In 1978, twelve local filmmakers and artists collaborated to form the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers in response to a growing interest in film production and need for equipment and resources. The CSIF was created as a direct result of an initiative by the Canada Council to establish a more effective means of distributing arts funding to film artists throughout the country.
Throughout the late 1970’s and early 1980’s funding was established through the Canada Council, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Calgary Region Art Foundation to provide the equipment and resources for independent filmmakers in Calgary. Memberships grew as did interest in learning the techniques of 8 mm and 16 mm filmmaking so workshops were introduced to increase the skill level of members.
It was also in the early 1990’s that two important aspects of CSIF’s current activities were established: distributing National Film Board production funding for local film projects, and exhibition of indigenous film through the creation of The $100 Film Festival in 1991.
Many members from these days have gone on to success in the Canadian independent film industry due to their hard work and imagination, aided by the CSIF’s focus on production, exhibition and providing resources such as workshops and information sharing. Members today are still benefiting from this focus and, as their technical needs diversify and change, the CSIF attempts to keep up with these changes.
Exhibition of film has grown with the success of the $100 Film Festival every year and the success of the Visiting Artists’ series that both informs and inspires Calgary area filmmakers. In 1998 the CSIF partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Services Community Association to present the first annual FairyTales International Queer Film Festival which has gone on to become one of the leading LGBT film festivals in Canada. Just as the $100 Film Festival has grown to accommodate the increasing audience for independent film, so has the FairyTales Film Festival.
Now in our 35th year of operation, we are an integral part of the growing cultural community in Calgary, and are excited for new collaborations and opportunities.