- 2018 Calgary Underground Film Festival Programming Committee TOP PICKS (CUFF 2018 Preview)

Posted on Monday, April 09, 2018 at 07:00 PM

2018 Calgary Underground Film Festival Programming Committee TOP PICKS (CUFF 2018 Preview)

Preview by x CUFF

Returning for their spectacular 15th year anniversary, the Calgary Underground Film Festival is a staple for Calgary film lovers who enjoy unique, eclectic and freshly curated films. This year's festival runs from April 16 to April 22, 2018, playing exculsively at the Globe Cinema in downtown YYC.

It is no secret that CUFF is our favorite local film festival to attend, as it is not only the programming that is on point, the attending fans make each film screening boisterous and engaging. Whether you attend a documentary screening on famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, hopping to opening night screening and afterparty, playing the five new CUFFCADE games, or checking out the classic Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat Cereal Cartoon Party, there is something always exciting happening througout the festival.

This year's highlights include a full roster of international and local special guests and visiting filmmakers, which include film industry talents Jim Hosking (Director of AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN), Mike Peterson (Calgary-based Director of KNUCKLEBALL), and Rebecca Addelman (Director of PAPER YEAR) who is presenting a “Inside The Writer's Room” Master Class. CUFF also presents four major international or world premieres for the following films: PAPER YEAR, SLAVE TO THE GRIND, MEXMAN, FREAKS AND GEEKS: THE DOCUMENTARY. Some events are bound to sell-out, such as the ever popular FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL: VOLUME 8. Not to mention that 43% of the festival's feature films are by female filmmakers.

We at stay closely in touch with the CUFF organizers and programming committee throughout the year and and the team loves to give us a sneak peek to their favorite choices. This year is no different and we are excited to see what they have chosen!


A programming committee works together to review all films submitted to the Calgary Underground Film Festival. Here are the top picks from the programmers and previewers that watched the most the most films selecting the lineup for the 2018 festival.  

Festival Director & Programmer: Brenda Lieberman

PREFERRED GENRE: I always gravitate to horror films or absurdist comedy, but I am also a sucker for a unique coming of age film, or quirky rom-coms.

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID – I loved everything about this film, and those looking for a world cinema title, or something unique this is a must see. It’s atmospheric, intense, a unique mix of fantasy and horror, great script, cast and direction, and I incredibly impactful.

FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL: VOL 8 – Nick & Joe are hilarious but the whole event is amazing. They always get the whole audience laughing, and the overall energy they create is the best!
PIN CUSHION – Quirky, coming of age film, that is almost cringe-worthy with awkwardness at times, but this film is great!
FAKE TATTOOS – This is a great punk rock light, coming of age relationship film, that feels very raw, and natural, and I loved the chemistry between the leads. Plus, discovering a new Canadian director to watch for! 

Programmer: Cameron Macgowan

PREFERRED GENRE: Shaw Bros (If only someone would present a weekend marathon of some kung fu classics the last weekend of May...).

LET THE CORPSES TAN – This film was designed to see on the big screen with fellow film geeks and played LOUD. These images will be seared into your brain for the rest of your life.

ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA – The most unique film to come out of Canada in the last 20 years. This gem needs to be celebrated as a national accomplishment.
REVENGE – Oh man, I can't wait to watch this with a rowdy CUFF crowd. The entire final act will have you uncontrollably pumping your fists in the air.
ROLLER DREAMS – This film proves that a documentary can be both extremely informative and extremely entertaining without being dry. The beautiful vintage roller skating footage made me question all of my fashion choices. 

Operations Manager & Programmer: Brennan Tilley

PREFERRED GENRE: Narrative features loosely based on documentary podcasts.

FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL: VOL 8 – Whenever Joe and Nick come with a new show, it is a great time. Prepare for the best of odd, hilarious and profoundly stupid videos. Past highlights include Video Dating, Dr. Rocco's Better Love Making Through Hypnosis, and Ferret Fun. This year's show features never before seen footage of fake strongman duo Chop and Steele, a Desert Storm Parade sponsored by Taco Bell, and the Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults.

AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN – We have been longtime fans of director Jim Hosking. His film Renegades won Best Narrative Short in 2010. This wild and wacky tale with a star-studded cast will kick off a crazy week of films.
AMERICAN ANIMALS – Documentarian Bart Layton has crafted a genre-defying film that mixes elements of drama and documentary to tell the stranger than fiction true story of a robbery inspired by heist films.
TIME SHARE – Winner of Special Jury Award for Writing at Sundance. The positive comparisons to the films of Yorgos Lanthimos are well-deserved. In an off-kilter world, even the most reasonable responses seem absurd.

Previewer: Jeff Wright

PREFERRED GENRE: Is Bob's Burgers a genre? That's all I've been watching lately.


HIGH FANTASY is a tremendous and fresh look at race and gender relations within a group of friends in South Africa. If you're looking for a film that you'll be thinking about long after you see it, this should be the first ticket you buy. Oh, and did I mention it's a body swap film?

ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA is one of most strangely beautiful and whimsical Canadian films of recent memory.
Our mini-retrospective of Lynn Ramsay is of course a must see featuring RATCATCHER and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and new feature film YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE.
And while I can't tell you what our SECRET SCREENING is, trust that if you like your movies really weird, we've got you covered!

Previewer: Jim Evans

PREFERRED GENRE: Shorts, late night, Japanese gorefest and stuff that wrecks your brain with controlled weirdness.


MOTHER (short). This film had me on the edge of my seat. Probably the most powerful short I have seen in years. Anyone with kids will not be able to sleep for a month after viewing.

LUNCH LADIES (short) – 'cause these old broads know how to cook!
1ST DAY & NEXT MINUTE (short) – Drop tab and enjoy!
ROBO GREASER (short) – You gotta love roller skates. So sexy and unpredictable!

About CUFF 2018

The Calgary Underground Film Festival is committed to showcasing ground breaking, provocative independent film with an emphasis on emerging genres. We strive to show works that defy convention in form, style and content, screening a wide spectrum of contemporary works in a variety of categories including narrative, documentary, animation and shorts.

The 15th edition Calgary Underground Film Festival 2018 has multiple screenings daily between April 16 to 22, 2018 exclusively at The Globe Cinema (617 - 8 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB).

Local Scene Event: 15th Calgary Underground Film Festival 2018 >

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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