Vox Popular Media Arts Festival (formerly the Bay Street Film Festival) will celebrate its 15th anniversary from September 12-15, 2019. 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 fourteen years, Vox Popular Media Arts Festival has screened over 625 films; more than a dozen media arts installations; 360VR production, Projection mapping immersive screen experiences, hosted 168 visiting filmmakers from Canada and around the world; hosted dozens of Q&A's and 27 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 14 years. Since 2016, we conducted five 360/VR hands-on workshops, and presented 6 x 360 Projection Mapping installations.

We are supported by the Ontario Arts Council and Heritage Canada, 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 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. New in 2017 was our 360 projection mapping screen experience, set up in a separate hall for viewers to enter and experience locally produced 360 VR footage. Our call for submissions now is soliciting VR projects.

Trinity Hall our primary venue, features a large auditorium with a seating capacity of 440, a high quality sound system, a large format screen, and a stage. It’s ideal for screenings, master classes and performances. Our new partner, Trinity United Church has a Live webcasting initiative. Trinity Live blends videoconferencing, Skype TX, Zoom, and video production technologies into a stream that can be distributed either live or on demand to destinations facilitating the possibility of virtual attendance from filmmakers and audience from around the world. The festival utilizes other locations, including the public library auditorium across the street and an outdoor screen at Marina Park.

Thunder Bay is located on Lake Superior between Toronto, Ontario, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, north-east of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it is serviced by an international airport. Be sure to check out www.thunderbay.ca for more information about the city and region we call home.

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.

Criteria for eligibility are:

- Works must 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 preferred).

- Submissions must be completed works with a release date of June 2016 or later.

- We prefer on-line screeners when possible.

- The final program of the festival will be posted August 1, 2019 (date approximate) on the festival website.

- The "People’s Choice Awards" will be announced September 20, 2019 (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
  • javad habibpour


    December 2018
  • Miranda Aguilar

    Didn't visit in person as we're from Australia, but there was kind and clear communication throughout the process and it was super professional and lovely at every point.

    October 2018
  • Amazing people doing a great job

    October 2018
  • Martin King

    Fun and Great. Good music and dancers after the movies.

    September 2018
  • Vox Popular (formally Bay St. FF) is the best film festival I have ever had the pleasure to participate in. Their selection is stellar and they treat filmmakers like superstars. Wonderful, intelligent and supportive.

    October 2017