New! MSU Kids Camps at TCFF

Michigan State University has a new exciting lineup of 2-day kids camps running during the festival! Enjoy some just great movies while your kids have fun and learn about the exciting world of filmmaking and game design. These two-day sessions are geared towards youth ages 12-16 and will run Thursday & Friday during the festival. Students in each camp will have the opportunity to create their own short films and digital games from scratch! Read more about these exciting offerings below.

Michigan State University Kids Camps 

Filmmaker Camp
What goes into making a movie? Throughout this session students will analyze the many different components that create a compelling film including storyline, acting, directing, camera, sound, and editing. In addition, specialized workshops in writing, acting, sound, and cinematography will inspire them to take their films to the next level. This two-day session will conclude with a short film created entirely by participants!

Instructors: Pete Johnston and Kirk Mason

Game Designer Camp
Throughout this session, students will explore the basics of digital game design and development. Topics covered include prototyping, playtesting, and balancing. Students will also learn about the process, tasks, and roles that come with game development while creating their very own digital game. This session will also give participants the chance to play and analyze current popular video games.

Instructors: Luke Kane and Jeremy Bond

Find more information on Kids Camps and other MSU activities at this year’s festival here.

Films for All

Whether you’re a music fanatic, a social activist, or just nostalgic for the 90s, there’s something for everyone at the 13th Traverse City Film Festival. We’ve created some groupings below to help you tailor your schedule and pick that one great movie that just might change you.

90’s Nostalgia

We’re throwing it back to the 90’s with a few of our old favorites, and some exciting newcomers. Catch up with your favorite childhood hero Bill Nye the Science Guy, laugh along with the ladies of “Landline,” and see a historical take on the LA Riots from a new perspective.

Movies for Music Maniacs

From starry-eyed show tunes to the Grateful Dead, these films cover a wide range of genres that are sure to make you want to sing and dance along.

Comedic Genius 

Serious movies got you feeling down? Want to laugh and feel good? Come to these funny films, and you’ll leave feeling light-hearted and happy.

Films for World Travelers

Satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your chair. These breathtaking films show you the world in a way you’ve never seen before, exploring cultural diversity, astounding scenery, and food from across the globe.

Females are Strong as Hell

The future is female, and we couldn’t agree more. Watch as these strong, independent, ass-kicking women take on the world in everything from step dancing to campaigning for mayor.

Films for the Environmental Activist

Explore land and sea from the perspective of farmers, scientists, and everyday people. While viewing these movies safe from the elements, you’ll gain a new appreciation for our shared homeland: the Earth.  

Human Health

Health as a science and an industry develops faster than almost every other field of study. Learn about diseases plaguing the population as well as the use of medical advances to push our human limits.

American Stories

America is a melting pot with a social fabric comprised of vastly different cultures and stories. Explore new American perspectives in these films which take you across our country, from Philly to Standing Rock.

Drones and Robots and Science, Oh My!

It’s a Brave New World with gadgets and gizmos galore. Technology  and 21st century breakthroughs are the common themes in these movies.

Films for History Buffs

Brush up on your history with these dramatic reenactments of past events, period pieces, and historical docs.

Movies in Michigan

The great state of Michigan has a lot to offer, including these films that were either made by Michiganders or focus on Michiganian themes.

New Screenings and a Film Added!

We promised to fill the blank TBA slots on the 13th annual Traverse City Film Festival schedule with movies you’ll love, and the day has finally come. We’ve added screenings of SOLD OUT festival favorites, plus we’re announcing the addition of a brand new film, an important documentary you won’t want to miss.

When public ticketing arrives Saturday (tomorrow), with the addition of the these new screenings tickets will now be available to nearly every TCFF XIII Official Selection. Check out more about availability here, and read on for the new details.


KING OF PEKING” – Saturday 7/22 9 am State
Our Friends asked for it, and they get it. The State is smaller than Lars Hockstad, so we’ve added a fifth Friends-Only screening to accommodate demand. Meet Big Wong and Little Wong in this endearing father and son story that’s also a love letter to cinema.

ELIAN” – Thursday 9 pm Kirkbride Hall at Grand Traverse Commons
The first screening of this film sold out in a flash, so we’ve added a second chance to hear a grown Elián Gonzales tell his own story about being torn between relatives in Miami and Cuba, years after he was rescued from the ocean at age five, clinging to an inner tube.

