There’s little doubt that 2012 was a tough year for independent cinema in Calgary. The Uptown Theatre shut its doors for good this summer, and there’s been plenty of talk that the equally historic Plaza Theatre in Kensington is facing a similar end. So, the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), which runs from Sept. 20 to 30 this year, will be an increasingly rare opportunity for cinephiles to unite. Here, a few films to see at CIFF that will fulfill your cultural obligations without putting you to sleep.
V/H/S (United States, 2012)
Criminals are hired to break into a home and retrieve a VHS tape, but when they get there all they find is a corpse and a sea of videotapes that are indistinguishable from each other. The only way to find what they are looking for is to clean the heads and play each video. This low-budget creep show proceeds to bring five horrifying stories to life, tracking problems included.
Crime Wave (USA, Romania, Kenya, Brazil, Italy, UK, 2012)
Made up of six short films by directors from six different cultures, Crime Wave explores lawbreaking through vastly different lenses. The based-on-a-true-story of a cattle farmer turned art thief, a sympathetic look at Somali pirates, a mother’s mission to smuggle contraband to her imprisoned son, and a complex vault heist starring Michael Fassbender fill up this cinematic rap sheet.
The Killing Games (Canada, 2012)
The Killing Games, directed by Edmonton’s own Barry J. Gillis, was deemed too violent for the director’s hometown film festival in August, but CIFF’s organizers have decided to take a chance on this macabre revenge flick. Since the Edmonton ban, horror nerds across the province have been clamouring to see how bad (meaning good) this thing really is, and should it live up to the hype/backlash, Gillis will be in attendance at the Calgary premiere to explain what the hell everyone just saw.
Ferocious (Canada, 2012)
Calgary’s Robert Cuffley returns to the festival with another dark story—he showed Walk All Over Me at CIFF in 2007—this time, the director’s film centres on a famous Canadian actress, who returns to her Prairie hometown initially to adoration, but quickly ends up facing her troubling past head-on. Filmed in Saskatoon and starring Canadian actors Amanda Crew and Kim Coates (better known as Tig on Sons of Anarchy) Ferocious promises to be a first-rate thriller with a distinctly Northern touch.
Image courtesy of zyphichore.