Vox Popular Media Arts Festival (formerly the Bay Street Film Festival) will celebrate its 20th annual festival from November 14-16 2024. Vox Popular programs all genres of media arts - documentary, features, shorts, experimental 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 19 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 175 visiting filmmakers from Canada and around the world; hosted dozens of Q&A's and 47 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 19 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 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 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 20th 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 2021 or later.

- We prefer online screeners when possible.

- The final program of the festival will be posted October 1, 2024 (date approximate) on the festival website.

- The "People’s Choice Awards" will be announced Novemeber 30, 2024 (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 organizations 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
  • Vox is really amazing! So well organized, with really clear communication with filmmakers. Deliverables were easy and the event was really well advertised and attendance looked really good! Kind folks and a wonderful film festival!

    December 2023
  • Brendan Petersen

    Vox Popular Media Arts just paid me an extremely generous speaker fee. Most film festivals don't even pay people at all in my experience. I'm amazed at how this local festival is able to do it with their small budget and yet they always have a professional presentation and good attendance too, impressive! Festivals like this make me feel more heard as an artist

    December 2023
  • Tamara Jones

    An intimate festival in a unique and beautiful town.

    November 2023
  • A fantastic film festival that is run by artists and for artists. Projection could be more accurate and better but it doesn't take away from the whole experience. Def Sup cinema was very textured and that is a selling point in itself. The turnout during prime time (7-10pm) was great, on the other times it was a bit thin.

    Overall, I hope they only get bigger and bigger as time goes by. The team behind it are excellent people and very transparent.

    October 2023
  • Kalli Paakspuu

    VoxPopular MediaArts Festival is a great meeting place and a place for great beginnings.It has a unique regional value and attracts engaged audiences and northern filmmakers.

    September 2023