Calgary Society Of Independent Filmmakers
Our Story Why We Exist
CSIF was founded in 1978 by a collective of twelve filmmakers who saw the growing need for film resources and film equipment in Calgary. From our humble beginnings in a church basement, we have grown over the last 36-years to become a vital hub for both emerging and established filmmakers working in Calgary.
When the $100 Film Festival was born in 1992, it showcased eight short films on Super 8. The name sprung from the challenge to shoot a short film on four rolls of Super 8 – which tallied to the cost of $100. The festival is now an international celebration of creative expression on celluloid.
In 1998 CSIF partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Services Community Association to present the first annual FairyTales International Queer Film Festival, which has since set out on its own to become one of the leading LGBT film festivals in Canada.
Many of our members have gone on to excel in the Canadian independent film industry due to their hard work and imagination, aided by CSIF’s focus on production, exhibition and providing resources and support. Members today are still benefiting from this focus and, as their technical needs diversify and change, CSIF attempts to keep up with these changes.
Now approaching our 40th year of operation, we have become an integral part of the infrastructure and ecosystem of the greater Calgary Film and Media community, boasting over 200 members and counting. Visit us at our new offices in Sunalta - we are excited to talk about new collaborations and opportunities!
“CSIF has evolved into a hub for all kinds of filmmakers, and we must continue to support it so that it can, in turn, help churn out the next brilliant film from this community…. We must continue to make films, films that tell the stories of who we are, films that push boundaries and challenge the status quo, that perhaps even inspire positive change in ourselves or how we view the world.” - Filmmaker Corey Lee for FFWD Weekly
Our Impact What We Do
Our Mission: We are an inclusive, non-profit, arts-based society that exists to encourage filmmaking as art, reflecting and challenging our changing cultural landscape through production, exhibition and distribution of the filmmaker's work.
Our operations fall into two major categories:
- Production: equipment rentals, workshops, clubs, mentorships, networking opportunities
- Exhibition: yearly programming, $100 Film Festival, film library, community engagement and outreach
With the help of our equipment and resources, our approximately 200 members produce over 100 productions per year, including short films, documentaries, television shows, web series, music videos, and feature films. We’ve seen great international success from many of our longtime members, including Michael Dowse (GOON, FUBAR), Gary Burns (WAYDOWNTOWN, RADIANT CITY) and Kyle Thomas (THE VALLEY BELOW).
Our diverse programming reaches over 3000 people per year in the Calgary area. We also strive to reach underrepresented communities in Alberta by programming events in partnership with First Nations communities. Growing our scope to a national level, we have completed several touring projects that have reached audiences at partner film societies across Canada.
Beyond contributing to a sense of community for our members, we offer access to educational workshops and clubs for all skill levels (including learning the techniques of 8mm and 16mm filmmaking), production and post-production equipment rentals, mentorships, and screening programming that often showcases our members' work.
Aided by our focus on skill-based workshops, production, and exhibition, many CSIF members have gone on to excel in the Canadian independent film industry. Members today are still benefiting from our focus on and commitment to technical skill, access to information, and mentorship.
“With so much freedom to explore arenas of interest, the creative flow gives way to an impressive amount of output. In a world where grants and opportunity come to those who have performed in the professional and oftentimes cut-throat business of film, CSIF is quietly but effectively bringing a large amount of work to the table that is created with a sense of community and enthusiasm." – Jennie Orton, Beatroute Magazine
Our Programs How We Do It
Our array of production and exhibition programs, resources and outreach efforts stimulate film production, and contribute to the overall creative landscape in Calgary:
Equipment rentals: CSIF has a large collection of professional, high-end equipment for rent at highly discounted non-commercial rates. Our members have access to both film-based, and digital cameras, lighting, grip gear, as well as to in-house editing and transfer suites.
Workshops: CSIF offers year-round workshops in all aspects of the filmmaking field: preproduction workshops including screenwriting, grantwriting and planning, technical workshops for the production process, as well as assistance with post-production and distribution. Our workshops are often taught by past or present CSIF members who have honed their craft enough to give back to the community.
Clubs: CSIF encourages participation in our member driven drop-in clubs that encourage a collaborative approach to scriptwriting and experimenting with film. We also offer a drop-in Friday afternoon social where filmmakers can meet and network.
Funding Opportunities: Our Production Access Fund offers non-monetary production assistance in four categories semi-annually: Fish Fund, Cultural Equity Fund, Aboriginal Voices Fund and LGBTTQ Fund. This initiative helps to stimulate important creative growth for underrepresented groups within Calgary.
- CSIF also partners with the ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Art festival in Toronto to offer one First Nations filmmaker per year an opportunity to create and showcase an original short film with cash, equipment access and mentorship support.
Youth Engagement: Each year CSIF offers our Summer Media Arts Camp. This intensive two-week course for youth age 13-17, introduces young filmmakers to every aspect of the filmmaking process from scriptwriting to production to distribution.
Film Library: CSIF's film library houses over 2000 titles of 16mm and Super 8 films that are available to the public for rental. Films range from shorts to feature films, with many National Film Board (NFB) titles available.
Programming: CSIF strives to showcase thought provoking independent films to a wide range of audiences. Throughout the year we have two member screenings, First Nations screenings in Calgary and on reserves, our outdoor Secret Cinema series, as well as many co-presentations with organizations which have included:
- The M:ST Performative Arts Festival, Quickdraw Anmation Society, EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Society, TRUCK Gallery, Sled Island, The Glenbow Museum, This Is My City Festival, CUFF, CIFF, Calgary Cinematheque, National Music Centre, Nuit Blanche Calgary and more.
$100 Film Festival: Calgary’s oldest film festival, the $100FF has evolved from being based around a low budget to a celebration of film on Super 8 and 16mm. We are now only one of a few festivals in the world that showcases the world exclusively on small format celluloid film. Our challenging experimental programming pushes the line between cinema and visual art, bringing exciting new short films to Calgary each year. To see the 23rd Annual $100 Film Fest trailer, click here: 2016: $100 Film Fest Trailer.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Become a member: CSIF offers three tiers of annual membership: Library Member, Associate Member and Production Member. These allow for access to resources, discounted equipment and workshops, as well as our weekly newsletter and invitations to social events.
Volunteer: CSIF relies heavily on support from our volunteers. Throughout the year we always have roles available including: event setup, research, administrative tasks, equipment maintenance and more.
Partner with CSIF: We are always looking for new organizations or events to partner with for programming and workshops. Get in touch with us to explore new opportunities!
Join the $100 Club: in 2013, philanthropist and arts lover Kevin Allen started the annual $100 Club- give $100 and contribute to the $100 Film Festival. Our 25th Annual $100 Film Festival is planned for March 22-25, 2017.
Donate to CSIF: We use donations towards important operational costs, and are currently raising funds to support our new location in Sunalta (with expanded workshop space, loading bay for gear rentals, and two editing suites) as well as maintaining our relationship with Herland, the ongoing filmmaking mentorship program for women filmmakers. Donations in any amount are much appreciated, and tax receipts will be issued for any amount over $20.