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20th Anniversary CUFF Lineup Announced

The 2023 program has just dropped. This will be the biggest celebration of film CUFF has ever hosted

The Calgary Underground Film Festival has announced the full lineup of films playing the 20th Festival, taking place from April 20-30, 2023 at Globe Cinema. This year’s festival is the largest in the organization’s 20-year history, showing 42 feature films and 38 shorts, over 11 days.

“The community, our fans, and the small businesses that have helped grow and support CUFF for 20 years are what makes the heart of the festival beat. This is what has allowed us to develop into what we are now: an internationally recognized festival dedicated to showcasing hidden gems, quirky stories, character portraits, and artists,” said CUFF Co-Founder, Festival Director & Lead Programmer Brenda Lieberman.

“For our 20th Festival, we are going to put on the most fun, vibrant event we’ve ever hosted, and we are counting on our filmmakers, alumni, festival friends, and as many audience members as possible, to come to celebrate with us. The reason we do this is for the city, and our local fans.”

Highlights of the 2023 program include:

  • Opening Night Film ONYX THE FORTUITOUS AND THE TALISMAN OF SOULS, the Canadian premiere of the Sundance 2023 selected horror comedy featuring terrifying monsters and dark and silly laughs, which is a creative and joyful celebration of weirdos of all kinds. Tickets to the 7pm screening Thursday, April 20 include an After Party at The Derrick, and a DJ set from CJSW Station Manager Adam Kamis.
  • Eight Alberta films, including the horror-thriller INFLUENCER from Calgary’s Kurtis David Harder, three episodes of the true crime docuseries THUNDER: THE LIFE & DEATH OF ARTURO GATTI about the death of the Montreal boxer from Calgary director Guillaume Carlier, and six Alberta-made shorts.
  • A live script reading of the upcoming feature film NOW, I AM A BEAR, the feature directorial debut of Calgary screenwriter and CUFF alumnus Jason Filiatrault, which was developed as part of the 2021 TIFF Writers’ Studio.
  • The first CUFF “Indie Game Bash” on Friday, April 21 where participants compete in a tournament, playing the new indie arcade games TowerFall Ascension and Samurai Gunn 2 on the big screen.
  • The return of CUFF favourites like: THE SATURDAY MORNING ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-CEREAL CARTOON PARTY!, featuring three hours of retro cartoons plus an unlimited sugary cereal bar, a new edition of the live comedy event the FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL, and the return of the 48-Hour Movie Making Challenge in collaboration with NUTV.
  • A retrospective of CUFF alumnus Anders Thomas Jensen (ADAM'S APPLES, THE GREEN BUTCHERS) with live virtual Q&A.
  • On Wednesday, April 19, the day before the festival officially starts, CUFF will host Calgary’s flagship National Canadian Film Day event, a free screening of the documentary COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, which is celebrating its 35th Anniversary this year, with director Ron Mann in attendance.
  • Other program highlights include LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING (a documentary about the rock 'n' roll icon who shaped the world of music), BLACKBERRY (a Canadian narrative feature telling the story of the Blackberry / RIM starring Jay Baruchel), SISU (a highly-anticipated B-movie about an ex-soldier set in Finland, from CUFF alumni Jalmari Helander), SQUARING THE CIRCLE (THE STORY OF HIPGNOSIS) (a documentary about the art studio behind many iconic album covers marking the first documentary feature by Anton Corbijn), and POLARIS (a Canadian/Yukon success story featuring local Calgary actress Dinah Gaston).
  • In addition to 42 features, 38 short films will screen as part of three shorts packages, and will show before select features.
  • 45+ filmmakers, actors, creators and industry will be in attendance, to represent their films, and take part in panels which are free and open to the public.

“The lineup of films this year is just as diverse as ever, with a speckle of retro selections – many of which are celebrating milestone anniversaries – comedies, documentaries, art-house world cinema, and the latest genre films to hit the festival circuit. The stories vary, as do the budgets, and styles of films. We really love a lineup that can speak to many different audiences here, and we hope that everyone finds something to come check out,” added Lieberman.

What started as humble beginnings, showing films at local bars including The Venue, Broken City & HiFi, CUFF has grown to be Western Canada’s largest genre film festival. After three years of online and hybrid festivals, in 2023 CUFF is returning to a fully in-cinema experience.

Tickets for all films and events go on sale at 9am on Thursday, March 30. Single tickets cost $10 ($8 for members, students and seniors), with $40 5-film packs, and $139 festival passes also available.

Click here to access film materials, including high-res stills, trailers and press kits for each film.

The full film program and special screenings can be viewed at the links below, prior to going live on on Thursday morning.


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