Film fans fight for independent cinema in Thunder Bay – TVO

by ahnationtalk on March 26, 2018260 Views

In northwestern Ontario, you’re a long way from the nearest indie theatre. Diehards have built a thriving scene anyway

Mar 23, 2018

THUNDER BAY — A generation ago, Thunder Bay could boast of seven movie theatres in town. Today, Cineplex’s 12-screen SilverCity remains the only option for a city of 100,000 people. To the chagrin of some film fans, its playbill tends to focus on the Hollywood blockbuster titles that are most popular.

What about movies to entertain residents who prefer adult-oriented dramas, foreign films and other Oscar fodder? “Occasionally, there will be an art house or independent film that pops up there,” says Marty Mascarin, president of a local film screening group called the North of Superior Film Association. “They end up playing only a week. They fly under the radar.”

Yet in defiance of the remoteness that often defines this city, Thunder Bay has maintained a vibrant film scene thanks to do-it-yourself efforts by filmmakers and festival organizers.

Confederation College film professor Lee Chambers explains the attitude of northwestern Ontario’s movie diehards. “Are we isolated? Yes. You have to go eight hours in any direction to get to another theatre,” he says. “But the world is open with pathways to be innovative. We can’t hide behind our isolation for all the answers. We have to build it.”

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