Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Baconfest 2018 taps into Calgary’s potential look and feel in the 21st century

Calgary’s own urban planning film festival returns for its fifth year, starting January 17, 2018. We sat down with Rollin Stanley, General Manager of Urban Planning, and got his take on why everyone should attend Baconfest 2018.

1. For those who might be unaware, what is Baconfest?

It’s a film festival meant to get people thinking about how they can be more involved in their city and bring about specific differences in Calgary. 

Each year we go deeper and deeper into challenges, issues and opportunities that cities are facing, predominantly in North America but, to some extent, around the world as well. The first year was about showcasing the films of Ed Bacon [renowned city planner and father of actor Kevin Bacon]. We highlighted those films to get people energized about the way cities have evolved. This year, we’re delving deeper into culture and our environment.

2. Why should citizens care about urban planning or a festival like Baconfest?

Don’t think about it as caring about planning, think about it as caring about what happens in your city. Think about it as caring about knowing how you can get involved, or be aware of the kinds of things that make cities work. 

We’re really looking to expand people’s minds and get them thinking about things that impact them directly. That’s why we chose the films we did. We’re showing a bee film this year. We have to encourage bee colonization, particularly here. That’s something that has to happen. The point is to get citizens thinking about what they can do every day. 

3. What do you hope that people will gain by attending?

There’s this family that comes every year. They bring their son – he’s asked some of the best questions! I think he’s 9. We gave citizens an opportunity to submit their own stories a year ago. We had a gentleman submit one who runs a soccer club here in the city. He immigrated to Calgary from Africa and we got a chance to look at what he’s doing to help kids in the suburbs get involved. We have citizens across all age and ethic spectrums. That’s not planning, that’s participating in the life of a city and that’s what we hope people will go away with. An eye for those kinds of opportunities to participate and the desire to do so.

4. What are the top three reasons someone should attend Baconfest?

Well, the top reason to attend is because attendees will get to enjoy some terrific bacon (yes, real bacon)!

And if that’s not enough, the second reason to mark your calendar is because joining us ensures you have a voice in the conversation about the future of Calgary and how we can all make a difference. 

And third, Baconfest is a great opportunity to get informed about emerging trends and challenges facing cities like ours. 

5. Anything you’d like to add, in closing?

The theme this year is about the future of the city. We’re looking at it through three lenses. Its form, its culture and the environment. Our goal is to show how these three factors have to come together to make sure that what happens as we grow, happens in harmony. We have become a destination city and that opens up new doors for us, new opportunities. We want to show people that they can think more broadly. If a fraction of the people who attend start patronizing restaurants on 17th Ave S.E. where they may never have been, we’ve achieved a really great thing. 

For more information on the film lineup and event details visit Calgary.ca/baconfest.

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