With eleven years of showcasing top tier films in Alpena, the Thunder Bay International Film Festival is back next week for it’s twelfth year of inspiring the region. Outside of screening professionally produced films, they will also highlight finalists of the Sanctuary Selections Film Competition. This will be the first time the festival has launched such a contest, and many are eager to see the outcome. Cassandra Sadler, resource protection specialist at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary shares the group’s enthusiasm, “We’re just very very excited to be able to host a program to allow amateur filmmakers to begin their careers.”
The five finalist films will be screened on Saturday, January 27 along with hors d’voeures, live discussion, and an awards presentation. This competition is made possible by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary team along with the Sunset Project focusing on human connection with the Great Lakes. “So, how they experience the Great Lakes themselves, whether that’s through artwork or photography or just living on the lakes and the water and the how that’s impacted their lives,” said Sadler. “That’s such a strong connection with the Sanctuary itself because we’re all about preserving that human connection with our water ways.”
Before the films, there will be an opportunity to meet the experts, “We’re going to have a number of filmmakers up onstage, where audience members can ask questions as well as we’ll have a set of prearranged questions as topics of discussion,” said Sadler.
Film festival tickets are still available for purchase to join in on the fun at thunderbayfriends.org or in person at the National Maritime Heritage Center. There are also multiple events that are free to the public, including the filmmaker’s panel.