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2024 Sanctuary Selections Film Competition Official Film Selections

Alpena, Michigan - January 2024

Tickets for the evening's events are available now and will sell out fast - be sure and get yours before it’s too late!

New for 2024, the Thunder Bay International Film Festival has partnered with The Sunset Project to introduce a unique film competition offering filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their work and a chance to win the "Sanctuary Selection" title alongside a $5,000 cash prize for their next film.

Films for this competition were selected by the Sanctuary Selections Judges Panel, composed of regional industry professionals and Northeast Michigan community members. Films were selected based on predetermined criteria such as creativity, originality, cinematography, and ability to adhere to the theme.

2024 Theme: “Representing the Great Lakes region through strong storytelling - with a focus on discovery, authentic experience, and the human connection.”

Official Film Selections

Senghor Reid: Make Way For Tomorrow

13 min. | Eden Sabolboro & Desmond Love

Filmmakers Desmond Love and Eden Sabolboro illuminate the world of visual artist Senghor Reid, who draws inspiration for his paintings from current events and from his hometown of Detroit. Reid’s colorful and evocative paintings of human subjects in strange yet familiar environments inspire audiences with future visions of hope and possibility.

The Great Wake

9 min. | Charlie Klipp & Mario Cassem

On Halloween, a grief dream reunites a young programmer with his lost Player 2. Based on a true story of loss and life.

Toxic Art

15 min. | Jason Whalen & Chris Zuker

Acid mine drainage is a pervasive problem in American Appalachia, poisoning streams and killing wildlife. The technology and funding to remove these pollutants and bring life back to streams just didn't exist, that is, until fine art painter and professor John Sabraw rallied a team to address the issue in their local stream and developed a breakthrough process to upcycle pollutants into paint pigments.

Love and Lake

10 min. | Nick Lusardi & Hannah Tracey

A college freshman searches his childhood memories for a common romance.

Marqueetown Part One Excerpt

20 min. | Joe Beyer and Jordan Anderson

No one fights to preserve a multiplex, but some people will risk everything to save a marquee. Through booms and busts, Delft Theatres Inc. - and its innovative gem, The Nordic - endured in Marquette for almost 100 years, even as the world changed endlessly around them.


Film Eligibility Requirements

  • Must range from 5 to 20 minutes in length

  • Must have been released no earlier than March of 2018

  • Must be focused on content from the Great Lakes Region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ontario)

  • Must adhere to the established theme

  • Must have never previously been shown at the Thunder Bay International Film Festival

  • Filmmakers (or at least one film representative) must be able to attend in person on the evening of Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Sunset Project and The Thunder Bay International Film Festival are committed to supporting visionary filmmakers, advancing the art form of film and new media, and engaging communities with cinematic experiences focused around the Great Lakes Region!

The Sanctuary Selections Film Competition is made possible in part by:

  • Bridging Michigan Grant from Michigan Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities

  • Summer 2023 Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan Community Impact Grant

  • 2023 Northeast Michigan Women's Giving Circle Grant

And The Sunset Project’s Gold Level Sponsors:

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