Film festival to screen films for students

ALPENA –Local high schools students will have a unique opportunity this month.

Both Rogers City and Alpena high schools will provide students the chance to watch certain films with the Thunder Bay International Film Festival.

“(It’s) something we have wanted to do as a part of the film festival is expand the education programs,” Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Media Outreach Coordinator Stephanie Gandulla said.

She said there are two big reasons they decided to screen to the students.

“They get to see it before anyone else, and so they can have discussions about the screenings back in the classroom,” she said.

The films will be shown at Alpena High School on Jan. 16 and at the Rogers City Theater Jan. 17.

Presque Isle District Library Program Director Anne Belanger said the films selected for the students are different than what is shown at the festival.

“It’s going to give them a broad spectrum of films about the Great Lakes and the oceans,” she said. “It’s important for students who live on the waters of the Great Lakes to understand the issues. They can also discover areas of science and film they might want to be involved in.”

AHS teacher John Caplis said at the high school students will sign up for an assembly where there will be a number of films shown.

“We’re going to target the science classes in the school to expose them to environmental science films,” he said.

He said the hope is to educate the students through the films. He hopes students have a better understanding of the earth science issues, and the oceans since they’re connected to the Great Lakes.

“The other thing is, there is a student film competition,” he said. “The other really cool byproducts of the screenings is we hope we can get students put together in the film to enter next year. It gets a screening during the film festival. I’m hoping to motivate students to be more aware of and take action and an opportunity move forward and get involved in their own way.”

Belanger said the different movies the students will view have interesting topics and beautiful cinematography.

“I think the selection is just dynamite,” she said. “This a great opportunity. Here’s a perfect example of this regional presence really reaching out and presenting these opportunities. We’re grateful to them, we really are.”

To learn more about the Thunder Bay Film Festival go to

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687.