CIFF Breaks Another Attendance Record

Posted on October 5, 2016

CALGARY – The numbers are in. Attendance has been tabulated for all of this year’s Calgary International Film Festival galas, regular screenings and Behind the Screen events. The result? CIFF 2016 saw 4.3% audience growth 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.”

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.

But multiple screenings alone do not make a festival. It is the filmmakers and film lovers that make CIFF a celebration. The festival was proud to host 76 guests from around the world – from places as far away as Estonia, Peru and Japan. Here’s the breakdown: 41 from Canada, 25 from the United States and 10 international guests.

Meanwhile, CIFF red carpets were more exciting than ever this year. In addition to a bevy of directors including Aisling Walsh, Kim Nguyen and Robert Cuffley, and actors including Martin Starr, Kari Matchett, and Niall Matter, this year we also saw both a bear (not real) and a horse (very real) on the red carpet.

CIFF events were the icing on the festival cake – and the layers in between. The Behind the Screen series, a revamp of the former Industry series, saw attendance more than double: 1,026 in 2016, compared to 428 last year. In addition to intimate filmmaker conversations, CIFF offered a bus tour of Calgary and Alberta film locations helmed by two guest bloggers from Finland, a heart-to-heart with wolf specialist Andrew Simpson, and a field trip to Alberta’s new film studio, Calgary Film Centre.

But that’s not all. To the surprise and delight of film fans, the festival also offered a steady schedule of pop-up performances that included zombies, cheerleaders and wrestlers. Cricket and worm popsicles were given to ticket holders as they arrived for the Green Carpet Gala. This year we also worked with Green Event Services at Globe Cinema to reduce our waste at one of our main festival venues and we we diverted 76% of the waste from landfills.

The festival would like to thank all the volunteers, attendees and sponsors who helped to make the 17th Calgary International Film Festival the best one yet. The dates for the festival next year will be September 20 – October 1, 2017.

In the meantime, Doc Soup subscriptions are on sale now, to tide you over.

Doc Soup Calgary is a monthly feature-length documentary series presented in partnership between the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) and Hot Docs. The series is now in its ninth year, and runs from November 2016 to April 2017. Screening on the first Wednesday of each month, Doc Soup Calgary brings six of the year's most talked-about documentaries to local audiences. 

The first film will be SOUR GRAPES on Wednesday November 2. Single tickets are now on sale.

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