THUNDER BAY - A staple event in Thunder Bay is wrapping up this year, but the curtain isn’t dropping just yet.
The Bay Street Film Festival, which has been held in the downtown north core on Bay Street for the past 13 years will be showing its final film this weekend. But festival organizers said while the film festival may be changing locations, it’s not going anywhere.
“We are going through a rebranding right now and a new name,” said festival coordinator, Dennis Dubinsky. “So this is actually the last year for the Bay Street Film Festival. After this festival we become the Vox Popular Media Arts Festival.”
With the new name, the festival is also changing locations from the Finlandia Hall to the Trinity Hall on Park Avenue.
“It’s a bigger and better facility,” Dubinsky said. “We have much more space here and has double the capacity of the last venue we were in.”
Dubinsky added that they have already been holding screenings at the Park Avenue location since last February and there has been a lot of positive feedback from audiences on the new space, which also includes a 360 viewing screen.
But the Bay Street Film Festival will have one final showing, with 56 films screening over four days this weekend starting on Thursday, Sept. 14.
This year there are 15 films from Northwestern Ontario, including 12 by local filmmakers. Other films come from across Canada, the United States, as well as Spain, Turkey, Finland, India, Germany, Australia, Iran, and Benin.
“The lineup really varies because our genres cover everything,” Dubinsky said. “It varies from our shortest film of two-and-half minutes to feature length. So it is really wide ranging.”
Master classes on topics like the forgotten past of Canada 150, a Finnish family of filmmakers, genealogy in filmmaking, and connecting with nature will also be available on Friday and Saturday morning at the Waverly Resource Library and are free and open to the public.
And while it may be the last showing of the Bay Street Film Festival, organizers, including those who have been there since the beginning, are excited to see it evolve and continue to move forward.
“It has been 13 years, but its progress,” Dubinsky said. “We are moving forward. We do more than just films because we do media arts installations and we do a lot of outreach and workshops so it was time for a new name to reflect that.”
The Bay Street Film Festival will be held from Sept. 14 to 17 at the Trinity Hall on Park Avenue. For more information and to see the full line up of films, visit www.baystreetfilmfestival.ca.