The annual Thunder Bay International Film Festival Student Film Competition (TBIFF) challenged students in grades 8-12 to create a five-minute or less film on the theme: #GreatLakesAre. Out of 30+ entries, 13 films were selected to receive the festival’s Official Selection Laurels. They were screened together in a free public session at the festival on Saturday​, January 25 to a packed house​. ​As an annual event, the Student Film Competition encourages students to learn and apply their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) knowledge and creativity as they develop their own ocean and Great Lakes films. Students that enter films each year also get to choose the next year’s theme. The competition is hosted by Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in partnership with Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine, Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Sea Grant, and Huron Pines. ​The competition is part of the Thunder Bay International Film Festival. Five special awards were given to the top scoring five films, as well as a “People’s Choice” that was voted on ​at​ the screening. First through third place films will be archived for viewing on along with previous year’s winners.

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Image Above: These students won both the 1st place and People’s Choice awards for their 5-minute short film “His Boots Are Empty​.” Credit: Charles Wiesen​ ​

Main Image: This year’s winners of the TBIFF Student Film Competition following the screening of their #GreatLakesAre films in the sanctuary’s visitor center theater.​ Credit: Charles Wiesen​