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4 Must-See Films at Calgary International Film Festival


With more than 200 features and short films being screened from Canada and 40 other countries, there’s plenty of choice at the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF). Here are four must-see films playing until the festival’s last evening on October 1.


Set against the majestic backdrop of the Canadian Rockies in Castlegar, B.C, director Scooter Corkle transforms his hometown into a landscape both haunting and unknowable in Hollow In The Land. When Alison’s younger brother Brandon goes missing following the discovery of a body in their small town, she sets out on a search that reveals more about the mysteries at hand, and her own family’s past, than she had bargained for. A stellar cast of Canadian talent in supporting roles is led by industry favourites Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, The Following), Jared Abrahamson (Sweet Virginia, Gregoire, Never Steady Never Still) and Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight). – MR 


Filmed on a rural farmhouse near Millarville, Ice Blue is a psychological thriller that explores dark family secrets. The film begins with a glimpse into the life of 16-year-old Arielle and her father, John. While she is close with her father, Arielle wonders what happened to her mother, Maria, who supposedly abandoned them 10 years ago. When Maria suddenly returns, she drives a wedge between Arielle and her father, and everything Arielle thought she knew about her family comes into question as she attempts to unravel their secrets and deceptions. This is a debut feature film from Calgary director Sandi Somers, while the screenplay is penned by Calgarian Jason Long, and features a mostly local cast too. – SP 


Lipstick Under My Burkha follows the lives of four very different women in India who all yearn to be free of societal expectations. College girl Rehang hides her makeup and jeans under her burkha. She idolizes Miley Cyrus and wants to be a pop singer. Beautician Leela is forcefully bethrothed and dreams of escaping her life. Housewife Shirin is trapped in an abusive marriage and juggles the demands of looking after her three kids while pursuing a secret and successful career as a saleswoman. And widow Usha rekindles her sexuality through a steamy phone romance. Follow the journey of the women as they defy the conventions of society to fulfill their hidden dreams and desires. – SP


Poignant and impactful in a time when our world has seen so much controversy surrounding the refugee crisis, documentary film Made in Vietnam follows the personal account of director Thi Vo and is both enlightening and heartbreaking. Having immigrated to Calgary as a child fleeing conflict in Vietnam, in adulthood Vo returns to his homeland in search of the father he was forced to leave behind. In a narrative that shatters barriers of ethnicity, culture, time and place, Vo reveals how truly fortunate Canadians are to live in a country free from war, and how important it is that we help create a world that can say the same. – MR



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