Calgary Film festival to open with Indigenous music documentary When They Awake

Uplifting look at Indigenous musical artists set as opening gala for Calgary International Film Festival

If the opening night gala of the Calgary International Film Festival feels a little like you wandered onto Prince’s Island Park during the Calgary Folk Festival, don’t worry. You’re not at the wrong festival.

That’s because parts of When They Awake — a documentary film that takes a closer look at Indigenous musicians like Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq and A Tribe Called Red — were shot during the Calgary Folk Festival.

The film, directed by Hermon Farahi and PJ Marcellino, kicks off the festival Sept. 20 at a gala screening at Jack Singer Hall.

“It’s one of the best music docs I’ve ever seen. I’m extremely proud we’re presenting it as our opening film,” said festival executive director Steve Schroeder.

The gala will include red carpet appearances by Michelle Thrush (best known for the TV series Blackstone), Melissa O’Neil (now starring in the Syfy network’s series Dark Matter) and an afterparty performance by internationally acclaimed Indigenous trip-hop artist IsKwe, one of the artists featured in the film.

The opening night gala slot was one of 65 films announced Wednesday by the festival, as programmers released the full slate of films.

Cannes sensation among films to be presented

Among them are The Square, Swedish director Ruben Ostland’s art world satire that won the Palm D’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Other notable films include: