22nd Calgary Underground Film Festival

April 17-27, 2025

12th CUFF.Docs Documentary Film Festival

November 20-24, 2024

2024 Awards



Audience Awards, Feature & Short Films

Audience Award Best Narrative FeatureTHELMA, Director Josh Margolin
"Thank you so much to the audiences at the Calgary Underground Film Festival for this! I'm so thrilled the movie connected with you guys. I wish we could have been there to see it with all of you and can't thank you enough for your support!" – Josh Margolin

Audience Award Best Documentary Feature – SCREAM OF MY BLOOD: A GOGOL BORDELLO STORY, Directors Nate Pommer & Eric Weinrib
"Thank you CUFF and the rambunctious, passionate, joyful cineastes and aesthetes of Calgary for this year's audience award! We are so happy to have shared this film with you, celebrating the journey, the struggle, and the incalculable contributions immigrants bring to our culture. We hope that our film fosters a larger feeling of compassion for immigrants everywhere, and offers an example of how music and art can be a tool not just for survival, but for joyful transcendence in the face of adversity." – Nate Pommer and Eric Weinrib

Audience Award Best Canadian Short – THE YEAR OF STARING AT NOSES, Director Knox
"As Jean-Luc Godard once said: “all you need is a girl, a gun, and a camera.” I guess in our case we also needed a nose job. But seriously, a huge and heartfelt thanks to the incredible CUFF team + audiences. It’s amazing people like you that fire us up to keep making weird punk indie movies like THE YEAR OF STARING AT NOSES." – Knox

Audience Award Best International Short – FAVOURITES, Director Nick Russell
"We're delighted to have been part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival this year, and are honoured that FAVOURITES was screened alongside so many other amazing shorts from all over the world. We're so glad that it resonated with the audience - to be voted the Best International Short within such a high-quality program is incredibly exciting. Thank you, both to the Festival, and all the Festival goers that enjoyed FAVOURITES." – Nick Russell



Jury Award Best Narrative Feature

WINNER – THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY, Director Francis Galluppi
The jury was incredibly impressed by the wide range of bold, original voices on display at this year's Calgary Underground Film Festival. We admired the craft and creativity of every film in the running, and have ultimately decided to award the Grand Jury Prize to LAST STOP AT YUMA COUNTY. Francis Galluppi's feature directorial debut had the polish and confidence of a prolific filmmaker, grounded in a tightly constructed, constantly surprising script and supported by a dynamic, pitch-perfect cast. We can't wait to see what's next for this team!

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, FILMMAKERS TO WATCH AWARD –  FALLING STARS, Directors Gabriel Bienczycki & Richard Karpala
We'd like to give a FILMMAKERS TO WATCH award to Richard Karpala and Gabriel Bienczycki for FALLING STARS, a visionary film with ambitious world building. We can only imagine what this duo could accomplish with a bigger budget and encourage any financiers reading this to track these two down ASAP.


Jury Award Best Documentary Feature

WINNER – NEVER LOOK AWAY, Director Lucy Lawless
Few photojournalists master the art of “one perfect shot” quite like Margaret Moth. This tale of the late cameraperson shares her artistry and bravery with appropriate fearlessness. Director Lucy Lawless, making a notable feature debut behind the camera, finds in Moth’s strength and tenacity a stirring reminder of the powerful truth in images. It’s an inspiring portrait of courage under fire.

The jury also awards an honourable mention to Chris Wilcha’s FLIPSIDE, which combines the director’s various abandoned projects into the culmination of a life’s work. It’s a refreshing reminder that the “B-side” of life brings its own rewards.


Jury Award Best Canadian Short Sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) and William F. White

William White Directors Guild of Canada


Sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), the Best Canadian Short Award winner receives a $2500 cash prize plus a DGC mentor partner for their next project along with a $2500 gift certificate donated by William F. White International Inc.

WINNER  – BIRD HOSTAGE, Director Lauren Andrews
It is our pleasure as a jury to award BIRD HOSTAGE the Best Canadian Short Award at CUFF 2024. The 12 short films in this category were all impressive and entertaining in their own ways and the filmmakers should be proud of the work they have done. As a jury, we loved watching BIRD HOSTAGE and found the directorial voice extremely clear, exciting, and unique. Short films are an art of their own and the concise, captivating storytelling present in the film shows that Lauren has a clear understanding of the medium. We found ourselves laughing, rooting for a bird, and cheering for their escape. We hope that this award can help bolster an already impressive resume and we look forward to seeing what Lauren does with the prize.

