CUFF.Docs show final words of Charles Manson

The fifth annual CUFF.Docs International Documentary Festival came out of hiding during the weekend of Nov. 16, bringing some of the most unique films to the city.
The annual documentary film festival featured four film directors in attendance. One of the directors in attendance was Calgary film director, James Buddy Day who directed the documentary Charles Manson: The Final Words.
Charles Manson: The Final Words, was originally premiered as and named The Voice of Madness until Charles Manson’s death the day CUFF.Docs closed Sunday, Nov. 19.
Charles Manson was convicted for first degree murder and conspiring to commit murder along with the people in his cult called the Manson Family. Manson was originally sentenced to death but the death penalty in California was abolished and instead was sentenced to life in prison.
One of the most high-profile murders was the murder of actress Sharon Tate. The Manson Family was fueled to commit these murders because of their fear of a looming racial war.
“These were his last words documented,” said Day.
Day said that working with his colleagues to document Manson’s story was beyond surreal.
“I never thought he’d actually call me.”
“I was pretty skeptical that day,” said Day about how he felt when news of Manson’s death broke.
Day said he was rather surprised at the timing; doctors shared details about Manson’s health with Day during the making of the documentary.
“I talked to him that day and he seemed just fine.”
CUFF particularly focuses on films that push the boundaries in content, style and form. According to CUFF director, Brennan Tilley, CUFF’s style brings unique story concepts to a quick emerging film culture in Calgary.
“You won’t see films like this anywhere else,” said Tilley.
“There’s a lot of documentaries that wouldn’t fit into our main festival’s genre. It’s stuff that has trouble finding a home in other places.”
Day said his documentary came out in the United States on Sunday, Dec. 3 and soon after will be available in Canada.
Though this was his third featured documentary in other film festivals, this was his first year at CUFF.
“I was so ecstatic to hear its seats sold out,” said Day.
“Anytime you can sit in the theatre and be in the audience of your own documentary is really cool.”
Day’s film was featured alongside 13 other films, making up the Docs. festival spanning the weekend.
With the audience in mind, Tilley said there’s no need to worry about missing out on films playing during festivals because of the benefits a year-long membership offers.
“A lifetime CUFF membership to see interesting films is 10 dollars,” said Tilley.
Although he said you don’t need a membership to attend films, it does give you $2 off entry fees to films and $1 off beverages for the entire year when you visit.
“We bring in stuff that’s carefully curated and worthwhile.”
If one missed out on some of the must-see films at the festival, Calgaryundergroundfilmfestival.org features an iTunes room with over 250 films featured by CUFF that are available for purchase so one can view and enjoy.
“We get the big titles before distribution,” said Tilley.
Some documentaries and films presented by CUFF go onto be featured on Netflix such as the films BandAid and Colossal.
If one loves film, Tilley recommends volunteering for CUFF. He volunteered for the festival for many years before becoming a director and said it’s a great opportunity to engage with Calgary’s film culture.
“It’s taking a deep dive into stories,” said Day.

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