The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Good news for those who seat-kick, talk during movies and don't mind annoying those around you with a glowing screen. The Calgary Underground Film Festival will be available for online viewing at any home in Alberta from June 22 to 28. 

Also, viewers can enjoy up to four nights of drive-ins, which will ignite your inner ‘60s teenager - just make sure you keep your eyes on the film, resisting the temptation to let your eyes wander off the screen. Find all the information about films, tickets, dates and times on the CUFF site. 

Since adding the pop-up drive-in option, CUFF has had to double their days, offering four nights of on-wheels experiences, from the 24th to 27th. But, due to health regulations, there will only be space for 50 cars per night.

CUFF super-fan, Jim Evans who has been attending the festival for years, is most looking forward to the drive-in experience this year, the only downside being limited space. 

"It's kind of sad because I know there's not going to be enough tickets for everybody to make it to the drive-in." 

The decision to offer a drive-in came about through CUFF's partnership with Big Rock Brewery. Dave Maess, marketing manager for Big Rock, says despite the pandemic, they still wanted to help bring people together.

 

"It just seems like something that some of the younger generations had to miss out. We have an opportunity to bring it back, it's gonna be a lot of fun."

— Dave Maess, Big Rock Brewery

 

"The drive-in just seemed like a no brainer," says Maess. 

Drive-in ticket holders and their guests will enjoy the films right on the Big Rock property, tuning in through their vehicle's FM radio. 

For Maess, the drive-in experience is something he missed out on growing up and is looking forward to being a part of bringing it back. 

"It just seems like something that some of the younger generations had to miss out,” says Maess. “We have an opportunity to bring it back, it's gonna be a lot of fun."

The event will be BYOP (bring your own popcorn) as concessions are not available — however, washroom services will be. 

Big Rock is holding the drive-in as a community partner, to get people out of their homes and doing something fun. Maess stresses that although you will be seated only metres away from the brewery, no alcohol is allowed at the event.

The ticket price for the drive-in option is $25 per car so anyone planning on cramming hordes into their motorhome should take note. Aside from disobeying Alberta Health guidelines, the festival will be enforcing vehicle and size restrictions. 

Although theatres opened June 12, Lieberman says this doesn't sway their decision to hold 2020 primarily online. This is due to limited theatre capacity and potential public concerns around being in a traditional setting.

"I think it's gonna take people a while to like, feel comfortable at different spaces and start to do things like they normally would," says Lieberman.

CUFF 1Superfan Jim Evans, (front, centre) with other CUFF buffs, proudly shows off CUFF tattoo on his right arm, and CUFF t-shirt. Photo courtesy: Calgary Underground Film Festival

Last year CUFF sold roughly 8,000 tickets. Lieberman attributes this success primarily to word-of-mouth, saying that the growth of the festival is due to first-time attendees getting hooked and coming back for more. 

"[They] experience the films, experience the festival, and then keep coming back and tell friends and family. So the growth has been really organic."

Jim Evans, a self-proclaimed "superfan" with a CUFF tattoo to prove it has been going to the festival 12 years running, volunteering for most of those years. He can attest to this dedicated not-quite-a-cult, more-like-a-family feeling attendees get after their very first taste. 

“They just create these little adventures and events that are not just for, you know, a bunch of introverted film geeks,” says Evans. “It's got something for everybody.”  

Superfan Evans is most looking forward to seeing Yummy, a zombie-horror flick which will be available for on-demand streaming throughout the festival. He says no matter what someone’s into, they’ll find something at the festival to get excited about, too. 

"So be prepared to be blown away by the films, and you know that no matter what, CUFF will find a way to make it where everybody's part of the fun," says Evans. "So, if you're worried, like, oh, it's not gonna be the same because we're not going to be in the theatre, not going to hang out, but they'll find a way."

CUFF 2Still from the movie Yummy, which will be screened during the festival. Photo: Calgary Underground Film Festival