Biodiversity Is … Youth voices on biodiversity conservation to be shared through film

Thunder Bay International Film Festival features Great Lakes issues, ocean exploration, maritime heritage and more.

The 2017 Thunder Bay International Film Festival features films from around the world exploring Great Lakes issues, shark conservation, ocean exploration, lighthouse history, surfing, and much more. Courtesy photo.

The 2017 Thunder Bay International Film Festival features films from around the world exploring Great Lakes issues, shark conservation, ocean exploration, lighthouse history, surfing, and much more. Courtesy photo.

This year’s Thunder Bay International Film Festival (TBIFF) again features student films from northeast Michigan and beyond. The film festival taking place through Sunday (Jan. 29, 2017), at NOAA’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, Mich., is hosted by Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, in partnership with the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival. This fifth annual event offers films from around the world exploring Great Lakes issues, shark conservation, ocean exploration, lighthouse history, surfing, and much more. Among these unique films, student films are featured Saturday (Jan. 28, 2017) during the TBIFF’s 2nd Annual Student Film Competition.

Collaborating with the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative network and partnership, the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Michigan Sea Grant, and others sponsored this competition to inspire students as filmmakers – and to promote deeper understanding of important natural resources issues. The 2017 stewardship theme and film challenge for students was #BiodiversityIs, and 14 student films (grades 6-12) are featured exploring biodiversity through the lens of these talented youth. On Saturday (Jan. 28, 2017) from 1-5 p.m. the TBIFF will host a filmmakers’ panel (1-3 p.m.) followed by a showing of these student films. This portion of the Film Festival is free and open to the public.

In addition to the Student Film Competition, the festival features different ocean and Great Lakes-focused films. The Thunder Bay International Film Festival is a fantastic opportunity to engage the community in Great Lakes and oa list of scheduled times for film showingsceans issues. This event takes place at the NOAA Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. The festival screens more than sixty films, ranging in length from one minute to feature-length. Features of the event include films from the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, a long-running, global festival of ocean-themed films, largely unavailable to the general public.

“The Thunder Bay International Film Festival is not only entertaining and enlightening,” Mary Beth Stutzman, president of the Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, says, “but it is also a critical component in our increased understanding of the planet and how we are impacting our environment.”

Tickets are $30 for the Friday reception and films, $6 per program for films aired on Saturday and Sunday. The filmmakers panel and student films taking place 1-5 p.m. on Saturday is free and open to the public. A full festival pass (Thunder Pass!) can be purchased at a discount. Call (989) 356-8805, visit thunderbayfriends.org, or come into the Sanctuary Store (500 West Fletcher, Alpena) to buy your tickets. For more information about the Thunder Bay International Film Festival or the Student Film Competition, call (989) 356-8805, ext 38, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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