Vox Popular is a non-profit Media Arts Festival in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada and is the evolution of the Bay Street Film Festival. We program Canadian and International films, multimedia installations, and media artists of all genres. An annual film festival is held in September each year with the 19th year approaching for 2023. The festival will include local, Canadian, and international films; a concert series; a virtual gallery; and panel discussions with filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists!
In 2024 Vox Popular is celebrating its 20th annual film festival! Vox Popular helps professional independent artists show their work to audiences of all ages, interests and abilities to enrich their experience of media arts.
The annual film festival is 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 communities around the world so the diverse stories and perspectives of the near and far North are given increased visibility and prominence.
In the past twenty years, Vox Popular Media Arts Festival has screened over 920+ films, hosted over 175+ 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, First Nations, Francophone and other specific communities in our region.
About the Festival
Vox Popular Media Arts Festival (formerly the Bay Street Film Festival) will celebrate its 20th annual festival from November 14-16, 2024. Vox Popular programs all genres of media arts – documentary, features, shorts, experimental, and installations made in Northwestern Ontario, Canada and internationally. The annual festival and year-round programming connects professional independent filmmakers with other artists and to audiences of all ages and interests by showing films, facilitating creative and professional development and multidisciplinary arts performance in an accessible, inclusive, friendly environment.
In the past 20 years, Vox Popular Media Arts Festival has screened 920 films; more than a dozen media arts installations; 360VR productions, Projection mapping immersive screen experiences, hosted 175 visiting filmmakers from Canada and around the world; hosted dozens of Q&A’s and 47 highly successful Master Classes; engaged audiences of all ages and interests including BIPOC, Francophone, LGBTQ2S+, disabled and other culturally diverse groups in our community; and paid artist fees to filmmakers for 20 years.
Since 2016, we conducted five 360/VR hands-on workshops, and presented 6 x 360 Projection Mapping installations.
We are supported by Heritage Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, Ontario Arts Council and many dedicated local sponsors. We provide up to ten travel grants to help subsidize travel expenses of out of town filmmakers, allowing them the opportunity to come to Thunder Bay to present their film, participate in Q&A periods after the screening, lead master classes and most importantly, to interact and celebrate media arts of all genres. We also Skype/ZOOM in filmmakers who are unable to attend but would like to engage our audience. Since 2016 we have included 360 VR Oculus Rift screening stations.
The 20th Annual Vox Popular Media Arts Festival will be held at the Definitely Superior Art Gallery.
Thunder Bay is located on Lake Superior between Toronto, Ontario, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, north-east of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it is serviced by an national airport. Be sure to check out www.thunderbay.ca for more information about the city and region we call home. Vox Popular acknowledges that our office and festival are on the traditional territory of the Anishnaabe People, and in the area of the Robinson Superior Treaty (1850).
Since 2020, we have presented films virtually in addition to our in person events. As we move to the post-COVID era, we continue to screen select films on ResearchTV.ca for 5 days following the in person event. This allows immune compromised people to experience the festival from their home and creates greater accessibility to the films. Filmmakers have no obligation to be apart of the online portion of the festival and we can geo block and/or cap off views if necessary. It is a wonderful way to reach larger audiences.
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* traveling 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 film-making experiences with Northwestern Ontario communities. * Some restrictions may apply
***COVID 19 UPDATE***
In September 2020 & 2021 we hosted our first Online Virtual Festival(s). Films were embedded into private Vimeo showcases accessible exclusively with a password for 10 days. We received a flood of online traction as people watch the films at their own leisure for the duration of the festival. We hosted high quality pre-recorded live stream concert performances of 5 Northern Ontario performers. We also hosted Q&A interviews with filmmakers.