The 11th Annual Thunder Bay International Film Festival is happening at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena. A panel was held for filmmakers to talk to those attending, and the attendees were not the only ones asking the questions. Zachary Irving, Local Filmmaker, said, “The Thunder Bay International Film Festival has been here for 11 years now, or they’re back from doing their virtual screenings and everything, and now it’s live. It’s amazing being able to connect with these filmmakers and also see these films, and I think it’s a benefit for not only me as a local filmmaker, but also to all the filmmakers of Michigan, or the local filmmakers, to be highlighted and showcased here and to network with other filmmakers and other people in the business to where they can grow off of that.”
The theme for the festival was Great Lakes, Great Films. A lot of the films showed the harm and pollution affecting the Great Lakes, and made a statement that change is needed. Irving said, “For Thunder Bay and the N.O.A.A. Marine Sanctuary to provide this international film festival, that’s not only films about people and about the world around us. It’s films that talk about actual matters that affect our world and matters that affect the people around us.” He said, “To have films like this in this area that are provided for the community members of this area is amazing, because it shows you that people are still fighting for the environment.”
For local filmmakers like Irving to have the chance to talk to others in the film making field, it gave them a way to collaborate and build relationships to pursue their goals in the industry. Irving said, “Being able to have this type of event in this area for a local filmmaker like me, and I know a lot of other local filmmakers too, as well.” He said, “This means a lot to them, because we were able to build this collaboration, in this network between other filmmakers, to where we can work, and make our films better with higher quality, and just a better story to as well. So it’s incredibly rewarding for that.”
January 30th is the last day for the film festival, as it wraps up at the Rogers City Theater at 6pm with the last four films.