We’ll post all our 2014 TCFF Dailies here, so keep checking back or on our YouTube channel!
EPISODE 1: Founders Party & Opening Night
DONATION WILL CREATE A SPECIAL FUND TO BRING INDEPENDENT, DOCUMENTARY, AND FOREIGN FILMS TO A LARGER NATIONWIDE AUDIENCE
“The idea is to take what we do in Traverse City and share it across the country.”
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Michael Moore’s groundbreaking, seminal film, “Roger & Me,” the board of directors of the Traverse City Film Festival announced tonight at the kick-off of its 10th annual film fest that Michael Moore has donated a quarter of a million dollars — an amount representing his final and remaining profits from “Roger & Me” — to the festival.
“I wanted to do something special, something big to honor all the good over the years that has resulted from my first film,” said Moore, the founder and president of the festival. “This donation will be used specifically to address the lack of access across most of the country for people who want to go to a movie theater and see a foreign film or a documentary. Unlike in past generations when it was not difficult if you lived in a place like Flint, Michigan, to see the latest movie from Ingmar Bergman or Francois Truffaut — or be able to watch, also in a theater, a documentary like ‘The Thin Blue Line’ or ‘Roger & Me’ — these days the public and the younger generation have little chance to see films like this, the way they are meant to be seen: in a theater, in the dark, up on a big screen, with dozens or hundreds of other moviegoers sharing the experience. I think I can help fix that.”
Moore’s idea on how to “fix that” is to create and curate a monthly movie night across America — tentatively titled “Mike’s Movie Night” — where independent films (American, foreign, and documentary) will be beamed to theaters across the United States and Canada. It will be set up in the same way movie theaters now show the Metropolitan Opera live from New York City. The monthly movie night will be hosted by Moore and other prominent filmmakers and actors. There will be a live Q&A at the end of each film with the films’ stars and director, and audience members across North America will be able to ask questions of the filmmakers. Read More →
Have you ever left a movie with burning questions or wanting to tell the filmmaker how much you loved their work? Well, now’s your chance! New at the Traverse City Film Festival, we’re expanding our post-film Q&A sessions by offering you the opportunity to send the filmmakers your questions, comments, or kudos. Just send your note to email@example.com and we will then pass it along to the filmmakers. Click here for more information.
TCFF makes it to the newsstands again! Learn more about our tenth anniversary and founder Michael Moore’s consistent festival philosophy in this Detroit News article. The interview details how TCFF has changed in the last ten years, from 50,000 tickets sold in 2005 to a whopping 119,000 in 2013. Still, Moore explains how, while it has grown, the festival still has the same, changeless mission of providing “just great movies.”
In less than a week, the 10th annual Traverse City Film Festival will kick off! And if that isn’t exciting enough, I come bearing good news: Just when you thought the lineup couldn’t possibly get any better, that we couldn’t possibly fit any more movies into an already jam-packed schedule, we’ve just added a bunch of new screenings to the movies you couldn’t grab tickets to — and added some absolutely great new films you’d be crazy to miss!
Join us at the State on Saturday night for director Richard Linklater’s (“Dazed and Confused,” “Bernie” TCFF ’12) 12-years-in-the-making masterpiece, “Boyhood.”
We’re also excited to present a special sneak preview of the feel-good charmer “One Chance” from the director of “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Marley & Me.” It’s the inspirational true underdog story of a guy who won “Britain’s Got Talent” and the hearts of a nation. See it here in TC before anywhere else!
Tickets are on sale now for a second screening of the sold out “1971” — but this is no ordinary screening. On Friday at 3 pm, we’ll show the film here in TC with the director and the real-life stars, and theaters around the world will join us in watching this great doc about how some things never change. You won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind international cinematic experience.
By popular demand, we’ve also added encore screenings of John Turturro and Woody Allen in “Fading Gigolo,” the beautifully poignant “Still Life,” and the real-life romantic comedy “Meet the Patels” — and with all four of the Patels in attendance, this is a screening you absolutely won’t want to miss! (See the complete list of added screenings below.)
Speaking of guests, I’m proud to announce that over 100 filmmakers and industry guests and will join us here in Traverse City starting Tuesday for a week of moviegoing euphoria.