CITY OF GHOSTS” – Friday 12 noon State Theatre
After selling out two screenings, the definitive documentary about Syria, the one film you really must see about this great tragedy, is getting an additional screening at the State, with the director and subjects in person. A sure bet to be on the Best Documentary Oscar shortlist, “City of Ghosts” is a phenomenally powerful film not to be missed.

NOWHERE TO HIDE” – Saturday 12 noon Old Town Playhouse
Director Zaradasht Ahmed has endured an incredible travel ordeal in order to join us in person at his amazing film that has drawn critical raves. It gives us a rare opportunity to witness life in Iraq from the first-person perspective of Nori Sharif, a father and nurse caught in the crossfire of what is commonly referred to as the “triangle of death” in central Iraq’s Diyala Province.

12TH AND CLAIRMOUNT” – Sunday 9 pm Central High School Auditorium
The filmmaking team from Detroit will present their film about the complex causes and effects of the 1967 Uprising in Detroit, constructed from over 400 reels of donated home movies. It’s the perfect companion piece to our closing night film, Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit,” capturing the full spectrum of life in Detroit and the explosive tension still felt today.

ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE” – Sunday 9 am Central High School Auditorium
This debut documentary from TV news veteran Fred Peabody, which also features an appearance from TCFF’s very own Michael Moore, is an invigorating reminder about the vital importance of calling out the powerful, and giving voice to the powerless. It comes as no surprise that this is one of the hottest tickets at the festival, with both original screenings quickly selling out.

INAATE/SE/” – Saturday 12 noon Dutmers Theater
The Sundance Film Festival is bringing brother directors Adam and Zack Khalil to Traverse City for screenings of their experimental film that explores what it means to be a modern Ojibway. Focusing on their hometown of Sault Ste Marie in the Upper Peninsula, this imaginative, sensational investigation into the importance of tradition and the price of assimilation is beautiful and wholly original.

“King of Peking” – Friends Only Screening, Sat 7/22 9 am State
“Stranger Fruit” – Wed 6 pm State and Sun 6 pm Bijou by the Bay
“Elian” – Thu 9 pm Kirkbride Hall
“City of Ghosts” – Fri 12 noon State
“Nowhere to Hide” – Sat 12 noon Old Town Playhouse
“Inaate/Se/” – Sat 12 noon Dutmers
“All Governments Lie” – Sun 9 am Central High School Auditorium
“12th and Clairmount” – Sun 9 pm Central High School Auditorium

Tickets for these screenings and more are on sale now for Friends of the Festivalat or at the Main Box Office (121 E Front Street).

Public ticketing begins on Saturday, July 15 at 10 am at the Main Box Office, and 6 pm online. Plus, Around the Bay tickets are available now for everyone!

MyNorth Filmgoer Online Now!

Before, after and in-between all the incredible TCFF movies and events, there’s lots of fun to be had in and around our festival. And to guide you to all that fun is the MyNorth Filmgoer, from the folks who’ve been hard at work covering the best of our glorious region for 37 years, the staff at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine and

In addition to great movies, the TCFF brings you to Northern Michigan’s stunning vistas, shorelines and vineyards, dozens of farm to table restaurants with menus of great local foods and freshwater fish, and creative craft beer culture. And the MyNorth Filmgoer is a great guide to all the good stuff happening around the festival.

Check it out online now. Or pick up a copy at all the TCFF venues and theaters, with the handy MyNorth Filmgoer Pocket Guide inside.

Inside the MyNorth Filmgoer, you’ll find:

-What’s new at the Traverse City Film Fest?
-Q&A with TCFF special guest Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian for 50 years
-New Traverse City restaurants
-Traverse Magazine’s most popular places: the Red Hot Best Winners of Traverse City
-Traverse Magazine’s coveted restaurant guide
-Plus a list of wineries, distilleries and breweries

At the Traverse City Film Festival, we are year-round, active supporters of this community–it’s businesses and the natural resources that make this such a special place. We hope that you, too, will enjoy all our region has to offer at the TCFF and beyond.

TCFF Bike Share Powered by Norte!

