- 2017 CUFF Programming Committee MUST SEES + TOP PICKS

Posted on Friday, March 31, 2017 at 06:00 PM

2017 Calgary Underground Film Festival Programming Committee MUST SEES + TOP PICKS (CUFF 2017 Preview)

Preview by x CUFF

UMMMM YES. Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) season has arrived, here to make every Calgary springtime a little more wierder than the last. Known for their enigmatic programming, 2017 is CUFF's 14th consecutive year for this distinctive film festival!

What's in store for this year? Lots of what you know and MORE of what you don't. The lineup features 28 genre-busting feature films and two shorts packages. The familiar festival staples are back, including the THE SATURDAY MORNING ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-CEREAL CARTOON PARTY! and 5 brand new CUFFcade games.

The veteran programming staff can do no wrong - this time around, bringing some of most anticipated films on the festival circuit, this year includes Ben Wheatley's FREE FIRE, the animated MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL IS SINKING INTO THE SEA, the hip-hop doc G FUNK , the SXSW award-winner ASSHOLES and Nacho Vigalondo's COLOSSAL.

AND THEN? A few MONSTER features specially selected for Calgary: FUBAR 15th ANNIVERSARY SCREENING, a FREE National Canadian Film Day Screening of PONTYPOOL, and opening night film (and coincidently the International Premiere) THE LITTLE HOURS with Director Jeff Baena and actress Aubrey Plaza in attendance!

We at are a couple of CUFF's biggest FANBOYS and we are always grateful to get an exclusive preview from the brain trust of the CUFF Programming Committee. Listen up as they tell us their own personal TOP PICKS and MUST SEE films for this year’s festival!

UPDATED: See the second batch of selections here - MORE 2017 CUFF Programming Committee MUST SEES + TOP PICKS - PART 2 >


Brenda Lieberman, Festival Director & Programmer
Preferred genre: Anything absurdist or dark comedy, although quirky rom-com’s and horror are also up there. I have the hardest time narrowing down favorites.

Top Pick:  BAND AID – Just can’t say enough about this one. I loved every minute of this film. If you like quirky, FUNNY, relationship films, and music then this is perfect for you.

Must sees: ALL of them!! Though I do have a soft spot for LOVE AND SAUCERS and GORAN.

Cameron Macgowan, Programmer
Preferred genre: Neon-drenched sleaze.

Top Pick: THE UNTAMED - This beautifully grotesque film somehow manages to find the perfect balance between pulling at your heart strings and creeping you out big time. I was incredibly impressed by the bravery of everyone involved in this production and have never seen a film quite like The Untamed.

Must sees: ALIPATO: THE VERY BRIEF LIFE OF AN EMBER - Right from the opening shot, I knew I was in for a wild ride but nothing could have prepared me for the craziness of Alipato. This film is off the rails! Think Spring Breakers meets Hard to be a God.

MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA - You can really feel the blood, sweat and tears put into this beautifully hand-crafted animated film. Old school in all the best ways imaginable.

BLOOD MOUNTAIN: Nothing makes us happier than getting to present the excellent work of a burgeoning Calgary filmmakers. This gritty found-footage thriller from director Jason Wan Lim takes some big risks which pay off big time with an intense conclusion you will not soon forget.

Brennan Tilley, Operations Manager & Programmer
Preferred Genre: Neo-noir adaptation of a board game.

Top Pick: DAVE MADE A MAZE - Absurdity and heart combine in the story of a man who has probably watched Goonies and Labyrinth more than he has finished anything in his life. A film made with cardboard, puppets and a love of adventure films.

Must Sees: 78/52 - By killing off an imperfect heroine in a beautifully choreographed murder in the first half the film, Psycho profoundly shifted the rules of the horror genre and cinema in general. A wide assortment of interviewees discuss how Psycho forever changed the way they make and watch movies.

THE SATURDAY MORNING ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-CEREAL CARTOON PARTY! gets bigger and wilder each year. The best cereal from near and far are served with an eccentric mix of cartoons from across the decades. Make yourself comfortable and settle in for a morning of pure joy.

Bryn Evans, Programming Team
Preferred Genre: Anything set in '80s Los Angeles.

Top Pick: LOVE AND SAUCERS - nothing exemplifies what CUFF does best than with this very strange, funny, and touching doc about an artist and his years-long intergalactic romance with an alien.

Must Sees: Fans of the master won't want to miss DAVID LYNCH: THE ART OF LIFE, an in-depth look into the filmmaker's life and process, Dash Shaw's animated feature MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL IS SINKING INTO THE SEA is high school satire at its best, and fans of hyper-stylized realism and violence will be blown away by ALIPATO: THE VERY BRIEF LIFE OF AN EMBER.

Christian Kelley, Programming Team
Preferred Genre: All of them. All of the time.

Top Pick: A chance to see FREE FIRE before it opens wide? C'mon, it's a no-brainer.

Must Sees: I'd be SHOCKED if you saw another movie like ALIPATO: THE VERY BRIEF LIFE OF AN EMBER this year. And I always suggest any (or all) of our shorts packages SHORTS: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' and SHORTS: STICKY SITUATIONS. There's so many weird and wonderful and mind-melting things in there to haunt your dreams.

Jeff Wright, Programming Team
Preferred Genre: YouTube videos about dogs who're friends with other types of animals.

Top Pick: My favourite film that we're playing this year is PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT ME. It's the feature film debut of Hadas Ben Aroya (who also wrote and stars in the film), about a young woman's often funny, and often lonely search for love and sex in Tel Aviv. Aroya's going to do big things moving forward, so come out and become a fan early.

Must Sees: If you've ever found yourself wishing there were more films about black magic, you're in luck! Liam Gavin's A DARK SONG has more black magic than you can shake a bag of chicken bones at. And if you're looking for more unhinged and stylized weirdness (you are, right?), you should check out Xander Robin's ARE WE NOT CATS.

About CUFF 2017

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 14th edition Calgary Underground Film Festival 2017 has multiple screenings daily between April 17 to 23, 2017 exclusively at The Globe Cinema (617 - 8 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB).

Local Scene Event: 14th Calgary Underground Film Festival 2017 >

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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