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The Best Movies from the 2016 Calgary International Film Festival

The Calgary International Film Festival has been around for almost twenty years, and every year it gets a little bigger. With another festival done comes our five favorite films from a list of almost 200 films.


The Calgary International Film Festival has just ended and with it comes the audience favorites and awards-season buzz. But what are our favorite films? Let’s take a look.

5) Donald Cried

Indie director/writer/director Kris Avedisian plays the still-lives-at-home Donald, who encounters his old childhood friend Peter when he returns home to help with his Grandmothers funeral. Their meeting was no coincidence; Peter lost his wallet and needs a favor, but Donald turns his small act of kindness into a day-long odyssey of ups and downs, culminating in an emotionally hilarious climax.

Donald Cried
  • [R]

  • Mar 12, 2016

A Wall Street financial analyst (Jesse Wakeman) returns to his hometown after the sudden passing of his grandmother. He reaches out to his old childhood friend (Kris Avedisian) after losing his wallet, but the small favor turns into a long, and uncomfortable, day’s journey into their past.

4) Burn Your Maps

Jacob Tremblay surprised everyone last year with his criminally non-Oscar-nominated turn in Room, and he’s back in another unique and interesting role. This time, he plays a boy convinced he’s actually a goat herder from Mongolia, and takes his family on a worldwide adventure to discover himself while hoping to heal his fractured family.

Burn Your Maps
  • [NR]

  • Dec 1, 2016

After a family tragedy, an eccentric 8-year-old boy, Wes (Jacob Tremblay), suddenly believes that he is a Mongolian goat herder. He and his family set-out on a trip across the world, heading to the mysterious plains of Mongolia, hoping to make their family whole again.

3) Trespass Against Us

Michael Fassbender never disappoints no matter what role he takes on, and here he’s spectacular as a criminal trying to go straight and separate himself from his family, especially his father, played by the equally amazing Brendan Gleeson. But cutting the family ties proves to be as difficult as is keeping his son away from his father’s powerful influence.

Trespass Against Us
  • [R]

  • Nov 26, 2016

Tired with the constant clashes with police and trying to find a better life for his family, Chad Culter (Michael Fassbender) wants out of his criminal family business. But it proves difficult to get out from under the thumb of his powerful father (Brendan Gleeson).

2) The Girl With All The Gifts

The “zombie-film” with a twist. Based on the book of the same name, we follow Melanie (Sennia Nanua), a charismatic and fiercely intelligent young girl, who just so happens to have a taste for human flesh. When disaster hits her survival camp, she’s the only one that can save the last of their army as they roam a post-apocalyptic wasteland in search of supplies.

The Girl with All the Gifts
  • [NR]

  • Jun 23, 2016

In a post-apocalyptic future where a disease turns its victims into flesh-eating “hungries”, a small group of children immune to its effects are studied and experimented on. One little girl who stands out from the rest, Melanie (Sennia Nanua), could be the future of the human race.

1) Moonlight

An entry so late there wasn’t time to even add it to the film guide, Moonlight is a heart-wrenching look at the effects of growing up in Miami during the “war on drugs.” Told in three parts, it focuses on the life of a young black boy as he learns life lessons from his drug dealing father, to high school where he fends off bullies and takes care of his drug-addled mother, ending with him as an adult, where he becomes a dealer after being released from jail. It’s a film that will stay with you days after viewing it.

  • [NR]

  • Oct 21, 2016

A young African-American man comes of age in Miami during the “War on Drugs” era. The three-part narrative spans his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood as he survives a drug-plagued inner city while discovering the courage within himself to change.

So that is our list of the five best movies from the 2016 Calgary International Film Festival. Hope you found at least one to look forward to.

P.S. You might also want to take a look at our list of the best movies from the 2016 Toronto Film Festival. And speaking of Canada, if you have the time and are in the area, The Vancouver International Film Festival is still running until October 14. It’s highly recommended, eh.

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