CUFF announces dates and plans for 2021 festival, including 10-day online component in April, drive-ins in June

YYC Cinephiles save the dates: The Calgary Underground Film Festival has just announced plans for their 2021 events.

Yes, plural.

This year, CUFF has expanded and will spread its wings, with the bulk of the fest taking place with online-only screenings over 10 days April 23-May 2, which will then be followed when the weather warms up more with three days of drive-ins from June 3-5.

“With all the uncertainty in 2021, we are embracing the new industry normal right now,” Festival Director and Lead Programmer Brenda Lieberman said in a release. 

“We’ve attended some amazing online festivals over the past few months, and are really looking forward to continuing to showcase groundbreaking filmmakers and indie gems that our audience will be excited about! 

“Both our June 2020 festival and November’s CUFF.Docs Documentary Film Festival were really successful online events, with great feedback about the streaming process and the ability for our audience to watch a lot of films. While we miss the experience of being in-cinema together – and can’t wait to return – we’re really working on building unique experiences from the comfort of home. We’ll encourage household passes, watch parties, and CUFF will continue to bring an accessible festival experience with closed captions, diverse voices and unique events.”

Most of the screenings will be available to watch on-demand throughout Alberta over the 10 days — up from seven to add another weekend of viewing onto things — with some of the special events, including the yet-to-be announced Opening Night Film, panels and other happenings surrounding the showings, available to stream live at set times.

This year’s full festival lineup will be revealed in early April, with tickets and passes going on sale then.

In other CUFF news, the organization has announced its entering the podcast fray with CUFFcast, “focusing on in-depth interviews with alumni filmmakers and other industry creatives (and) hosted by Lead Programmer Cameron Macgowan” — expect the first episode to be dropped in mid March.

CUFF, now in its 18th year, was recently named “one of the World’s 50 Best Genre Film Festivals” by MovieMaker Magazine.