcase works that represent the best of the best from around the world, with a special focus on the celebration of Alberta-made films. CIFF’s gala events have become the “scene to be seen” out West, as they continue to lead in art and cultural innovation and diversity. Special to CIFF is the Youth by Youth Cinema competition, which takes the film viewing experience one step further by showcasing the best of local youth filmmaking. The programming committee will pick the top films, with the selections making up the program for a special CIFF screening.

Reel Pride The Winnipeg Gay and Lesbian Film Festival    October 14- 19, Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Gay and Lesbian Film Society has been brining gay and lesbian films to Manitoba audiences since 1985. The first film festival was produced in 1987, and for twenty-one years it has been celebrating independent filmmakers and their fans in the community. This year’s unique line-up will showcase features and shorts by or about gays, lesbians, and transgendered people, and includes the Stewart Wade film Tru Loved, and Russell P. Marleau’s critically acclaimed The Curiosity of Chance. Every year, the Reel Pride Film Festival hosts the Short Film Competition, which awards the Audience Choice and the Jury Choice Awards to the most notable entries.

Toronto International Film Festival   September 4-13, Toronto

For ten days, film lovers, makers, and stars will gather to see the best in new cinema from around the world. As one of the most prestigious international film festivals, The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) aims to transform the way people see the world through the moving image. This year TIFF is please to add six special presentations to the award-winning lineup, as well as works from critically acclaimed filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow, Spike Lee and Paolo Sorrentino featuring performances by John Malkovich, Viggo Mortensen, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, John Leguizamo, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Michael Cera. The festival also serves as a platform for the country’s emerging talent to gain media coverage and stir excitement for their craft. From the dedication of its staff and volunteers to its vast contribution to the culture and economy of the City of Toronto, TIIF’08 is sure to live up to its long-standing reputation as a leader in the film community.

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