(October 5, 2016 – Calgary AB) The Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) announced the audience award-winning films today, in the annual Festival Wrap Press Conference held at Globe Cinema. All six awards were chosen by audience ballot, with a record number of ballots cast this year: 30,037 compared to 27,807 last year. Producer/Screenwriter Allison McGourty was on hand to accept two awards for her film The American Epic Sessions.
“It’s such an honor to come to Canada and be welcomed with so much enthusiasm by the Calgary International Film Festival and by all the people who came out to watch American Epic,” said Allison McGourty on behalf of herself and Director Bernard MacMahon. “To receive the 2016 CIFF Audience award is an incredible honor and such a surprise. We are absolutely thrilled, and we would like to thank the audience who came out to see the film and vote for us. To receive the 2016 CIFF Discovery Award for Best First Feature, Documentary, is very humbling, especially as we have seen so many great films while we have been here at the festival and we would like to congratulate all the other filmmakers who were nominated.”
Other feature winners included Burn Your Maps, which won the Audience Award for Best Narrative film, and Pushing Ahead, which won the Discover Award for Best Narrative film. Burn Your Maps is a US production filmed in Alberta with a cast that includes Vera Farmiga, Virginia Madsen, and Canadian actor Jacob Tremblay, who is celebrating a birthday today. It is scheduled to go into general distribution in December.
“The amazing audience reaction and overall feedback about the films this year put smiles on all our faces,” said Brenda Lieberman, Programming Manager, Calgary International Film Festival, on behalf of festival staff. “The films that won were part of that same buzz, and stood out in many ways. It would have been tough for our programmers to choose favourites, but we are so extremely happy for the filmmakers winning the awards today.”
Attendance for all of this year’s Calgary International Film Festival galas, regular screenings and Behind the Screen events brought a 4.3% growth in audience from last year. In total the festival welcomed 36,693 attendees, up from the previous record of 35,177 set last year.
“The increase was evident in so many ways, including multiple sellouts of screenings and higher sales of 10- and 20-packs of tickets,” said Steve Schroeder, Executive Director, Calgary International Film Festival. “But overall what struck us the most was the audience’s continued excitement in celebrating film of all genres from Alberta and around the world, and enthusiasm for engaging with our visiting filmmakers.”
In the Short Film category, Pickle was given the Audience Award for Best Documentary Short and 90 Degrees North received the Audience Award for Best Live Action, Narrative Short.
Over 12 days, CIFF screened a total of 211 films (100 features and 111 shorts) at seven venues across the city, including a screening at the new Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.
The 18th Calgary International Film Festival will run from September 20 to October 1, 2017.