Spotlight on Academics is an annual 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.

The festival will launch 20-24 February 2025 with selected finalist films being shown during in-person screening sessions at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON, Canada. In addition to in-person sessions, all finalist and semi-finalist films will stream for 5 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.

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.

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.

Filmmakers who submit to the festival will also be added to our mailing list, which can be unsubscribed from at any time.

Overall Rating
  • Great festival and team. It was lovely being part of this years event.

    February 2024
  • Dorna Van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal

    I am immensely honored that my documentary, "Finding Enok, coping with our colonial past," was selected for inclusion in the "Echo's of Colonialism" program at the prestigious Spotlight on Academics film festival. Although I was unable to attend in person, the festival's dedication to disseminating knowledge through film deeply resonates with the ethos of my work. Spotlight on Academics, in partnership with ResearchTV, provides a unique platform for films to not only be showcased but also peer-reviewed and considered for academic use, which is invaluable for filmmakers like myself who aim to bridge the gap between scholarly research and cinematic storytelling. Thank you so much for inviting us. We are grateful. Dorna van Rouveroy, director.

    February 2024
  • Weronika PliƄska

    Wonderful academic festival with an impressive selection of films. Hope to be selected next time!

    February 2024
  • Aine ONYA Clarke

    We experienced a film festival with a powerful mission that resonated with our documentary. There was an excellent line up of selected films available both in person and online. We learned a lot from being present in Thunder Bay, from participating in the Q&A, the master class and from the organisers and their young talented team and other directors present. This festival offers a path for films to live on long and beyond one's own network. Excellent speedy communications and an amazing welcome.

    February 2024
  • michael brown

    This was a very positive experience. The organising team are very efficient and welcoming. The festival presents films by academics, often within underlying community engagement methodologies and theoretical underpinnings that are broader than the films themselves.

    February 2024