There’s Uber, there’s AirBNB, and now there’s a new addition to the sharing economy craze: The TCFF Bike Share program. This year, we are partnering with Norte! to provide a bike share program (think NYC’s Citi Bike on a much smaller and more trusting scale) that relies on gently-used donated adult bikes which will provide easy, fun, and traffic-jam free transport from venue to venue. Watch this video and visit to find out more information!

Norte! Bike Share – TCFF 2017 from Traverse City Film Festival on Vimeo.

Friends Ticketing Opening Day

Last Sunday wasn’t just any old sunny morning in Downtown TC. As early as 10 pm the night before, film festival fanatics started lining up on the sidewalks outside of the State, eagerly awaiting the opening of the box office doors and the beginning of ticket sales for Friends of the Festival! With free popcorn and movie trailers playing over at the State, a spacious new box office at the Ecco Event Space, and interns in green hats everywhere you looked, the opening day of ticketing was one to remember.

Check out some of the reasons why hundreds of our closest Friends go crazy to get the first tickets of the festival below! And everyone can get their tickets to the films of TCFF XIII starting Saturday, July 15 at 10 am in person and 6 pm online.


Sold Out Screening? Fear Not!

A few of our films sold out quickly this past week during Friends Ticketing, but don’t fret! Many of these films have a second screening with tickets still available. We have also just added additional screenings of some of the festival’s biggest sellers and most in-demand titles (**). Everyone can get their shot at tickets to these films starting Saturday, July 15 at 10 am in person at the box office and at 6 pm online. Check out the list below:

The State Theatre
Long Strange Trip -Tuesday 11 am
City of Ghosts -Friday 12 noon**
The Young Karl Marx -Saturday 9 pm
The Chocolate Case -Sunday 9 pm

Bijou by the Bay
ACORN & The Firestorm – Saturday 9 am
Neruda -Sunday 9pm

City Opera House
The Salesman -Wednesday 9 am
One Week and a Day -Wednesday 9 pm
Mr. Long -Thursday 9 pm

Old Town Playhouse 
Nowhere to Hide -Saturday 12 noon**

Central High School 
Chasing Coral -Wednesday 9 am
Quest -Thursday 12 noon
I Am Not Your Negro -Thursday 9 pm
All Governments Lie -Sunday 9 am**
Pecking Order -Sunday 3 pm
12th and Clairmount -Sunday 9 pm**

Kirkbride at the Commons 
Elian -Thursday 9 pm**

After the Storm -Wednesday 9 am
Truman -Saturday 9 am
Icarus -Saturday 3 pm
The Oath -Saturday 9 pm

The Challenge -Wednesday 9 pm
Stockholm, My Love -Sunday 9 pm

Movies Around the Bay: 
Truman -Sunday July 16 7 pm @ The Lyric Theatre in Harbor Springs
The Hippopotamus -Tuesday 6 pm @ The Garden Theater in Frankfort
The Hippopotamus -Tuesday 9 pm @ The Garden Theater in Frankfort
Pecking Order -Wednesday 9 pm @ The Elk Rapids Cinema
Pecking Order -Wednesday 6 pm @ The Elk Rapids Cinema
The King’s Choice -Thursday 9 pm @ The Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay

The Festival Poster is Here!

What motivates 500 people to spend their Friday night sitting around in the State Theatre, getting their picture taken, and learning how to dab? Probably only their deep love and burgeoning excitement for the 13th Traverse City Film Festival (although we’re sure the free popcorn didn’t hurt!).

We are thrilled to announce the release of this year’s amazing poster, which focuses on both our appreciation for the dedicated movie lovers who bring so much life and joy to the festival and for the brave filmmakers who put their heart and soul onto the big screen, including those unable to join us in person to share their art.

We can’t wait to fill the State again in just a few short weeks—and we hope to see you there.

Click the poster to view it in high-res!




















Food on Film

Foodies and film lovers rejoice! Our Food on Film sidebar is back for its third year in a row, featuring Just Great Movies, just great food, and just great guests! The Food on Film event presents mouth watering documentaries that will make you want to munch on more than just movie popcorn. After the films, listen to candid conversations between the stars of Michigan’s food scene as you enjoy unique cuisine prepared by the chefs and inspired by the films. 

