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Local Film Project Wins Award in International Documentary Challenge

Community invited to see why film made waves

(May 20, 2010 – Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University professors Drs. Ron Harpelle and Michel Beaulieu have participated in the making of a short film entitled “Life Is But A Dream…,” which has received the “Best of Genre for Sport” award within the International Documentary Challenge.  It was the only Canadian entry to make it to the finals, receiving an honourable mention by the jury at the Hot Docs event, the biggest documentary film festival in North America, which took place in Toronto in early May.

Both Drs. Harpelle and Beaulieu are hopeful this experience will increase interest among potential Thunder Bay team members next year.  “This is a great opportunity to raise Thunder Bay’s filmmaking profile,” says Dr. Harpelle.  “Local filmmakers can use upcoming competitions as mentoring and learning opportunities, and the world will begin to appreciate the stories filmmakers in Thunder Bay tell through their artistry.”

As a result of its high standing, “Life Is But A Dream…” has been selected as one of the few films from the competition to be broadcast on The Documentary Channel (USA) for the next two years.  It will also be played at film festivals that tour around the world.  The film is about Charlie Wilkins and his latest adventure in rowing across the Atlantic Ocean among a group of other rowers while attempting to break the 33-day crossing record.

“The exercise of making a short film in only five days demonstrates how working together, volunteering time, and streamlining a group’s creative abilities pays off for everyone,” says the film’s director, Kelly Saxberg.  She adds that contributions by Drs. Harpelle and Beaulieu were pivotal in the film’s reception by jury panellists.    

Community members are encouraged to watch the films from the 2010 International Documentary Challenge online at, and to rate the films for the Audience Voting Award.

“Life Is But A Dream…” hits the Thunder Bay stage at the 2010 Bay Street Film Festival.


MEDIA: Drs. Harpelle and Beaulieu are available for media interview.  For more information, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177 or, or Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, 807-343-8372 or

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Last updated May 31, 2010

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