ArtsFestivalScreen

New wave of Calgary International Film Festival entries brings out stars such as Keira Knightley, Hilary Swank, Andrew Garfield

The stars are coming out.

The Calgary International Film Festival has just announced its latest wave of films that will be gracing local screens Sept. 19-30, and they are a collection of celeb-heavy flicks featuring such stars as Hilary Swank, Andrew Garfield, Salma Hayek, Graham Greene, Alexander Skarsgård, Keira Knightley, Jesse Eisenberg and Topher Grace.

Notable films among the bunch are: the Knightley vehicle and biopic Colette, which features her portraying real-life French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette; director Kim Nguyen’s The Hummingbird Project pairing The Social Network’s Eisenberg and True Blood’s Skarsgård as players in the high frequency trading game, with Hayek also having a starring role; this year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, director Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Shoplifters; David Robert Mitchell’s thriller Under the Silver Lake with Spider-Man Garfield; and the Alzheimer’s drama What They Had with Swank and an all-star cast that also features Michael Shannon, Robert Forster, Blythe Danner, Taissa Farmiga and Josh Lucas

“Not only does our audience love our broad selection of independent films that often don’t make it to the local mega-plex, festival-goers also enjoy the chance to see highly anticipated movies ahead of their wide release,” Stephen Schroeder, executive director of Calgary Film, said in a release.

Also announced was the lineup for Alberta Music Seen, which is this year’s Showcase Alberta — now in its third year at the fest — and features 10 music videos produced in this province, screening at Studio Bell on Sept. 26 with music to follow afterwards at the King Eddy. More after parties at the Eddy will be announced soon.

Here are the films that have been added to this year’s Calgary Film, with descriptions provided by organizers:

3 Faces directed by Jafar Panahi: A popular Iranian actress Behnaz Jafari (playing herself) is upset when she sees a video made by a provincial girl asking for her help. In the video, the young girl claims her family is not letting her pursue an acting dream. She’s distraught that Jafari has ignored her previous pleas. Jafari asks director Jafar Panahi (playing himself as well) to accompany her to the girl’s village. The two take a road journey to a northwestern part of Iran and encounter some surprises along the way.

All These Creatures directed by Charles Williams: An adolescent boy attempts to untangle his memories of a mysterious infestation, the unravelling of his father, and the little creatures inside us all. A short from Australia.

Ash is the Purest White directed by Jia Zhang-Ke: Qiao (an outstanding Zhao Tao) and her gangster boyfriend Bin (Liao Fan) are a formidable duo who oversee the local criminal network in Datong. When a fight with a rival gang places Bin in danger, Qiao fires a gun to protect him resulting in five years of prison time. After she is released, Qiao goes to look for Bin hoping to continue their relationship. A perceptive depiction of the Chinese landscape, both social and economical, over the course of two decades.

Climax directed by Gaspar On: A troupe of young dancers gathers in a remote and empty school building to rehearse. Shot by Noé himself, the troupe begins an all-night celebration that turns nightmarish as the dancers discover they’ve been pounding cups of sangria laced with potent LSD. Tracking their journey from jubilation to chaos and full-fledged anarchy, Noé observes crushes, rivalries, and violence amid a collective psychedelic meltdown. Starring Sofia Boutella (Atomic Blonde) and a cast of professional dancers, Climax is Noé’s most brazen and visionary statement yet.

The Driver is Red directed by Randall Christopher: Set in Argentina 1960, this true crime documentary follows the story of secret agent Zvi Aharoni as he hunted down one of the highest-ranking Nazi war criminals on the run. This will be the Canadian Premiere for this American short film.

Sharkwater: Extinction directed by Rob Stewart: Director Rob Stewart was dedicated to sharing his love and admiration for a misunderstood animal, and died in a scuba incident while filming. Criss-crossing the oceans, his third and final film is a thrilling expose of a multi-billion dollar industry tied to black markets and criminal activity. This inspiring posthumous follow-up to the award-winning Sharkwater is a passionate plea about the dire need to address our relationship with nature and change our consumer habits before it’s too late.

Through Black Spruce directed by Don McKellar: The disappearance of a young Cree woman named Suzanne Bird triggers events in two worlds: the remote Northern Ontario town she fled years ago, and the big city where she became a successful model. Up north, her uncle Will clashes with a local drug dealer who’s looking for Suzanne, and believes Will knows her whereabouts. Meanwhile, her fiercely independent twin sister Annie travels to Toronto to retrace her sibling’s footsteps … and finds herself drawn into the seductively glamorous life Suzanne left behind. Starring Tantoo Cardinal, Brandon Oakes, Graham Greene and Tanaya Beatty, Through Black Spruce is the story of a family fractured by tragedy, and held together by love.

Transit directed by Christian Petzold: Georg, a German refugee, evades the German troops in Paris and escapes to Marseille. At the port city, he awaits to secure a life saving spot on a ship to North America. Georg doesn’t have a visa, but through a case of mistaken identity he can leave for Mexico by using papers belonging to a writer named Weidel. Things get complicated when Weidel’s mysterious wife Marie shows up. Georg falls for Marie and is forced to make a tough decision.

The Wild Pear Tree directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan: After completing university, Sinan needs to write an additional exam to become a teacher like his father Idris, but Sinan’s dream is to publish his novel. It doesn’t take long for him to have some run-ins with locals who want their debts paid, a by-product of his father’s gambling habits that almost sank the family. The irony is that Sinan may have to take on a debt himself in order to get his novel published.

These films join previously announced music-themed screening, including documentaries on Joan Jett and Canadian rock icon Randy Bachman, as well as other films including the Closing Gala selection Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story, a doc about the Edmonton Oilers Hall of Famer, and Calgary director Gillian McKercher’s first feature Circle of Steel about life in the local oil and gas industry.

Early bird Calgary Film passes and ticket packages are on sale now from calgaryfilm.com at a discounted price until Aug. 26. Single tickets for all of the films at the festival go on sale online next week on Aug. 28, when the entire lineup will be announced.

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