This year we have an amazing lineup of chefs from local restaurants around Traverse City, including Trattoria Stella, The Franklin, and local winery, Black Star Farms. This food meets film extravaganza is not to be missed!

This year’s Food on Film offerings are:

First Growth  -Friday, 3pm City Opera House:

Charlie is living the high life as a cosmopolitan wine critic at the heart of France’s epicurean scene. But he encounters a bitter dose of reality when he must return home to his family’s failing vineyard. As conflict brews with his gruff father, it seems this so-called expert may not know the first thing about winemaking. Charlie learns that getting back in touch with his roots may be the only path to success. Set in the stunning heart of Burgundy wine country, “First Growth” offers a compelling look inside the French wine industry.

New Chefs on the Block– After politics, the restaurant business might be the most brutal and cutthroat industry around: an estimated 30 percent of restaurants close within one year of opening. So when director Dustin Harrison-Atlas set out to document a chef opening his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, he wisely hedged his bets and fixed his cameras on two would-be D.C. restaurateurs: Aaron Silverman and his chic, high-end eatery called Rose’s Luxury, and Frank Linn, with his wood-fired brick oven pizzeria named Frankly…Pizza. The vast gulf between the style, design, and funding methods of the two chefs increases the drama as they both move from initial construction to opening night, and ultimately on to supreme success—or failure.

The participating chef is Andrea Deibler, Raduno.

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste –  Anthony Bourdain is pissed off. While that’s not unusual for Bourdain, this time his ire is directed at a righteous cause—one that’s likely to also outrage viewers of this essential documentary. The famed chef and TV host produces, narrates, and appears in “Wasted!,” a gripping examination of how $218 billion worth of food is thrown out every year. While it’s challenging enough to comprehend how 1.3 billion tons of food could possibly go to waste—just think of how many hungry people that could feed—what’s even more gut wrenching is that one-third of that food is thrown out before it even reaches anyone’s plate. While you’ll likely share Bourdain’s deep outrage by the end of this film, there’s also hope. Mindful chefs, including Mario Batali, and organizations are taking action against food waste, and this doc will show you how you can, too.

Special guests will include Mario Batali and Directors Anna Chai and Nari Kye.

Dinner in Abruzzo– Take a culinary journey through the Abruzzo region of Italy, known as the “greenest region of Europe,” with two of Detroit’s finest chefs. When Luciano DelSignore of Southfield’s Bacco Ristorante returns home for his cousin’s wedding and to cook for his family, he recalls what made him fall in love with the farm-to-table simplicity of Abruzzo culture. Along for the ride is James Rigato, DelSignore’s mentee and chef at renowned eateries The Root and Mabel Gray. As an Italian-American in Italy for the first time, Rigato learns as much about his own heritage as he does about cooking. In every way, “Dinner in Abruzzo” is a feast for the senses.

Special guests will include Director Mark Kurlyandchik, Chef Luciano DelSignore and Chef James Rigato

Knife Skills– Edwin’s Restaurant is determined to become one of America’s top French restaurants, with a staff unlike any other in the country. Brandon Edwin Chrostowski prepares to open his Cleveland, Ohio fine dining establishment with a staff composed nearly entirely of recently released prisoners in search of an opportunity to get their lives back on track. They sign up for a classical French food boot camp to learn the ins and outs of fine wine, sauces, and more. Inspiring and engaging, “Knife Skills” emphasizes the enriching and fundamental power of food to bring people together, regardless of circumstance or background.

Special guests will include Director Thomas Lennon, Brandon Chrostowski and Darwin Hailey.

Soul– Your senses will awake and your taste buds will be tantalized by this sumptuous documentary about two of the world’s greatest chefs. Japan’s Jiro Ono (“Jiro Dreams of Sushi”) and Spain’s Eneko Atxa of the three-Michelin-star restaurant Azurmendi may seem like they hail from two vastly different culinary worlds. But the master chefs share a deep respect for ingredients—particularly produce and fish—as well as a mutual reverence for local and national traditions. Ono and Axta are also well matched in kitchen skills, training, and knowledge. Serving up a hearty helping of beautifully shot food footage, the delectable “Soul” is a two-for-one special that will leave you craving more.

The participating chefs are Pete Peterson from Tapawingo and Myles Anton from Trattoria Stella.



Michael Moore’s Festival Picks