The jury would like to give an Honourable Mention to THE YEAR OF STARING AT NOSES for its incredible lead performance, innovative construction and hilariously modern premise. Karen Knox and Matt Eastman have made a film that is unique, bold, and completely unforgettable.



Best Narrative Feature

Deirdre McCarrick: Owner and Publisher of MovieMaker Magazine and MovieMaker.com
Deirdre McCarrick is the owner and publisher of MovieMaker Magazine and MovieMaker.com. She has helped dozens of independent filmmakers get their films made through MovieMaker Production Services. She has written for TheWrap, TVGuide.com and Boston.com, and is always working on a screenplay so she can one day make a movie of her own. 

Jarod Neece: Senior Programmer, Tribeca Festival
Jarod Neece is a Senior Programmer at the Tribeca Festival. He is the former Chief Creative Officer for CURIA, an Independent film streaming platform focusing on seasonally curated film collections. Before CURIA, he was a Partner, Film Programmer, and Event Producer for the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. Since 2002, he helped guide the strategic direction and provided team leadership as one of the festival's Senior Film Programmers, with an emphasis on Feature Film and Genre Programming. He has been a juror or panelist at several events, including Cannes, Sundance, and TIFF.  He is the co-author of bestselling books Austin Breakfast Tacos and The Tacos of Texas, published by UT Press, and co-host & producer of the PBS documentary series, THE TACOS OF TEXAS and UNITED TACOS OF AMERICA on Univision’s El Rey Network.

Logan Taylor: Acquisitions, Umbrella Entertainment
Logan Taylor is an Austin-based acquisitions manager, consultant, programmer, professor, and producer. She currently acquires content for Umbrella Entertainment after several years with Screen Media Ventures. She also consults on Festival and Marketing strategy for Blood Oath and has worked for numerous festivals in programming and event support including Fantastic Fest, Boston Underground Film Festival, SXSW, and Cinepocalypse. Outside of acquisitions, Logan has mentored projects at various stages of development for the Frontieres Market at Fantasia Film Festival, taught film courses at Austin Community College and written film analysis for publications including Split Tooth Media and Dope Magazine. Logan is never afraid of any movie and always afraid of every spider.


Best Documentary Feature

Guilleume Carlier: Filmmaker and Cinematographer
Guillaume Carlier is a Franco-Canadian filmmaker and founder of Kino Sum Productions. Born in Montréal, raised in Calgary, and educated at Concorida University, he discovered filmmaking at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers. Guillaume began his career making DIY punk short films closely tied to Calgary’s music scene. After his documentary short CALGARY,UGLY, premiered at the 2017 Calgary International Film Festival, Guillaume worked as a director, writer, cinematographer, and editor for broadcasters such as Unis TV, CBC, and Radio Canada. As a producer, Guillaume’s work includes the award-winning feature film CIRCLE OF STEEL, and the Telefilm-funded dramatic feature LUCKY STAR, which will be released in 2024 by Game Theory Films. Guillaume has also produced numerous short films, music videos, and documentaries. Notably, he directed the AMPIA-award winning television series HISTOIRES DE CHARS for Unis TV. Most recently, Guillaume directed the AMPIA-award winning documentary mini-series THUNDER: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ARTURO GATTI, which premiered at CUFF 2023 and is currently streaming on Superchannel Fuse.

Pat Mullen: Publisher of POV Magazine
Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine, Canada's destination for documentary culture. He has also contributed to outlets including Xtra, Complex, The Canadian Press, BeatRoute, and That Shelf. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and a Golden Globes voter. He lives in Toronto with his cat, Fellini.

Melanie Turner: Festival Programmer of the Blood in the Snow Film Festival
Melanie Turner, Festival Programmer Melanie has been with Blood in the Snow since its founding in 2012 as the longest serving Film Programmer at the organization. In addition to being a member of the Programming team, she has helped run the Festival’s special events and has served on their Board of Directors. She has also worked as a Hospitality Assistant for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival and volunteered with the Toronto Zombie Walk.


