8 Spring Film Festivals to Check Out in Calgary

See movies that celebrate queer voices, Asian culture, mountain adventures and more at these upcoming film festivals.

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Calgary has built a reputation as a film hub not only for its shooting locations, but also amongst film fans who like checking out a variety of festivals throughout the year. This spring, gather with fellow cinephiles and discover new filmmakers or watch films on the fringe. Whether you’re looking to try out new movie genres, celebrate good old-fashioned celluloid film or just catch a fun flick, here are some upcoming film festivals not to be missed.

 

Artifact Small Format Film Festival

When: April 4 to 6

Entering its 29th year, this festival is all about celebrating celluloid film, where the films shown are all shot on Super 8 and 16mm. Opening night features experimental short films crafted by participants who took a National accessArts Centre class on shooting film and creating their own soundtracks. The second evening highlights films that focus on ecological systems. The third night showcases both global submissions and the works of local filmmakers who have taken on the challenge of crafting a film with only two rolls of Super 8 film — a nod to the festival’s former name, the $100 Film Festival.

artifactfilmfestival.com

 

Great Divide Film Festival

When: April 11

Get excited for hiking season with a night of cinematic adventure put on by the Great Divide Trail Running Association. The featured films have been submitted by trail hikers inspired by the Great Divide Trail. It should come as no surprise that the short films will all showcase the challenges, beauty and adventures of the 1,100-kilometre hike in the Canadian Rockies. Attendees can also expect guest speakers, a silent auction and a chance to vote for their favourite film.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave S.W., 403-262-3309, greatdividetrail.com 

 

Calgary Underground Film Festival

When: April 18 to 28

One of Calgary’s most anticipated film events, the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) features a range of genres including horror, comedy, sci-fi and fantasy. But for its 21st edition, CUFF attendees can expect even more. The festival has extended to 11 days, making it the longest CUFF to date, showcasing 47 feature films and 37 short films. The films tell a range of stories — choose from movies about three brothers on the hunt for a witch’s corpse, a woman searching for her dead friend’s cat, a 93-year-old getting scammed or an in-depth look at skateboarding and rock culture’s art, to name a few.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave S.W., 403-444-8315, calgaryundergroundfilm.org

 

Mountains on Stage

When: May 1

The Mountain Film Festival is making a one-day stop in Calgary with Mountains on Stage. Watch as adventure enthusiasts explore deep caves, kayak through the Arctic, and take on great mountain ascents and incredible bouldering challenges. The 2024 summer edition features four films showing the inspiring feats of thrillseekers in breathtaking natural environments.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave S.W., 403-262-3309, mountainsonstage.com

 

FascinAsian Film Festival

When: May 2 to 5

The FascinAsian Film Festival has chosen “Year of the Dragon – Year of Discovery” as the theme of its upcoming four-day event. This year’s lineup hasn’t been released yet, but attendees can expect a variety of films that celebrate Asian culture and perspectives. FascinAsian takes place in Calgary and Winnipeg, and it’s on a mission to not only showcase the talents of Asian-Canadian and Asian-American artists in film, but also to create equal opportunities in the industry to tell these important stories.

fascinasian.ca

 

Calgary Black Film Festival

When: May 24 to 28

The Calgary Black Film Festival returns for its fourth edition this May. The festival promotes Black stories and experiences, and creates an inclusive space for discussions on major cultural, social and socio-economic issues. This year’s lineup hasn’t been released yet, but in the past, the festival has highlighted documentaries, narrative films and films about being Black in Canada.

calgaryblackfilm.com

 

Trail Running Film Festival

When: June 5

For one night only, the Trail Running Film Festival is coming to Calgary as part of its 2024 Global Tour. This year features eight short films celebrating trail running through stories of self-discovery and resilience that show nothing is impossible. Learn about inspiring runners like cancer survivor Sarah Gerrish or Brian Reynolds, a double amputee below the knee, who attempts an Ultra Trail Marathon.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave S.W., 403-262-3309, trailfilmfest.com

 

Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival

When: June 27 to 30

Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival is the longest-running queer film festival in the country, and this year, it will host its 26th edition. The 2024 festival will feature around 40 films in a range of styles. From documentaries and short films to features and animations, attendees can enjoy a variety of films, all of which tell stories through a queer perspective. Plus, there will be curated evenings, interactive moments and augmented reality experiences to take part in.

Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave S.W., 403-262-3309, fairytalesfilmfest.com

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