Movie magic has been a part of Thunder Bay for a century.
That’s what Kelly Saxberg said when she announced that the theme of this year’s eighth annual Bay Street Film Festival would celebrate the city’s 100 years of cinematic history. The festival, which runs from Sept. 6 to Sept. 9, will showcase more than 50 films including 16 local movies and seven music videos.
Some of the local films include a short titled Teabagged, by Dougall Media’s own Ryan La Via, Knuckleheads by Leon Haggarty, Mouthy by Nancy Shaw and Schism by Curtis Jensen.
Saxberg, the coordinator of the event, said the festival gives moviemakers a chance to see their films on the big screen with a live audience, which is something they wouldn’t have otherwise. She said residents will be surprised to learn that there’s not only a history of moviemaking in Thunder Bay but that the film industry is thriving in the city.
“I think people have no idea there’s been such a long tradition,” Saxberg said. “Robert Flaherty, who is the father of documentary, he actually premiered Nanook of the North at the Prince Arthur Hotel. Thunder Bay has a century long connection with film. The first amateur feature length film made in Canada was made here.”
Some of the international films expected at the festival have come from as far as Sweden, Kenya, the United States and Israel.
One of the films called Ping Pong from United Kingdom director Hugh Hartford tells the true story of a 100-year-old-woman and the power of the human spirit during an over 80's world table tennis championship.
Saxberg said there will be a variety of movies to see from short fiction to full-length films.
“We have some really amazing short fiction as well as comedies and thriller kinds of films,” she said.
“We also have featured lengthened documentaries and a featured film from Finland. Our policy is films for people. We look for films that have a high quality and are going to engage people.”
She said the event usually draws crowds of around 100 to 300 and expected that amount for this year’s festival.
The event has also expanded to include films being shown at Magnus Theatre.
Saxberg said Magnus will be a great addition to the festival and hoped to expand for future festivals.
Festival passes are $20 and single passes are $7.
Students, seniors and the unemployed are asked to pay what they can. Advance passes are available at Calico Coffee House and the Scandinavian Delicatessen. During the festival, passes can be purchased at 314 Bay Street and at Magnus Theatre.
For more information including list of movies visit the festivals website.
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