Thunder Bay Environmental Film Festival

By Kris Ketonen

Since its formation, the Thunder Bay Environmental Film Festival has had two distinct goals. First and foremost, of course, is to select a lineup of films that not only shine a spotlight on some major environmental issues, but also celebrate those who, through advocacy, are working to make change.

“What we like to try to do is to balance the hope with the despair,” says Charlene Rogers, festival programmer. “I think that we’re going to do a really good job with that this year. We’ve got the films that really are hopeful, and then the other ones that show what’s really happening.”

The second goal of the festival, says Deanna Ford, festival chair and sponsorship manager, is about building community. Through its screenings and discussions, the festival aims to help attendees make change in their own lives. “Sometimes we get asked ‘do the films really change people?’” Ford says. “Yes, is the answer. People make changes to […] what they buy to put on their bodies, everything from that to where they shop, and what they’re buying.”

This year’s festival runs from April 19-23 in the Bora Laskin theatre at Lakehead University. Rogers says one film she’s particularly looking forward to is Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven. “It’s about the Group of Seven, and these folks that went on a path to find the sites that the Group of Seven painted at,” she says. “It’s really about our northern landscape, and protecting that.”

A highlight for Ford, meanwhile, will be the screening of this year’s Youth Environmental Film Project works. “[On Thursday, April 20], we’re going to show the two films made by youth who are essentially picking up a camera for the first time, and editing for the first time, and putting a documentary together for the first time,” Ford says.

This year’s Environmental Film Festival still has openings for volunteers and sponsors. Anyone looking to get involved can find more information at the festival’s Facebook page, the website, or by emailing

Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven Trailer from WhitePinePictures on Vimeo.