Movie Preview: Calgary’s own underground

By Sherri Shergill

Let’s say all the Jennifers, Toms and Micheals disappear. Now take away the millions of dollars, the egos, the huge movie companies, flashy directors and superficial filmmakers and what’s left? Underground movies willing to stray from the norm and provide original and authentic entertainment.

And if different is what you’re looking for, the Calgary Underground Film Festival is where you’ll find creative and enthralling cinema. The festival begins on Thu., Apr. 14 and spans three days, providing a great opportunity to support local artists while getting the chance to discover a new appreciation for film.

“The festival is aimed towards people looking for more than the typical Hollywood fair,” explains the festival’s programmer, Andrew Eyck. “It’s for those people that are looking for films that provide an experience and get you asking questions.”

The Calgary Underground Film Festival, in its second year, is dedicated to highlighting unorthodox vision by showcasing independent and boundary pushing experimental films. The festival selects films which resist the standard structure, technique and subject matter characteristically found in Hollywood movies and ensures the audience will be entertained by talent.

The festival hosts many different genres, spanning from animations to documentaries to short films touching on topics of politics, protest, music and sex. Screening eight feature films, including two Canadian premiers, and a program of short movies, the Calgary Underground Film Festival promises to be unlike any other film festival.

“It’s the only opportunity for Calgarians to actually see some of these productions,” says Eyck. “We are screening films that would not normally be shown in Calgary, you probably couldn’t even find these in any video stores.”

Another difference between this festival and others is the venue, as the screenings are being held at Broken City, a popular local bar providing an alternative to the usual movie theatre.

“It’s a different experience to see a film at the bar. The bar can seat up to 75, so it’s a more intimate setting,” explains Eyck. “We also have live bands and DJs following our screenings.”

Each night, the festival arranged for local bands to provide live entertainment after the screenings to ensure the exposure of not only Canadian filmmakers and directors, but of local up and coming artists such as House Doctors and Masters Paracino. In addition to celebrating independent flicks and artists, this year’s festival pays homage to Canadian horror films with a mini retrospective.

Caleum Vatnsdal, filmmaker and author of They Came From Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema will be present each night to introduce and discuss the classic horror films like Shivers, Playgirl Killers and The Corpse Eaters. Before these movies, Vatnsdal will explore and explain the creation, history and cultural effects of the horror genre and why Canadian horror films seldomly receive critical approval and continue to be controversial.

Underground film festivals are known for their often aggressive, independent and unique subject matter; Calgary’s is no exception promising to be nothing like the money hopeful cinematic product out in theatres today. If you’re looking for some stimulating entertainment, then be sure to attend the Calgary Underground Film Festival this weekend.

Leave a comment