10 Films to Watch at the 2024 Calgary Underground Film Festival

The Calgary Underground Film Festival is showcasing 41 feature-length films and 37 short films from April 18 to 28, 2024.

Movie still from I Saw The TV Glow. Still courtesy of Calgary Underground Film Festival.

The Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) is back from April 18 to 28 with one of its biggest events ever. CUFF has showcased the best international indie flicks for 21 years. This year’s festival features 41 feature-length films, 37 short films and special events like a special spoken word performance by John Waters, a 48-hour movie-making showcase and more.

CUFF is internationally recognized, even making MovieMaker magazine’s list of 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee 2023. So it’s no surprise that this festival is stacked with genres ranging from dramas and thrillers to sci-fi films and documentaries, as well as local stories. Movies are screened at Globe Cinema, and tickets can be purchased as a full pass ($139), in five-show bundles ($40) or for individual screenings ($10).

Here are some of the films you won’t want to miss this year.

 

Ghostkeeper

When: April 17, 7 p.m.

CanFilmDay is a yearly celebration of Canadian cinema, and CUFF’s contribution is Ghostkeeper, a 1981 Alberta-made supernatural slasher flick, which will be showing for free on April 17. In the film, three friends on a snowmobiling trip in the Rocky Mountains become stranded at an almost abandoned lodge and begin to wonder whether they will make it through the night. The movie was shot in Banff and Lake Louise at locations that may still be recognizable today.

 

I Saw The TV Glow

When: April 18, 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This year’s opening film is a suburban horror flick and coming-of-age tale, telling the story of a lonely teenage boy who is introduced to a strange, supernatural television program that begins to blur the lines of reality. I Saw The TV Glow is beautifully shot on 35mm film with extremely saturated colours, adding to the surreal horror vibes in this movie.

As the opening film, tickets for this film are $15, and include entrance to The Derrick for the opening night afterparty.

 

Humane

When: April 19, 9:30 p.m.

In the feature directorial debut of Caitlin Cronenburg, daughter of David Cronenburg, Humane is a dystopian thriller that takes place in a world where an ecological collapse means the world’s population must be reduced. A wealthy retiree has intentions to participate in a national euthanasia program, but tensions rise among his family, leading to a film of heart, humour, violence and blood. This film stars some big names such as Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire and Peter Gallagher.

 

Flipside

When: April 20, 2:15 p.m. and April 26, 6:30 p.m.

In this documentary from filmmaker Chris Wilcha, he revisits the local record store he worked at as a teenager, only to find it barely surviving. Flipside follows Wilcha’s comedic attempts to save the business, and dives into themes of art, failure and creative rebirth through his own story and the stories of other creative powerhouses.

 

Loch Ness: They Created A Monster

When: April 24, 7:30 p.m. and April 27, 1:30 p.m.

Stories of a monster in Scotland’s Loch Ness have existed for decades, and people have flocked to the lake to try to catch a glimpse of it. But with the crowds of scientists and monster hunters in the 1970s, egos, fake evidence and rivalries followed. This documentary delves into the stories of the monsters behind the monster.

 

Hippo

When: April 25, 9:30 p.m.

Hippo is set in a repressed religious household that’s home to a teenage boy who loves video games, his Catholic Hungarian step-sister and their mother. Loosely based on the Greek tragedy Hippolytus, the film follows the siblings as they grow up trying to escape their DNA.

 

Thank You Very Much

When: April 27, 4 p.m.

Step into the mind of Andy Kaufman, a comedian known for his hilarious routines and commitment to characters that blurred the lines between comedy and performance art. The documentary follows Kaufman’s career from Saturday Night Live and controversial appearances on Late Night With David Letterman, to his eventual lung cancer diagnosis and untimely death.

 

Babes

When: April 27, 6:30 p.m.

Eden (Illana Glazer) is a happily single woman who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand in this comedy about the trials and tribulations of pregnancy, friendships and motherhood. This SXSW 2024 official selection brings the laughs as it follows Eden’s journey through motherhood with the help of her best friend, Dawn.

 

Never Look Away

When: April 28, 3:45 p.m.

Never Look Away is a documentary that follows the life of Margaret Moth, a CNN combat camerawoman who risked her life to get incredible shots of the world’s biggest and most dangerous conflicts. The doc takes us through what she felt during the fog of war, using her own footage as well as footage by others, and shows an incredible portrait of this fearless and prolific journalist before her death in the Bosnian War.

 

Thelma

When: April 28, 6:30 p.m.

This year’s closing film is Thelma, a story based on director Josh Margolin’s grandmother’s real-life experience. When Thelma Post (June Squibb) is scammed by someone pretending to be her grandson, she takes it into her own hands to get back what was hers. This action-comedy is a fun play on the genre, offering a mix of Mission: Impossible-like action sequences while exploring what it means to age.

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