Spotlight on Academics is a film festival dedicated to sharing knowledge through film. We are committed to showcasing films that are suitable for use in post-secondary classrooms because of our partnership with ResearchTV, an online streaming platform for academic audiences. Films selected for Spotlight on Academics are automatically considered for inclusion on ResearchTV, although filmmakers are not obliged to work with the platform. ResearchTV provides an opportunity for filmmakers to have their work peer-reviewed and marketed to universities and the general public.

After the festival, selected Spotlight on Academics films are reviewed a second time by scholars and filmmakers who understand both the rigors of scholarship and the challenges of publishing research in a film format. Spotlight on Academics, and our partner ResearchTV, hold filmmakers to high standards so that viewers can count on both the quality of the research and the quality of the production.

The festival will launch 8-11 February 2024 with 6 in-person screening sessions at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON, Canada. In addition to in-person sessions, all of the selected films will stream for 4 days on our festival channel hosted by, which ensures that our viewers from around the world can access films and participate in the livestream events, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions with filmmakers. It will also provide a forum for fellow filmmakers and academics to meet and engage with one another.

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 for more information about the city and region we call home.

Submissions accepted by Spotlight on Academics are expected to meet high academic and technical standards.

Filmmakers selected for the festival have the option to have their films peer-reviewed by ResearchTV and are invited to screen on one of the platform's themed channels if they pass.

ResearchTV markets films on its platform to universities and instructors in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

Visit for more information.

The Spotlight on Academics Film Festival does not pay distribution fees to filmmakers or their agents for films screened at the festival.

It is expected that filmmakers whose films are selected for the festival will also be willing to consider adding their film to ResearchTV's platform for subsequent online programming. Filmmakers retain the rights to their films and can ask to have them taken off of ResearchTV at any time. ResearchTV also reserves the right to remove a film at any time.

Overall Rating
  • A (remote) festival of great aesthetic and human quality

    March 2022
  • As an academic filmmaker, I found that the festival was a great experience, well organized, and supportive of the participating filmmakers with opportunities for discussions around the themes of the selected films. Spotlight on Academics Film Festival opens new ways to consider how films can serve as research and knowledge sharing vehicles, expanding alternate ways of knowing through film, with a diverse program of critical international work.

    February 2022
  • Greg Scott

    Top-flight festival. It's the real deal. Excellent organization and communication. Outstanding program. The organizers are committed to the engagement and wellbeing of filmmakers and audience members alike.

    February 2022
  • Ricardo Leon Villanueva

    Lovely environment with a lot of amazing projects. I would definitely recommend this festival!

    February 2022