By Joel Dryden
CALGARY — The $100 Film Festival is truly one for the cinephiles out there – a collection of the independent and the experimental, the weird and the barely-seen – and, mostly, an assemblage of films curated to shake you up.
The 23rd annual festival is set to get underway February 26th to 28th, and Nicola Waugh, the Calgary Society for Independent Filmmakers’ (CSIF) communications director said it’s good to check out things that are out of your comfort zone.
“People are generally afraid of experimental film,” she said. “But I think people need to allow themselves to get uncomfortable. It really pushes people to have an open mind.”
“You can have a really moving aesthetic experience that is so rare.”
This year, the films will primarily be shown at the Art Commons Engineered Air theatre. The festival showcases film exclusively on Super 8 and 16mm film, and Waugh said that securing a space that would best showcase the format had been a priority of hers for some time.
“We want to be able to show the films in the way the artists intended,” she said. “We don’t do enough justice [to the format] in other venues. It’s hard to see the films properly. This is going to make every [film] look great.”
Some of the films include Cloud Shadow (a German film centering on an eerie collection of sounds left behind after a town’s population disappears), Things (a 20-minute piece from U.K.-based filmmaker Ben Rivers) and Model Fifty-One Fifty-Six, directed by Josh Weissbach, who will be in attendance at the festival.
“We’ve got a couple of longer ones this year that are super out there. And because of their length, I feel like they’ll really envelope you,” Waugh said. “You have to meditate and sit with them and force yourself through them.”
“It’s challenging because there is no narrative – you have to allow yourself to get rid of expectations that you would normally have [for a Hollywood film].”
Programming will expand to other venues around the city, including artist talks, art installations and musical performances from Lab Coast, Bog Bodies and Bitter Fictions.
“The goal, really, is to push to keep film in a theatre,” Waugh said. “Seeing film on film – there’s nothing that can replace that.”
The 23rd annual $100 Film Festival takes place at Arts Commons Engineered Air Theatre Feb. 26-28. Tickets for the festival are available at the door, and pre-sale tickets are available at CSIF (223 – 12 Ave. S.W.). More information is available at csif.org.$100 Film Festival, AB, Alberta, Arts Commons, Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, Engineered Air Theatre