Picture from CIFF: Calgary International Film Festival: 2016
Image ©Calgary International Film Festival

CIFF: Calgary International Film Festival: 2016

We are pleased to be working with the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) to provide content information and reviews for a select number of movies in their 2016 line-up from a family perspective. The main goal of these reviews is to give parents an idea of what they will encounter when they take their kids to the movies. Armed with information about a film's content, parents can then choose movies that are most suitable for their child's interests and sensitivities, as well as one that is in keeping with their family's standards.

Here are the Parent Previews Reviews of movies that will be showing at CIFF, which runs between September 21 and October 2, 2016:

Dramatic Films:

The Adventure Club
Ricky (Sam Ashe Arnold), Billy (Jakob Davies) and Sandy (Dalila Bela) are 10-year-old friends looking for adventure. But they find more than they were bargaining on when they discover a magical box and attract the attention of an escaped convict (Billy Zane) who wants to get his hands on their treasure.
Parents' Guide: This pre-adolescent adventure offers good messages about resolving conflicts. A school yard-scuffle and brief bullying are depicted. More Content Information.

Burn Your Maps
As if the journey through their own marriage problems wasn’t enough, Alise and Connor (Vera Farmiga and Marton Csokas) are forced to take an unexpected detour when their young son (Jacob Tremblay) decides he is really a Mongolian goat herder trapped in the life of an American boy.
Parents' Guide: This road trip movie navigates the challenges of loss and grief for parents and children. Domestic arguments, frank sexual talk, profanity, and some of the realities of raising livestock are included. More Content Information

Considering Love and Other Magic
While coping with the grief of her younger brother’s suicide, 17-year-old Jessie Wilson (Maddie Phillips) takes on a tutoring job with an unusual student. Tommy (Ryan Grantham) claims to be the trapped-in-time, fictional creation of an aging author (Sheila McCarthy) who penned his story in 1952. Whether he's real or imagined, helping Tommy seems to be helping Jessie.
Parents' Guide: Painful emotions are contrasted with a fanciful storyline in a film designed for teen audiences about dealing with the tragedy of suicide. Some details of the death are briefly mentioned and a few dark moments of obsessive behavior are depicted. More Content Information.

Girl Asleep
Greta (Bethany Whoitmore) isn't sure if she's asleep or awake as she watches, in a dream-like trance, her childhood slip away and her adulthood approach. But when her Mum (Amber McMahon) throws her a surprise birthday party and invites all her peers from school, the soon to be 15-year-old knows her life is about to become a nightmare.
Parents' Guide: This coming-of-age story depicts teen challenges in both a real world and fantasy setting. Out of touch parents, school bullies and sexual curiosity, along with crude slang and sexual expletives are part of the portrayal. More Content Information.

Kiss and Cry
Based on a true story, Carley Allison (played by Sarah Fisher), is a Canadian teen with winning smile, a talent for singing and a promising future as a figure skater. But her hopes and dreams get put on hold when she discovers she has a rare type of cancer.
Parents' Guide: Depictions of chemotherapy and the ravages of cancer include vomiting, hair-loss and medical procedures. Teens kiss passionately. A few profanities and sexual expletive are used. More Content Information.

A Miracle on Christmas Lake
Christmas has never been a very merry time for Bobby Whiteside (Kristian Jackson). While trying to deal with the desertion of his father and the death of a friend, the teen shovels a skating path across an icy pond... and discovers a magical hockey rink.
Parents' Guide: This depiction of dealing with loss includes some profanities and crude sexual comments, teen bullying, a few fistfights and verbal confrontations, as well as a boozy mall Santa. More Content Information.

Documentary Films:

Angry Inuk
In ANGRY INUK, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril presents the Inuit lifestyle as a model for sustainable, ethical industry and exposes how the media’s manipulation of the image of commercial sealing has created a great economic disparity between the Inuit and the environmental lobby groups that threaten their very subsistence. Arnaquq-Baril enlists the help of Inuit youth to spread the truth of their lifestyle through social media.
Parent's Guide: Messages about media manipulation and distortion. Detailed scenes of dead seals being skinned and butchered, people eat raw meat. Discussions of suicide and social networking threats. Seal hunt protesters seen naked with body paint. Seals are shot with blood shown. Single mild profanity. More Content Information.

Cheer Up
This documentary follows The Ice Queens, the lowest-ranked high school cheerleading team in the Arctic Circle of Finland. Lead by Miia, an ambitious coach who's tired of losing, the Ice Queens aim to rise up the ranks of competitive cheerleading while coping with the added struggles of teenage life.
Parent's Guide: Presents real world view of the anticipation and loss of competitive sports along with family challenges. Teens are shown using cigarettes and alcohol. An adult mentor/coach becomes pregnant and is seen getting multiple tattoos. Teen subjects face serious life events including a parent with cancer and a widowed father finding a new love. Profanity is limited to two scatological expletives and a few terms of deity. More Content Information.

Ice Guardians
This documentary explores the impact of fighting in hockey and the role of the enforcer, a position unique to hockey in almost all of professional sports. Composed of interviews with some of the game’s most famous brawlers, like Dave Semenko, Dave Schultz and George Parros, ICE GUARDIANS gives these players a rare chance to reflect on the precarious nature of their position as well the challenges they faced in trying to make it to the NHL.
Parent's Guide: Footage from past hockey games show frequent depictions of players throwing punches and hitting each other with hockey sticks. Bloody noses, facial lacerations and concussions result. The use of addictive substances in sports is briefly addressed, and one player discusses his past addiction with drugs and alcohol. Language includes at least a half dozen sexual expletives, about a dozen uses of scatological slang and terms of Deity, and a crude sexual expression. More Content Information.

Sonita is a documentary about a young woman from Afghan who fled her home and country when her family attempted to sell her into marriage. Now living in an Iranian refugee shelter, she tries to follow her own dreams of being a rapper and uses the mic to decry the oppression of her gender.
Parent's Guide: This subtitled film shows the realities of female oppression and the practice of young girls being sold into marriage to men that are strangers and/or much older than the brides. Discussions occur about families threatening and beating their non-compliant daughters (a girl with a bruised face is shown) and dowries/bride prices are compared and negotiated. A music video depicts a teen girl with facial injuries. Taliban violence, the war in Afghanistan, and armed security guards are mentioned and shown. A woman uses a hookah pipe. Rap music is used to raise awareness of this cultural tradition. More Content Information.

More details about the movies mentioned in this post…

Girl Asleep

Girl Asleep

Is it a dream or a nightmare?

Kiss and Cry

Kiss and Cry

How would you face the diagnosis of cancer?

A Miracle on Christmas Lake

A Miracle on Christmas Lake

The healing power of hockey.

Burn Your Maps

Burn Your Maps

When it comes to dealing with loss and grief, you have to chart your own course.