Let the Festing Begin!

It’s that time of year once again, when summer days grow short and the brisk breath of autumn hangs in the morning air only to be pushed aside by a September heatwave. As the nights begin to grow longer, and the daylight steadily decreases, have no fear – the gently turning leaves signify one thing: the Calgary International Film Festival has returned.

While we may not be able to spend as many of our waking hours floating the Bow or enjoying the river pathways, we take solace in knowing that the next ten days will find us tucked comfortably in a host of cozy cinemas, the buttery sweetness of popcorn wafting through the air as we absorb all the drama, intrigue, suspense, romance, anger, frustration, comedy, questions and heartbreak CIFF 2011 has to offer.

I began this film fest season as I do every year – by meticulously scouring the Program Guide, reading every film synopsis and attempting to balance my calendar full of films. The worst of it is, there’s hardly a film I don’t want to see. As such, I’ve broken down this year’s selections into five convenient categories:

  1. Must see
  2. Have to see
  3. Gotta see
  4. Can’t miss
  5. Don’t forget to watch

Attending a film festival is both an art and a science. As you can imagine, my combined “Must see”, “Have to see” and “Gotta see” lists account for more than 40 percent of the 2011 lineup. Aside from taking a few days off work, I’ve developed an algorithm specifically-designed to account for all film-related variables and help me maximize my film-watching enjoyment:

With any luck, by the time the 2011 festival reaches it’s sad but necessary conclusion on October 2, I’ll leave the cinema a little bit wiser, a little more bleary-eyed and blissfully exhausted. How about you?

~Shannon McClennan


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