A Stampede of Film Fans
It's July, which can only mean one thing here in Calgary: the Stampede is ready to get rolling once again! Whether you stuff yourself on free breakfasts, show off your finest Wranglers, or make it a point to hit every ride on the grounds, it's a fact of life in the city that the Stampede is part of who we are. And what's more, plenty of the fun stuff that goes on there are the same things that we highlight in our programming! Here are a few of the common themes that we share with our cowboy citizenry (that is, 99% of Calgary for the next 10 days), with examples from years past:
1. We love the West!
As evidenced by our massive, sold-out premiere of the 10th season of HEARTLAND last year, people in Calgary love their horses and homesteads. The popular show is filmed nearby, and much of the cast and crew came to visit the premiere, ensuring that the hundreds of fans were not disappointed when the red carpet rolled out.
2. Beef? Boring!
While we'll never turn down the Stampede staples of beef-on-a-bun or a monster hot dog, you can't deny that for some people, it's all about the new and exotic foods that are found at the Stampede grounds every summer. We delved into this last year with our doc BUGS ON THE MENU, which discussed the potential of eating bugs as a dietary supplement. We even recruited Family Freezed to whip up some cricket popsicles to hand out to our patrons - a tasty treat that won't be soon forgotten!
3. It's All About the Music
The Coke Stage is a classic symbol of the Stampede, drawing popular acts from here in Calgary and from around the world to come entertain the crowds every day. We also recognize the power of music, devoting our entire Music On Screen programming to films that showcase the emotion, potential, and talent involved in musical endeavours. Our first showing at the new Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre - which sold out! - occurred last year, with the film THE AMERICAN EPIC SESSIONS going on to win two audience awards by the end of the festival.
4. We Celebrate Love
There's actually some evidence that birth rates spike in April in Calgary, nine months after the Stampede rolls through town...and not wanting to be left out, we're doing our best to make them spike at the end of June as well! Preferable on a Wednesday in June, as we revived our popular Hump Night series last year - a midweek offering of sultry, sexy, teasing and tittilating films that focus on love in all its forms and glory. You may have seen an errant set of walking genitalia wandering around our venues that day...and these films are the reason why!
5. Endless Hordes of People
Locals who live near the train line have been known to dread Stampede week, when hundreds of thousands of lost tourists descend upon their neighborhoods, looking for the one parking spot that remains for a kilometre in every direction. It's easy to see the parallels to classic zombie movies, but there are plenty of newer ones that work just as well - for example, did you catch THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS last year, which turned heads as a refreshing twist on the zombie genre?
6. Free Stuff!
Who doesn't love free stuff? It's a time-tested formula that never fails. Just like the Stampede has raffles and giveaways, we like to reward our diehard fans with some nice prizes through the summer! Since people come from all over the world to visit Calgary, we want you to come visit us during the festival - complete with a free two-night stay at the downtown Ramada hotel, 10 film passes, and more. Even if you're from the city, you can win a cool $1,000 travel voucher from Delta Air Lines by referring a friend to the contest. Full details can be found here.
If you're the type that really can't bring yourself to mutter even a single "Yee-Haw", then you just have to make it through the next ten days. We've heard that watching films helps with Stampede Syndrome, so why not catch up on some you've missed? It's the perfect lead-up to another great time at the Calgary International Film Festival's 2017 edition!