- 2019 CUFF.Docs Programmer TOP PICKS (CUFF.Docs 2019 Preview)

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 02:00 PM

2019 CUFF.Docs Programming Team TOP PICKS (CUFF.Docs 2019 Preview)

Preview by x CUFF

In their lucky seventh year, CUFF.Docs continues to push to the forefront, intriguing and challenging documentaries to Calgary audiences. The Calgary Underground Film Festival's talented programming teams strives to draw out some of the most provocative and interesting non-fiction films, and given the popularity of this festival, it has become a showcase of their keen skillset.

Every year partners with CUFF.Docs to highlight the gems from upcoming festival and in 2019, the lineup looks to have some incredible selections. Here we present the TOP PICKS, MUST SEES, and MOST SURPRISING from the CUFF.Docs programming team for the 7th CUFF.Docs 2019 film festival.


Festival Director & Lead Programmer: Brenda Lieberman


J.R. "BOB" DOBBS AND THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS - I had never heard of The Church of The Subgenius, and right from the start of this film, I found myself fascinated, shocked, and totally engrossed. There are also lots of great interviews to go along with the wild topic. I’ll definitely look forward to the discussion after the screening, as the director Sandy K. Boone will be in attendance. 

MR TOILET: THE WORLD'S #2 MAN - This film is quirky, fun, focuses on important world issues, and has a lot of charm and heart woven throughout it.

LOS REYES - I had no idea what to expect from this film when I started watching it, but it captivated me right away. There is hardly any dialogue, and you are watching through the eyes of the dogs; that in itself was a draw to me, and adds another layer of uniqueness to this doc. I enjoyed everything about this quiet film, and was caught up in the environment and the dogs.

Lead Programmer: Cameron Macgowan


OUR TIME MACHINE - This documentary about a puppeteer putting on a play for his father who is dealing with Alzheimer's is perhaps one of the most beautifully shot documentaries that I have seen in many years. The subject matter is very touching, the footage is extremely candid and the subjects of the documentary are consistently fascinating and entertaining.

SCREAM, QUEEN: MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET - The horror community has always sensed the homoerotic undercurrent of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 so it's great to finally have a documentary that celebrates and examines how intentional this actually was. What I wasn't expecting was how truly bittersweet and tragic the story of lead actor Mark Patton is. As a horror fan, I went into this documentary expecting to be entertained but left the film feeling very moved.

WHERE DOES A BODY END? - The be-all and end-all documentary on experimental rock pioneers Swans and their enigmatic founder Michael Gira. This film not only celebrates just how important and influential this band is but is also a riveting look at the dedication and obsession that it takes to be a working artist in today's economic climate. A highly inspirational and informative documentary. 

Lead Programmer: Brennan Tilley


THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY - It is like that old joke about a documentarian and a dying illusionist walking in a bar and being greeted by a bartender that keeps talking about Sixto Rodriguez. Or maybe it is like when you think you spotted how a great magician is performing an illusion only to realize it was a distraction from the real trick he was pulling. A wild ride that layers the twists right to the end credits.

MARKIE IN MILWAUKEE - At 46, a seven-foot tall fundamentalist Baptist preacher comes out as transgender, leading to separation from family and dismissal from her church. On the eve of sexual reassignment surgery, Markie makes the choice to de-transition and work toward rebuilding her relationship with her family and church. An intimate portrayal of the struggle one goes through to reconcile the many facets of an identity.

SKI BUM: THE WARREN MILLER STORY - Warren Miller was a maverick filmmaker whose pioneering exhibition strategy remained his trademark for decades. He wore many hats in the production of the annual films then toured them with wry live narration. A heartfelt look at the life and art of a prolific figure in sports documentaries.

WHERE IN THE HELL IS THE LAVENDER HOUSE: THE LONGMONT POTION CASTLE STORY - Following the 2016 Indiegogo campaign I am mostly surprised this actually was finished. Phone work artist Longmont Potion Castle brings surrealism to his calls in a way that separates him from other prank callers. Through tracking down LPC the filmmakers are able to show how the proverbial sausage is made. And that sausage is wasp meat.

About CUFF.Docs 2019

CUFF.Docs Documentary Film Festival showcases the best in non-fiction films. At CUFF.Docs,
the quality of the film is what matters most; we don’t book films to make political statements or
advocate for particular issues. Instead, we hope to present a range of films that both confirm and
challenge beliefs, promoting a sense of wonder and a healthy skepticism, and above all, that
continue to advance the medium of documentary filmmaking.

The lucky 7th edition of CUFF.Docs 2019 has multiple screenings daily between Nov 27 to Dec 01, 2019 exclusively at The Globe Cinema (617 - 8 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB).

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NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to