Filmmakers and guests in attendance include: TCFF Board Members Tom Morello and Larry Charles; Chaz Ebert, “Life Itself;” Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple, “Running from Crazy;” “Life of Crime” director Daniel Schechter; the raging grannies from “Two Raging Grannies;” director and actor Fisher Stevens of “Mission Blue;” director David Lascher and star Grace Kaufman of “Sister;” “Bronx Obama” himself, Louis Ortiz, and director Ryan Murdock; joining us from Amsterdam, “Don’t Leave Me” directors Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden; Michael Apted returns with his latest, “Bending the Light;” “Land Ho!” star Paul Eenhoorn; “Virunga” subject Emmanuel de Merode and director Orlando von Einsiedel; and the director and subjects at the heart of “Rich Hill.”
Keep in mind that this list is only a small sampling. Most screenings will feature filmmakers in attendance, and I can’t wait till they get to meet you, the incomparable TC audiences.
You can catch our filmmaking visitors not only at their screenings, but also at our panels, film school, and—how’s this for small town charm—even at the filmmaker vs. volunteer softball game at the Civic Center on Friday, August 1 at 10 am.
The lineup for our free daily panels starting at 9:30 am at the City Opera House has been set (you may notice a few changes!):
TUESDAY – Michigan Film Commission Public Meeting
WEDNESDAY – Nixon/Obama: Some Things Never Change
THURSDAY – Foreign Thursday: Not in America
FRIDAY – Music & Movies: The Revolution in Ones and Zeroes—A One on One Conversation with Michael Moore and Tom Morello
SATURDAY – The Comedy Panel
SUNDAY – Meet TCFF Visionary Award Winner Rick Prelinger (and get a peek at the sold out “Yesterday and Tomorrow in Detroit”)
And new to the film school, TCFF Board member and Academy Award-nominee Tia Lessin will teach a producing workshop, and “Dinosaur 13” director Todd Douglas Miller will present an inside look at his film that is one of my absolute favorite documentaries of the year.
So take a look at your schedule and see what else you can fit in. There’s always room for one more…or two…or three! You definitely won’t regret it.
Tickets for these new screenings are on sale now.
Complete List of Added Screenings (Buy Tickets Here):
Wednesday 9 am Dutmers – “Walking Under Water“
Sunday 3 pm Milliken – “Still Life“
Check out the Northern Express’ oral history of the founding of the Traverse City Film Festival. Featuring first-hand accounts from festival founders and leaders including Michael Moore, John Robert Williams, Doug Stanton, and our executive director Deb Lake, discover just how the festival came to be. Proof that only the very best film festivals are founded over delicious complimentary olives!
Today, everyone can get tickets for the Traverse City Film Festival’s 10th Anniversary filmgoing spectacular!
By now you’ve seen the lineup, you’ve read about all the great movies, you’ve realized there’s no way you can see everything, and you’ve made peace with your schedule. Now, beginning at 11 am at the Main Box Office (201 E. Front, corner of Cass and Front) or by phone (231-242-FILM) — and online at 6 pm – all that’s left is to get your tix and start your TCFF10 adventure!
Today also marks the first chance ANYONE has to get FREE tickets to movies at our newest venue, The Buzz, home to some of the most interesting, intelligent, and inspiring movies of the festival, as well as our look back at some festival favorites from year’s past. The Buzz has five free movie screenings every festival day — film to the people!
And there’s still time to enter your name into our drawing to purchase tickets for Movies on a Boat. Just send one postcard or letter per film to TCFF Movies on a Boat, PO Box 4064, Traverse City MI 49685, or drop off your request at the Main Box Office. Please include the film title, your contact information, and your choice of one or two tickets. One entry per person, per film. Winners will be notified on Wednesday, July 23, so get your entries in now!
Thousands of film festival tickets are waiting to be snatched up today! We have sold many tickets to the Friends of the Film Festival — again setting a new ticket sales record, and we’ll be announcing new screenings in the coming week — but right now, there are still plenty of tickets for great films available! Here are a few of my favorites that I don’t want any of you to miss:
Dinosaur 13 - One of the best documentaries of the year — by far. It tells a story that will make your blood boil and your hair curl. Don’t miss it!
Ivory Tower - We’ve all been waiting for this film to be made, the one that rips the lid off the assault on our public post-secondary education system.
Lonesome - A stunning “lost” film from the silent era, you’ll be enchanted watching this love story from the 1920s. And once again we’re flying in from Boston the great Alloy Orchestra to play the score live. If you’ve missed this event in the past, this is the year to clear the decks and see a silent film with live music in one of Traverse City’s first silent movie houses.
Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere - If that title alone doesn’t draw you in to watch this murder-mystery doc, then I don’t know what to tell ya.
Summer of Blood - A whole new take on the vampire genre, this is a hilarious comedy about the Date from Hell. From what I can gather, just about every woman has dated this guy.
Sneak Preview: Stations of the Cross - This may just end up being the best film of the festival. True cinephiles must not miss this movie.
See you soon,
P.S. One more note: our Walk of Fame Auction launches tomorrow, Sunday, July 20, online at tcff.org/auction. But you can get ready today by previewing the eclectic lineup of the star-studded items (like a jacket worn by Jennifer Aniston) and local offerings (dinner for six in your home by Chef Guillaume of Bistro FouFou, anyone?) available in this 10th Anniversary fundraiser.
TCFF will be hosting a “Wizard of Oz”-themed costume contest during the Closing Night Bash! Prizes will be given out for first, second, and third place. The contest is for all ages, and costumes for any character from the film are welcome—not just the four seen below. Follow the yellow brick road to the Open Space at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 3rd for your chance to enter!
With the film festival fast approaching, it’s time to get pumped and start thinking about which life-changing film experiences you want under your belt. Consider, then, these two documentaries of critical acclaim: “The Internet’s Own Boy” and “The Case Against 8.”
“The Internet’s Own Boy” chronicles the life and death of programmer, hacker, and information activist Aaron Swartz. Swartz, known for his revolutionary programming prowess and drive for social justice, took his own life in the midst of a legal battle with the federal government for Internet-related crimes in 2013. “The Case Against 8″ gets a behind-the-scenes look at another hard-fought court struggle: the case to overturn California’s infamous ban on same-sex marriage. We’re excited to welcome directors Brian Knappenberger (“The Internet’s Own Boy”) and Ben Cotner (“The Case Against 8″) to the Traverse City Film Festival this year!
For a little preview, check out the Documentary Podcast by the team over at Detroit’s Freep Film Festival. They had the opportunity to chat with the directors. Knappenberger discusses what drew him to this story and how frustrating it was to receive minimal cooperation from the prosecution, particularly as to why they were determined to come down so hard on Swartz. Cotner and co-director Ryan White explain how they managed to add suspense to a documentary where the end result isn’t a surprise—they say it all comes down to great editing, and that one of the couples featured in the movie was actually on the edge of their seats watching their first day in court play out on-screen!
“The Internet’s Own Boy” and “The Case Against 8″ will be playing at the Old Town Playhouse and the City Opera House, respectively. The screening of “The Case Against 8″ will be followed by a Cinema Salon discussion at Clinch Park.
Every time I enter the State Theatre I feel six years old, when my cousin Kathy and I walked to the “show” and entered the cool darkness of the movie theater. We sat through the newsreel, cartoons, and the main feature—sometimes twice. Our small town had two theaters, both of them ornately appointed. Ushers escorted us to our seats, and the organist provided the sound track for our popcorn and Jujube feast.
Our own State Theatre is such a place. It first opened as the Lyric in 1916 when adults paid a quarter and kids paid a nickel to see the show. The State was destroyed by fire not once, but twice. Both times, it was resuscitated. But when multiplex theaters opened at the local malls in the late ’80s, the State closed its doors for good. Defeated by “progress,” the State sat empty on Front Street, its ghost haunting downtown Traverse City for over a decade. Then came a small group of visionaries with a penchant for a challenge, spearheaded by the founder of the Film Festival, Michael Moore. The State was about to be reborn. In November 2007, the grand opening of the State as a community-based art theater was celebrated by a premiere showing of The Kite Runner. Last year the State Theater was voted by USA Today as the best theater to “see a movie in splendor.” I love that!
I’m highlighting the State Theatre because truly it is the centerpiece around which the film festival has danced and continues to tango. I watched Christine Lahti and Jeff Daniels receive their awards out front, and Madonna and her daughter Lourdes getting out of a limo, walking the red carpet. I even had a selfie taken with one of my favorites, Susan Sarandon. So many talented and creative filmmakers, directors, producers, have allowed us to eavesdrop on their conversations at a morning panel, actors have been seen at our sidewalk sales or dining in a restaurant. We don’t bother them, other than a turned head or a stare and a whisper. (Okay, I probably had a glass of wine and asked Susan for that selfie with me.) I’m not ashamed to admit I have a twelve-year-old inner child who grew up in the days of movie idols, and she wants to see stars! Read More →