Vox Popular Media Arts Festival (formerly the Bay Street Film Festival) will celebrate its 19th annual festival from September 7-10, 2023. Vox Popular programs all genres of media arts - documentary, features, shorts, experimental, 360VR, and installations made in Northwestern Ontario, Canada and internationally. The annual festival and year-round programming connects professional independent filmmakers with other artists and to audiences of all ages and interests by showing films, facilitating creative and professional development and multidisciplinary arts performance in an accessible, inclusive, friendly environment.

In the past 18 years, Vox Popular Media Arts Festival has screened 876 films; more than a dozen media arts installations; 360VR productions, Projection mapping immersive screen experiences, hosted 185 visiting filmmakers from Canada and around the world; hosted dozens of Q&A's and 30 highly successful Master Classes; engaged audiences of all ages and interests including Indigenous, Francophone, LGBTQ, disabled and other culturally diverse groups in our community; and paid artist fees to filmmakers for 18 years. Since 2016, we conducted five 360/VR hands-on workshops, and presented 6 x 360 Projection Mapping installations.

We are supported by Heritage Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, Ontario Arts Council and many dedicated local sponsors. We provide up to ten travel grants to help subsidize travel expenses of out of town filmmakers, allowing them the opportunity to come to Thunder Bay to present their film, participate in Q&A periods after the screening, lead master classes and most importantly, to interact and celebrate media arts of all genres. We also Skype/ZOOM in filmmakers who are unable to attend but would like to engage our audience. Since 2016 we have included 360 VR Oculus Rift screening stations.

The 19th Annual Vox Popular Media Arts Festival will be held at the Definitely Superior Art Gallery.

Thunder Bay is located on Lake Superior between Toronto, Ontario, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, north-east of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it is serviced by an national airport. Be sure to check out www.thunderbay.ca for more information about the city and region we call home. Vox Popular acknowledges that our office and festival are on the traditional territory of the Anishnaabe People, and in the area of the Robinson Superior Treaty (1850).

Since 2020, we have presented films virtually in addition to our in person events. As we move to the post-COVID era, we continue to screen select films on ResearchTV.ca for 5 days following the in person event. This allows immune compromised people to experience the festival from their home and creates greater accessibility to the films. Filmmakers have no obligation to be apart of the online portion of the festival and we can geo block and/or cap off views if necessary. It is a wonderful way to reach larger audiences.

All official selections are candidates for the People's Choice Awards. People's Choice Awards are determined by ballot entry filled by festival attendees and awarded to the top ten films as selected by and voted for by viewing audiences. The award carries no cash value, however a certificate will be presented to the director(s) of winning films at the close of the festival with the potential to tour Northwestern Ontario in the upcoming years. Increased viewership on the online platform following the festival can also place a film consideration for a People's Choice Award.

Our programming is shared with partnered film festivals such as the Minnesota International Film Festival, and Spotlight on Academics.

Criteria for eligibility are:

- Works must be made within the past three years

- Films in languages other than English with English subtitles will be accepted for consideration.

- Maximum length 90 minutes (less is preferred.)

- Film should be downloadable. (Our Judging process involves working Offline)

- Submissions must be completed works with a release date of June 2020 or later.

- We prefer online screeners when possible.

- The final program of the festival will be posted August 1, 2023 (date approximate) on the festival website.

- The "People’s Choice Awards" will be announced September 30, 2023 (date approximate) following the close of the festival.

Although this is a non-competitive film festival, "People’s Choice Awards" are given to the 10 films judged to be the best by festival audiences.

If your film is selected for the festival, Vox Popular Media Arts Festival requests your permission to keep a copy in our library for free loan for educational purposes to individuals or organisations in our region. We do not duplicate or sell these materials; they are strictly loaned for educational purposes only. Otherwise, the video and accompanying materials will be kept in the Vox Popular Media Arts Festival library.

Overall Rating
  • A wonderful festival with a wonderful team. Artistic films and an interesting venue. We had a blast at the fest, and they were incredibly supportive throughout. We would definitely go back again!

    This festival was ABSOLUTELY worth the price of submission for our film!

    September 2022
  • Joel Penner

    Attending Vox this year for my film Wrought was a fantastic experience. It's a very artist-centric festival and it was creatively put on, with a great mix of indie films, local bands and even a historical wrestling demonstration! 10/10!

    September 2022
  • Colin Scheyen

    Great festival! Thanks for including our film

    September 2022
  • It was a real pleasure to screen our film at the festival, all the communications I received from the festival were upbeat and positive. It was a shame not to be present but Im hearing great things about the event itself, many thanks for all your hard work.

    September 2022
  • Matt & Jeff Beals

    The venue could not have been cooler, the crowd couldn't have been more fun, and the hosts couldn't have been more hospitable. I'm so glad to have connected with the scene in Thunder Bay from its great artists to its filmmakers to its musicians.

    September 2022