Alpena set to host the Thunder Bay International Film Festival


ALPENA, MI – Excitement is building as the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary are preparing for the annual Thunder Bay International Film Festival to be held in Alpena from January 21st  through the 25th, 2015. Thunder-Bay-International-Film-Festival-20151.jpg

In its third year, this unique festival showcases some of the most impressive ocean- and Great Lakes-inspired films from around the world.




The Thunder Bay International Film Festival is an annual fundraiser for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which encompasses 4,300 square miles in northwestern Lake Huron.

Designated in 2000, the sanctuary exists to protect a significant collection of historic shipwrecks, and through innovative and accessible educational programs, works to protect the Great Lakes for future generations.

The five-day festival will screen nearly fifty films, ranging in length from two minutes to feature-length. Film screenings will be complemented by social events, educational activities, and opportunities to meet the filmmakers.

Features of the Alpena event include films from the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, a long-running, acclaimed festival of ocean-themed films, largely unavailable to the general public.

“Through the powerful form of visual communication,” Film Festival Coordinator Stephanie Gandulla says, “the Thunder Bay International Film Festival offers both a means to communicate ocean and Great Lakes issues and bring new and different cultural events to northeast Michigan.”

Open social events include a “Sanctuary Sneak Peek” at the Thunder Bay Winery in downtown Alpena on Thursday, January 22nd, 2015. Those in attendance will be able to watch movie trailers while sipping the latest vintage from northeast Michigan’s newest winery.

On Sunday, January 25th, 2015, enjoy another festival gathering at the Black Sheep Pub, where film festival staff, volunteers, and filmmakers will enjoy a “Wrap Party,” with appetizers and themed-cocktails available.

According to the President of the Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Mary Beth Stutzman, “the Thunder Bay International Film Festival is an exciting event for northeast Michigan.  It is a unique event that combines favorite loves — our water resources and the film experience.”

The festival has expanded this year with a chance for budding filmmakers to have the opportunity to participate in the scheduled events.

The festival committee has added to the educational offerings with a Filmmakers’ Workshop. The workshop will take place on Saturday, January 17th, 2015 in Alpena, with an opportunity to screen workshop-produced films on the Sunday of film fest weekend. The fee for the workshop is $20, and tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the Sanctuary Store at (989)-356-8805.

If you would like to experience what the Thunder Bay International Film Festival has to offer, tickets are only $30 for the opening reception and films on Friday, January 23rd, 2015 and $5 for each subsequent program.

A full weekend pass can be purchased for only $50 (a $10 savings!), and includes the Friday night opening reception and films all day Saturday and Sunday. You are asked to call (989)-356-8805, ext. 38, or stop into the Sanctuary Store located at 500 West Fletcher Street in Alpena to buy your tickets today!

Download your copy of the Festival Schedule and Program

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