This September, the city of Edmonton will gather once again to celebrate and showcase the art of cinema. The Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF) is an annual ten-day event that brings filmmakers from all over the world to Alberta's capital, for a series of exclusive screenings and all the panels, reviews, and awards that follow.

The 28th annual EIFF takes place this year from Thursday, September 25 through Saturday, October 4, with the 24/ONE marathon kicking off the previous weekend on Saturday, September 20. If you want to experience one of Edmonton's greatest contributions to the entertainment industry, make sure you catch at least a few of these world premieres. Here’s what you can expect at the 2014 EIFF.

Exclusive Screenings for Over 150 Films

Every night truly is opening night at the EIFF, where every film is screened as an exclusive premiere. 55 feature length films and more than 100 short films will be screened this year, and none of them have been screened in public before. The short films will be packaged into feature-length segments, perfect for fans who want to explore new filmmakers' work.

The festival screens all its films at Landmark Cinemas (inside downtown's Edmonton City Centre, in the former Empire Theatres location). You can buy tickets to each screening at the door, but festival passes will go on sale in August, and you can usually enjoy significant savings if you plan to see more than a few films.

A Long Legacy of Talented Filmmakers

Last year, the EIFF made history with a tie for the People's Choice Award. Amin Amir and Muscle Shoals received the same number of votes and shared the award that represents the satisfying popularity and acceptance of a standing ovation. That's fitting, because for the artists whose documentaries and films make the cut, simply sharing their work on this platform is enough.

In its more than two decades of celebrating independent film, the EIFF has attracted the best of the best Canadian talents, as well as high-profile guests such as John Waters and Werner Herzog. Edmontonians truly love their movies, making this city an excellent host for artists and critics alike.

The Awards: Features, Shorts, Themes, and Spotlight

All four conventional awards categories are present: narrative feature, narrative short, documentary feature, and documentary short. However, EIFF is distinguished by its creative quirks, like its themed categories. This year, films that feature food, snow or frost, or South African subjects can be submitted to one of three specialty awards categories. Films from South Africa will make up this year's "Spotlight" category, which includes both features and shorts.

24/ONE Turns Filmmaking into a Sport

This year’s 24/ONE Challenge is a must-do if you or your friends have ever uttered the words, “We need to make a film!”

On Saturday, September 20, fledgling filmmakers will meet in Edmonton's City Market downtown to receive their "surprise" assignments; then each team will spend the next 24 hours filming, editing, and completing an original short film. The top ten films that are created will compete for various prizes, including the People’s Choice prize of $500 cash. The Sunday morning drop-off will take place at Landmark Cinemas, where the EIFF will occur a week later. You can pay $65 to participate in the event, or you can wait until the festival, when the top ten films will have their world premiere.

The Edmonton International Film Festival is great fun for film buffs of all stripes. This fall, come see what some of Canada’s most talented filmmakers have created. Come enjoy one of Edmonton’s greatest festivals.

Posted by Sarah MacDonald on

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