Shadows of the Mind Film Festival. That`s the ticket


As a person moves through the Christmas season, the notion of shopping for gifts for friends and family can percolate in ones’ mind to the point of exhaustion. Shadows of the Mind Film Festival can save all of the shopping anguish a person may encounter. Add a 5 pack of Shadows of the Mind Film Festival movie vouchers to the holiday gift mix. Chances are, a person on your Christmas list would welcome the opportunity to become lost in a story for awhile, transfixed by a film. It’s entirely possible that a person on your list does not, under any circumstances, need or want more stuff. Giving the gift of vouchers to Shadows of the Mind Film Festival affords the recipient an opportunity to float away to points unknown, explore ideas and stories, as told through the lens of creative minds. The Academy Award winning director Robert Altman (1925-2006) said “Filmmaking is the chance to live many lifetimes”.

The Grand Theatre on Queen St, Galaxy Cinema in Station Mall, and Sault College are the three venues for Shadows of the Mind Film Festival, which runs the last week in February each year.

20151208_112706Bill MacPherson, Co-Director, Shadows of the Mind Film Festival has been volunteering with the Festival for over 8 years. “The Festival has been around for 17 years. In 2014, a new screen was purchased for the Grand Theatre. The screen is 26 ft x 15 ft., and falls within the parameters of screens found at most movie theatres, including The Galaxy Cinema. We also purchased a brand new, high definition projector for The Grand Theatre.”

As a psychiatric case manager with Algoma Public Health, Bill MacPherson, (Master of Social Work), shares a unique perspective on the value of Shadows of the Mind Film Festival, and believes it is an integral part of the Sault community.

‘Shadows is a film festival that showcases films and other art forms for two purposes: to entertain and to educate. By attracting audiences through the entertainment value of film, we use select films and events to increase awareness and education on mental health and addiction issues, as well as other prevalent social topics as decided on each year. We are a not-for-profit organization that is organized and managed by a collaboration of local partners. All partners contribute by co-hosting events, participating on planning committees, donating employee time and administrative support, and a huge personal contribution is also being made by a significant number of individuals who contribute their personal time to the festival and its events.’ (

“People come from all across our District to watch films brought in to the Festival. People even come from the U.P. (Upper Peninsula, Michigan). Every year, we try to bring in a local film.” shared Bill

Shadowsofthemind-poster-2016Sponsorships are important in the work of not-for-profit organizations. By sharing the cost of bringing films to Shadows of the Mind Film Festival, sponsors can enrich the life of the Festival. Costs to run a Film Festival include the films’ distribution rights and fees, shipping, theatre rental costs, and more. “Sponsors help immensely in a situation where the potential arises for a particular film to be shown either by donation, or free of charge. For some of our films we have had Panel Discussions. People from the film often attend, and can be engaged in meaningful exchanges of information and dialogue.”

There are films screened at Shadows Film Festival that have educational or professional and personal development opportunities. Non Profit Organizations and Businesses may want to offer staff members a date at the movies. In fact, this has happened for movie screenings throughout the history of the Shadows of the Mind Film Festival. “Film has a way of elevating issues, and when shared through the lens of a director’s imagination, a film can open pathways for thoughtful discussion.” shared Bill MacPherson.

‘At the festival, attendees will also have the opportunity to learn more about mental health, addictions or other social issues through various supporting ‘social’ events. The supporting social events provide the bulk of the festival’s educational value. Panel discussions either stand alone or are attached to some of our films. Discussions are held with the audience after some of the films. These discussions are often led by a panel of professionals who have some expertise with the topic of the film at hand and they are available to answer questions, share insight and encourage discussions about the film that had just been viewed.’
“We are setting the line-up now, and all the films will be finalized within the next three weeks.” shared Bill MacPherson.

Approximately 30 committee volunteers and 60 festival volunteers assist in hosting the Shadows of the Mind Film Festival.

“One of the highlights of the Festival is the Gala night at Sault College. Students from the Culinary Arts programme at Sault College create and host an elegant evening that is always sold out.”

“A goal for any non-profit is to break even”. Bill reflected about the importance of early ticket sales in creating energy and momentum for Shadows Film Festival. “We are always striving to create a lineup of movies that speak to many different tastes. Any profits that are realized end up back into the organization, including for maintaining the equipment we use.” he said. “Shadows in the Summer is a way for us to bring individuals and families together in the great outdoors. We offer free movies at Bellevue Park. Over 1,200 people of all ages enjoyed films over the summer (2015) on a 20 ft. screen. We haul a trailer around with all of the equipment needed to put on free summer movies at Bellevue Parks’ band shell.” adding “Free popcorn included”.

By supporting Shadows of the Mind Film Festival, you are further supporting free movies for families in the summer, and other potential learning opportunities or workshops throughout the year.

Gifting a film buff from your circle of friends and family with a 5 voucher pack to Shadows of the Mind Film Festival will also help in the planning and organizing of the Festival. Ticket sales help to drive the engine of this rich and diverse festival. Volunteers dedicate 100’s of hours to create a special film-going experience for the community.

The lucky person who finds a 5 voucher pack in their Christmas stocking will have all of the fun deciding which movies to take in during the Festival’s run. Vouchers are traded in at the Shadows of the Mind Box Office for tickets to movies selected by the individual.

Voucher packages are available in Sault Ste. Marie at Stone’s Office Plus (Queen Street), The Canadian Mental Health Assoc (Queen St.) and by calling 705-759-8160
“When people ask me whether I went to Film School, I answer No, I went to Films”. Quentin Tarantino.

Shadows of the Mind Film Festival is scheduled February 23 – 28, 2016.
For information about Shadows of the Mind Film Festival, including a video collage of movie titles shown during previous festivals visit: