It’s the New Year, and as the cold January weather sets in, our thoughts turn to the annual Baconfest urban film festival. This year we decided on a theme. Not the kind Ralphie’s fifth-grade teacher asks for in the movie, A Christmas Story, but a theme that we hope will encourage our film-goers to think about what 21st-century Calgary could look and feel like.
Each year, Baconfest delves deeper into city building, recovery, growth, and future urban scenarios. Selecting films is a lengthy process, and we are discovering the ultimate urban movie does not exist. This year, we will show several short films to provide a greater cross-section of ideas that relate to our theme which focuses on the culture, environment, and form of the city.
Calgary is not Toronto. It is not Vancouver. Are we trying to replicate places we cannot or should not aspire to be? Are the challenges facing those cities emblematic of the fact that few metro areas in this country compete on the world stage, so growth and innovation are focused in two or three places? Several of our films highlight activities that can help separate our city from the rest, while other films alert us to challenges -- current and future -- that we need to address.
Baconfest 2018, opening January 17th, will look at creative urban experiences around the world and the best presentation on world population from a very different perspective. We will close the evening by moving from a world perspective to a humorous look at a very local reality: jaywalking. While the subjects may seem disconnected, they demonstrate how cities are both incoherent and, at the same time, a web of interconnected experiences that no planner or government can create, regulate, or compel.