Great Lakes, Great Films

Alpena, Michigan

JANUARY 20 – 24, 2020

Every year, the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary bring the world of cinema to Alpena! For five days in January, northeast Michigan is treated to some of the most impressive ocean and Great Lakes films from around the world. Film screenings are complemented by social events, educational activities, and opportunities to meet filmmakers.

For more information, please call or email Film Festival Coordinator
Stephanie Gandulla at 989-884-6212

2021 Schedule & Film List

Stay tuned.

Student Film Competition

2020 Theme #GreatLakesAre
The 2020 Student Film competition theme was #GreatLakesAre. The theme asked students to explain what the Great Lakes mean to them. All films were viewed by a panel of professionals from the multimedia and filmmaking industry. Selected films were screened in the theater of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s visitor Center (Alpena, MI) as part of the Thunder Bay International Film Festival.

First Place & People’s Choice Award: “His Boots Are Empty”


Second Place: “Microplastics: The Looming Crisis”

Third Place: “Great Lakes Are Powerful”

Thank you SO MUCH to our wonderful prize donors:


To learn more about the 2021 Student Film Competition, visit its project page here.

A Heartfelt Thank You to Our 2020 Festival Sponsors!

Please join us in recognizing and supporting our very generous sponsors of the eighth annual Thunder Bay International Film Festival. Take a few minute to look closely at this list of sponsors, visit their websites, support their business or organization, and thank them on social media. Without our sponsors, we could not bring extraordinary cultural events like this festival to northeast Michigan. THANK YOU for making great things happen along the shores of Thunder Bay!

Executive Producer

Michigan Film & Digital Media Office

Lake Huron Director

Alpena Agency, Inc.

Thunder Bay Star

Festival Friend