Calgary Film Fest Announces Line-Up, Docs include World Premieres of ‘Wall’ and ‘When They Awake’


By Pat Mullen

The ““Calgary International Film Festival”:”: announced its line-up yesterday. The 18th edition of the festival includes a mix of Canadian and international documentaries among the 200-odd films. Among the most notable titles set to have its world premiere at CIFF is Wall, an ambitious animated documentary in the vein of Waltz with Bashir. The film, directed by Cam Christiansen, is written by British playwright and screenwriter David Hare (The Hours, The Reader) and follows the scribe on a tour of the controversial 708-kilometre barrier that divides Israel and Palestine. Hare will also do an extended conversation at the festival to discussion Wall and his greater body of work.

Also notable is Calgary’s opening night gala selection When They Awake from directors P.J. Marcellino and Hermon Farahi. The film, much like this year’s Canuck hit Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, explores the contributions of Indigenous Canadians to rock music throughout history. Talking heads in the film include Tanya Tagaq, A Tribe Called Red, and Leela Gilday. The opening gala features a musical performance by IsKwé.

Other Canadian docs in the line-up include Denis Côté‘s droll doc-drama hybrid A Skin So Soft, Bobbi Jo Hart’s giddy and gay Rebels on Pointe, Tasha Hubbard’s deeply moving Birth of a Family, Matt Embry’s inspiring Living Proof, Melanie Wood’s Shut Up and Say Something, Thi Vo’s search for his father in Made in Vietnam, the Hot Docs anthology In the Name of All Canadians and Alanis Obomsawin’s landmark 50th film Our People Will Be Healed.

On the international front, CIFF screens Jennifer Brea’s acclaimed Unrest, which probably makes a fascinating, if difficult, double bill with Living Proof, Matt Schrader’s film symphony Score: A Film Music Documentary, Egil Haskjold Larsen’s look at the Syrian refugee experience in 69 Minutes of 86 Days, and Theo Anthony’s bold study of Boston’s rat problem in Rat Film.

The Calgary International Film Festival runs Sept. 20 – Oct. 1. Please visit for more info.