By the time this rag hits the streets and you read it, we’ll likely know the entire lineup for the 2023 Calgary International Film Festival, which runs Sept. 21 to Oct. 1.

It will, as always, be awesome.

We know that because it has never not been so.

We also know because, of the already announced screenings and film series, it’s shaping up to be one for the ages.

Yes, the writer and actor strike south of us has made it a little more difficult to bring in some higher profile titles, but that only paves the way for other, less industry-friendly films to elbow their way into your eyeballs.

Again, details are still being finalized on the dates and dues for most of these screenings, but here are some of the announced CIFF offerings and events deserving a boo from you:

  • Opening and Closing Night Films: On Sept. 21, 2023, CIFF will kick things off with a screening of Geoff McFeteridge’s Drawing A Life, directed by Dan Covert (United States), which is “an intimate look into the life of one of the most visionary artists of his time.” Wrapping things up and ending CIFF on Oct. 1, is the film Hey! Viktor!, which is directed by Cody Lightning and stars Colin Mochrie, Adam Beach and other Canadian film mainstays.

  • Cover Your Ears: Part of the stacked Music on Film series, this doc from Alberta-bred filmmaker Sean Patrick Shaul about the history of censorship in music will help you relive the days of debates between Tipper Gore and the senate versus Frank Zappa and Dee Snider. What could you hear, what should you hear, what should you not. Find out. (Spoiler: the answers are everything and fuck off.)

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: On Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., the festival will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Wallace Worsley’s incredibly influential 1923 adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame with musical accompaniment from local genius Chad VanGaalen (performing as one of his alter egos/bands Black Mold). You could close your eyes and still get your money’s worth. But you won’t because the Knox United Church location is one becoming of what should be an aural and visual enlightenment.

  • Before the Sun: This Alberta offering tells the story of a Siksika Indian Relay Racer — a new favourite event at the Calgary Stampede’s rodeo competition — who’s preparing for one of the most dangerous horse races in the world.

  • Heart of the city: The locally incubated and shot TV series Heartland has quietly gone about becoming one of this country’s — nay, world’s — most beloved, longest running, one-hour family-friendly dramas. On Sept. 28 at the Jubilee Auditorium, CIFF will screen the first episode of Season 17, which is also the 250th episode of the show. Series stars Amber Marshall, Michelle Morgan, Shaun Johnston and Chris Potter will be in attendance. 

For more information and the complete listings and tickets, please go to