Will it be Roma, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody? Join other movie buffs and a slew of Calgary’s movers and shakers who are expected to walk the red carpet
by Deb Cummings
Working at a university often means we are confronted with many deep philosophical questions that may never be answered. What is truth? What is reality? How do I throw a decent Oscar party?
OK, so maybe not the last one. But still, we need to know these things, which is why we turned to the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) where we found its new artistic director and two alumni — an engineering grad and a history major — deep in the throes of planning for one of their biggest parties/fundraisers of the year.
So, here’s the truth: Beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, the Palace Theatre in downtown Calgary will be all gussied up, Hollywood-style. After treading across the red carpet, with paparazzi popping photos, you will not only see one massive movie-sized screen, “for those who want only to speak during commercials,” explains Brian Owens, CIFF’s artistic director, “but hundreds of other screens will be strategically placed around cocktail tables for those who want to mingle and chat.”
Taking its lead from the 91-year-old Oscars (which this year is eschewing the traditional MC), CIFF’s bash will be doing the disembodied-voice-as-host. “That doesn’t mean things won’t be happening on our stage,” explains Owens. “We’ve got all sorts of interactive games from a best-dressed competition to something we’ve dubbed the Trophy Game (with a chance to win up to $20,000), plus food from Anju, Goro + Gun and The National will roll out throughout the night and we’ll have an oyster bar, a silent auction and other surprises.”
Movie buffs will love CIFF’s idea, which is to start celebrating the Oscars a week before by spotlighting live-action shorts one night, animation shorts another, as well as a night full of documentary shorts — all at Calgary’s downtown Globe Theatre. Plus, when you buy a ticket to CIFF’s Oscar party, you will receive a prediction ballot. “The person with the highest score will nab two free passes to CIFF’s annual fall film festival, and, if they beat me,” chuckles Owens, “they will get four passes.”