8 Fall Film Festivals to Check Out in Calgary

Catch one of these upcoming film festivals focused around skiing, motorcycles, animation, documentaries and more.

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The Calgary International Film Festival may be over for the year, but there are still plenty of local film festivals going on this fall where you can catch a great movie. Whether you’re interested in animation, social justice or motorcycles, don’t miss these upcoming festivals.


Freshtival Ski Film Fest

When: October 12 to 14

Freshtival has been bringing the gnarliest ski films to Calgarians since 2003. The festival merges the skiing and art worlds, with four films showing at Globe Cinema over three days. Check out Legend Has It, a film about uncovering the fabled ski stories often told on the lift or in the lodge; Land of Giants, pushing skiers to the limits on the biggest mountains in the world; and Abstract and Fortune Hunters, two classic ski films showing off freestyle tricks and sequences from around the world. Don’t miss the Après Freshtival party at Ol’ Beatiful Brewing Company to close out the festival.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave S.W., 403-262-3309, freshtival.ca


Motorcycle Film Fest

When: October 19

This travelling film festival will be making a stop at Calgary’s Plaza Theatre and features a variety of motorcycle-centric short and feature length films. Presented by Ill-Fated Kustoms, these films capture the freedom associated with the motorcycle lifestyle, ranging in topics from a blind motorcycle rider’s attempt to set a land speed record to an Iranian-Canadian rider reconciling with becoming the role model she never had growing up. Tickets are available for the whole festival ($30) or for a package of films ($18).

Plaza Theatre, 1133 Kensington Rd. N.W., 403-283-2222, motorcyclefilmfest.com


Calgary Arab Film Nights

When: October 20 to 22

The Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society is holding the 11th edition of the Calgary Arab Film Nights this year, with a collection of feature-length and short films from Arab filmmakers around the world. The lineup includes documentaries, comedies and dramas, with films like The Lebanese Burger Mafia, which details the story of rogue Alberta fast food chain Burger Baron and the families running it.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave S.W., 403-262-3309, calgaryarabartssociety.ca


Calgary European Film Festival

When: November 3 to 12

Now in its 12th year, the Calgary European Film Festival lineup showcases some of the best European filmmakers through 28 different films representing 25 countries. The options range from Icelandic comedies, to animated flicks from Hungary, to Italian dramas.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave S.W., 403-262-3309, calgaryeuropeanfilmfestival.ca


Calgary Jewish Film Festival

When: November 4 to 19

At the 23rd annual Calgary Jewish Film Festival, 17 films from Jewish directors and filmmakers are on the docket. This includes special screenings with directors, like the opening night presentation of The Monkey House with director Avi Nesher. Tickets are available for the full festival ($90) or as single tickets for any of this year’s screenings.

1325 Glenmore Tr. S.W., 403-255-8688, bethtzedec.ca


GIRAF Festival of Independent Animation

When: November 16 to 19

An animation festival presented by Calgary’s Quickdraw Animation Society, GIRAF celebrates independent animation of all kinds. While this year’s lineup has yet to be released, last year’s festival included more than 60 animated films from international and local artists, animation workshops and more.



Calgary Justice Film Festival

When: November 17 to 19

The Calgary Justice Film Festival (CJFF) offers a mix of socially conscious films and documentaries, bringing awareness to contentious topics to enlighten and increase representation for underserved communities. The best part is that CJFF is free to attend, so it’s easy to catch one of these flicks.



CUFF.Docs Documentary Film Festival

When: November 22 to 26

Calgary Underground Film Festival’s sister festival showcases the best in independent, non-fiction films. The CUFF.Docs lineup for 2023 hasn’t been announced yet, but there were more than 15 full-length documentaries shown last year.


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