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CUFF Announces the Full Slate of Films Playing the 18th Calgary Underground Film Festival

This year’s festival includes 29 features, 3 shorts packages & additional live online events 

The Calgary Underground Film Festival has announced the full lineup of films and live events playing the upcoming festival taking place online from April 23 – May 2. As always, the festival will feature a mix of comedies, horror, dramas, and other unusual fare that Calgarians have come to love. Films are available to stream from anywhere in Alberta.

“With a beautiful mix of strong female voices, mind-melting animation and some of the craziest films that we have ever presented, our 2021 festival emits the perfect CUFF vibes,” said CUFF Lead Programmer Cameron Macgowan. 

“We went into this year on the high of earning a spot on prestigious MovieMaker’s list of The World’s 50 Best Genre Festivals 2021 and have kept challenging ourselves with producing a new podcast – CUFFcast –, an amazing line-up of fresh cutting-edge cinema, and inspired special events. The festival may still be online due to our current times but I promise you that the festival will still provide the thrills that you have come to expect from our team,” added Macgowan.

The 18th annual festival will open with the Canadian premiere of the SXSW-selected GOLDEN ARM, an offbeat comedy about a small-town baker who, with the help of her best friend, trains for the Ladies Arm Wrestling Championship. The film will play Live at 7pm MT on Opening Night (Friday, April 23) with the film’s director Maureen Bharoocha and lead actress Betsy Sodaro joining for a Live Q&A following the film.

“This film was so much fun to watch! We all felt right away while watching it, that it had the perfect blend of quirkiness and comedy and was the most fun film to kick off the festival with,” said Festival Director and Lead Programmer Brenda Lieberman. 

“We also love bringing everyone together for the opening film too, so screening the opening as a live scheduled event, where we can experience as much of the community and collective viewing experience as possible, is really the best. We’ll have doors opening an hour prior to the screening, with a live DJ set from CJSW’s Station Manager Adam Kamis,” added Lieberman.

Following the Live Opening Night Screening, most of the festival’s films will be available to stream on-demand from 9pm MT on April 23 until 11:55pm on May 2, with a few titles streaming live and others only available for a 48 or 72-hour window.

Program Highlights of the 2021 Festival include: 

  • Five International Premieres include BAD ATTITUDE: THE ART OF SPAIN RODRIGUEZ (Directed by Susan Stern) about the controversial art and life of the legendary underground cartoonist; END OF THE LINE: THE WOMEN OF STANDING ROCK (Directed by Shannon Kring), which follows a group of Indigenous women who risk their lives to stop the oil pipeline construction; and the Sundance crime-comedy FIRST DATE (Directed by Manuel Crosby and Darren Knapp) 
  • 16 Canadian premieres including CRYPTOZOO from world-renowned animator Dash Shaw, the breakout New Zealand horror COMING HOME IN THE DARK (Directed by James Ashcroft) and the Sundance-hit comedy TOGETHER TOGETHER (Directed by Nikole Beckwith) starring Ed Helms, Patti Harrison and Tig Notaro.
  • 9 Alberta-shorts including the TIFF-selected RKLSS from Calgary Indigenous animator Tank Standing Buffalo. This is in addition to the previously announced Alberta features BLOODTHIRSTY (Directed by Amelia Moses) and RANGE ROADS (Directed by Kyle Thomas).
  • The Canadian short film JOE BUFFALO (Directed by Amar Chebib) about the Indigenous skateboard legend, which recently won the Audience Award for Best Short at SXSW.
  • A free panel on Puppetry and Stop-Motion Animation at 11am on Saturday, April 24 featuring the animators of the CUFF Selections THE OLD MAN MOVIE (Directors Oskar Lehemaa and Mikk Mägi), a stop-motion comedy from Estonia, and the horror-puppet flick FRANK & ZED (Director Jesse Blanchard).

To see the full festival lineup visit

Just prior to Opening Night, on April 21, CUFF will once again participate in National Canadian Film Day (NCFD), hosting a free online presentation of the Canadian cult-classic HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. An initiative of Reel Canada, this is CUFF’s seventh year hosting one of the country’s flagship NCFD events.

Tickets to all films playing CUFF 21 Online are on sale now. Single tickets cost $10 per film stream ($8 for members / students / seniors). 5-film multi-packs ($40) and festival passes ($139 or $169 for a household) are also on sale. The films for the weekend of drive-ins (June 3-5, 2021) will be announced in May.


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