But also a little salty, scary, silly, stoopid, gory, goofy, irreverent, educational, awe-inspiring and so much more.
In other words, everything film lovers have come to know, expect and love from the Calgary Underground Film Festival over the previous decade and a half of its existence.
On Thursday, organizers announced the lineup of this year’s event, which takes place at the Globe Cinema from April 22-28.
It’s another wacky and wonderful collection of films from the fringes, and kicks off with the tone-setting gala screening and Canadian premiere of the Australian zombie rom-com Little Monsters starring Oscar-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o from 12 Years a Slave and Us.
“It’s a crowd-pleaser,” says CUFF’s festival director and co-founder Brenda Lieberman. “We were really trying to find something that we thought would hit our ‘opening vibe’ that we’ve done the last few years … Once you get into details of the festival lineup there’s all sorts of things going on in there, but this opening night where it turns into a fun little party is always good.”
Other notables among the largest CUFF selection of 30 features, both fiction and documentaries, include: Her Smell, starring Elizabeth Moss, which is about the singer of a popular ’90s punk band trying to stay on top and stay afloat; director Claire Denis’ sci-fi flick High Life, featuring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche; Rob Grant’s locally-shot and produced tension-filled film Harpoon; Penny Lane’s acclaimed doc on The Satanic Temple called Hail Satan?; and a look at the “most hated man in Hollywood,” director Uwe Boll called Fuck You All.
Also back this year are some regular faves, including the Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat Cereal Cartoon Party, CUFFcade featuring five new arcade cabinets, and two versions of the Found Footage Film Festival with hosts Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher — one After Dark edition featuring “their raunchiest, most unsettling, and patently misguided VHS finds from 25 years of collecting at thrift stores and garage sales around North America” and another of the regular, more kid-friendly variety.
Lieberman laughs. “Well, I don’t know how kid-friendly it is. It depends on the parents. Everything always just depends on the parents.”
That said, there is a new initiative this year directed at new parents, CUFFtots.
On the Thursday and Friday of the fest, they’ll be hosting 1 p.m. matinee screenings of the backcountry thriller Body at Brighton Rock and In Fabric, which is about a dress that kills people, both of which will see the theatre stroller accessible, with change tables and supplies available, sound lowered and lighting raised.
“Over the years we’ve been wanting to do this,” says Lieberman
“We looked at the Stars and Strollers concept at Cineplex and it’s really amazing. We have got lots of our patrons that have talked about having kids and still wanting to attend, and some have had to take a hiatus from attending because of babies and we thought, especially with even some of our team was starting to have kids, we thought this was a great way to try it out. We’ll start with two films and see if people are interested and able to navigate the downtown to come and participate.”
The full lineup of the Calgary Underground Film Festival’s 16th year as well as tickets and passes are available now from https://www.calgaryundergroundfilm.org.