The Festival

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The Bay Street Film Festival is a not-for-profit annual media arts festival that presents Canadian and International films, videos and film installations of all genres in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Celebrating its 12th anniversary from September 15-18, 2016, the Festival helps professional independent artists show their work so audiences of all ages, interests and abilities can enrich their experience of media arts.

The Bay Street Film Festival an integral part of Northwestern Ontario’s film history and since its inception in 2005 has celebrated the ongoing achievements of independent filmmakers. The Festival focuses on showcasing the latest films of emerging and established professional independent filmmakers working in remote and isolated circumpolar communities around the world so that the diverse stories and perspectives of the near and far North are given increased visibility and prominence.

In the past eleven years, Bay Street Film Festival has screened over 400 films, hosted over 100 visiting filmmakers from Northwestern Ontario, Canada and around the world,  held dozens of discussions and highly successful Master Classes. Our audiences are of all ages and interests including the Finnish, Aboriginal, Francophone and other specific communities in our region.

We pay screening fees to artists and distributors*, according to current CARFAC (Canadian Artist Representation/Le Front des Artistes Canadiens) rates. We provide several travel grants to help subsidize the expenses of filmmakers from around the world* travelling to Thunder Bay to present their film, participate in Q&A sessions after screenings, participate in panel discussions and most importantly, to interact and share film and filmmaking experiences with Northwestern Ontario communities.

The festival’s primary venue is the Finnish Labour Temple at 314 Bay Street in downtown Thunder Bay. A designated National Historic Site of Canada, the Finnish Labour Temple features a 250-seat auditorium, a high-quality sound system, a large format projection screen, a stage and two accessible lifts.

We’re supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, Heritage Canada, The Ontario Trillium Foundation, the City of Thunder Bay and many dedicated local sponsors, including merchants from the Bay Street area.


Thunder Bay, Ontario is located on Lake Superior between Toronto, Ontario (1 hour and 40 minute flight) and Winnipeg, Manitoba (1 hour and 15 minute flight) and a 475 km flight distance north of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The city is serviced by an international airport. Check out for more information about Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.

* Some restrictions may apply.

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