Best Canadian Short 

Shannon Hanmer: Independent Film Producer, Director, and Film Programmer
Shannon Hanmer is an independent film producer, director, and film programmer. She has been producing short films and music videos for over a decade, including the ABC's OF DEATH 2 Segment Z IS FOR ZYGOTE. Since 2015, she has curated short films for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Her first feature as a producer was the sci-fi comedy PSYCHO GOREMAN with director Steven Kostanski, which became an instant cult classic. Recently, Shannon served as producer on Chris Nash’s IN A VIOLENT NATURE, which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2024.

Ted Stenson: Writer and Filmmaker
Ted Stenson is a writer and filmmaker based in Calgary, Alberta. He graduated from the MFA Theatre program at the University of Calgary with a degree in Playwriting. His first feature film EVENTS TRANSPIRING BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER A HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME was produced through the Telefilm Talent-to-Watch. Premiering at VIFF in 2020 and screening at over 15 festivals in North America, this film won several awards, including the Reel Canadian Indie award at the Canadian Film Festival and Best Long Form Narrative at the 2023 Stinger Awards. In 2022, Ted wrote and directed LIVING WITHOUT MENACE (CUFF.Docs 2022 Selection), a documentary about the Alberta Rat Patrol that is currently available on CBC Gem.

J Stevens: Filmmaker and Cinematographer
J Stevens (they/them) is a Calgary-born filmmaker. With over a decade of experience behind the camera, J’s mission is to continue bringing dynamic, personal and visually captivating LGBTQ+ content to the forefront. J is the co-creator, and director of the high-energy mockumentary series, SLO PITCH (IFC/OutTV). J received a Best Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series nomination at the Directors Guild of Canada Awards 2022 for their directing work on ASTRID & LILLY SAVE THE WORLD (Crave, Syfy). J also directed on season two of the Peabody award-winning series, SORT OF (HBO Max, CBC). J was named one of Playback Magazine's "Top 10 Filmmakers To Watch 2022", and was selected for the TIFF Filmmakers Lab 2022 where they were named one of TIFF’s Every Story Fellows.



Vicki Chau: Filmmaker
Vicki Van Chau is a Chinese-Vietnamese Canadian filmmaker and cultural worker based in Calgary, Alberta on Treaty 7 territory. She is currently the Executive Director for the Alberta Media Arts Alliance Society (AMAAS) where she serves media artists, media art organizations and film festivals across the province through advocacy work, development opportunities and bridging connections. She is an active arts community member and has sat on the Board of Directors for the Untitled Art Society (now known as The Bows), EXPOSURE Photography Festival, AMAAS, and the Calgary Underground Film Festival. She co-founded the Calgary Chinatown Pop-Up Movie Club, an event series that shares knowledge about Chinese culture and the Chinese diaspora experience through film.

Liane Cunje: Canadian Producer, Film Programmer and Acquisitions
Liane Cunje is a Canadian producer, and film programmer. Coming from a Film Studies and TV development background in Montreal, Liane completed an MA in Producing Film and TV in the UK before working for cult label Arrow Video. A former Festival Programming Manager at TIFF, Programmer for Overlook Film Festival, Assistant Director for Media City Film Festival, and current Programmer for Aspen Shortsfest and TIFF’s Midnight Madness Presents… series, she features on international juries and panels. Working under veteran producer Jennifer Weiss’ new company, Nice Picture, FITTING IN was her first feature as Associate Producer, premiering at SXSW and TIFF 2023. She also works in Production & Acquisitions for Vinegar Syndrome Pictures. Liane’s first produced picture for VSP, Alexander Phillips’ sophomore feature ANYTHING THAT MOVES shot on Super 16mm, is currently in post-production.

Kelly Michael Stewart: Founder and Festival Director of the Blood in the Snow Film Festival
Kelly Michael Stewart is the founder and Festival Director of the Blood in the Snow Film Festival, now in its 13th year in Toronto.
Kelly began his career as a contributing film writer to Fangoria Magazine and has more than 250 reviews, interviews and articles published online and in print for various websites and publications. As a filmmaker, he wrote and produced the short film ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD and co-wrote and produced the horror anthology feature film LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE.

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