Why We Exist
The first Calgary International Film Festival was held in 2000 for six days, and was attended by 8,000 people. Within three years, attendance had more than doubled to over 20,000 for the expanded 10-day festival.
Today, the Calgary International Film Festival is an 11-day showcase of up to 200 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and over 50 other countries. The festival hosts gala events, screenings, special presentations, and a Behind the Screen series that emphasizes unique and exciting ways for filmmakers and fans to interact.
With steady growth over the past years, in 2017 CIFF set a record attendance for the 12-day festival, hitting over 40,000 attendees, double what the attendance was in 2013. Film Submissions have more than tripled over the past five years, to over 3,100 in 2020.
The Calgary International Film Festival is now the largest film festival in Alberta and is the sixth largest in Canada. It is also an Oscar-qualifying festival for short films and was named one of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” in 2016, 2017, and 2019 by MovieMaker Magazine.
Audiences are responding – In our 2019 post-festival survey, 99% of respondents stated “I had fun attending”, and virtually everyone who attended says the festival either met or exceeded their expectations.
In addition to the festival, we present other film events year-round, including Top Docs: a six-month screening series of award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary films; MoS Docs: a monthly documentary series dedicated to showcasing the year’s most talked about and compelling music documentaries; and Global Perspectives: a contemporary world cinema series that navigates the corners of the world bringing compelling stories and experiences for Calgarians to enjoy.