Bike, Stroll, and Caffeinate

This year we have partnered with Norte & Higher Grounds to bring the bike valet to the festival! Beat all of the traffic, bike and stroll to nearby venues, and even receive a coupon to Higher Grounds. Watch the video to learn a little more about Norte & Higher Grounds and how they’re contributing to the festival:

Dates/Times: July 27-31. Opens daily at 8 am. Closes at 11 pm. 

Location: Outside the Bijou.

How It Works:

1. Ride your bike down to the Bijou by the Bay

2. Give us your bike and we’ll give you one of our snazzy Pokemon turned valet stub. Put the Pokemon in your pocket. Don’t lose it.

3. Walk to your film venue. We’ll watch your bike. So have fun. Don’t worry.

4. Return to the valet. Give us your Pokemon. Get your bike back. Pedal on to your next adventure and give yourself a pat on the back for going by bike and making the TCFF a little bit more awesome.

#BikeTCFF #BikeandStroll

Mike’s Secret Gems


As this year’s Traverse City Film Festival draws closer with each passing day, it is my wish to highlight some of the most exquisite, artistic, hidden gems that will grace our venues’ screens. Just Great Movies come in all shapes and sizes and some of the best ones get overlooked sometimes. Each year, I send you all a note to make sure you don’t pass over certain films I’m extremely high on— films you may not have thought about or heard of, but ones I don’t want you to miss.

So here’s my first list of hidden gems you shouldn’t overlook:


brand_new_testament_1The Brand New Testament“: We all know about the Son of God. But I’ll bet you never heard of the Daughter of God. She’s a 10- year-old girl who lives in Brussels. A stinging satire on religion, patriarchy, and the world in which we live, this is the kind of film people used to picket. Ah, I miss the good old days. See this movie!


by_sidney_lumet_1By Sidney Lumet”: The best masterclass of cinema you’ll ever see in a movie, straight from the master himself, shortly before his death. He made “Network,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Serpico.” ‘Nuff said.  


c_word_1The C Word”: My producing partner in crime (and fellow Oscar nominee who made “Sicko” with me) has made the film on cancer that I’ve been hoping someone would make. This is it. Don’t miss it.


cameraperson_1Cameraperson”: Kirsten Johnson, who helped me shoot “Fahrenheit 9/11,” is considered one of the top DPs in the doc world. This is a fascinating look at her work and what it takes to make nonfiction films — a beautifully filmed essay I want you all to see. Plus, I’m in it. So you know it rocks! Hahaha.


censored_voices_1Censored Voices”: Get ready for your jaw to drop to the floor as you hear, for the first time, directly from Israeli soldiers about what they did to innocent Palestinians during the Six-Day War. A monumental piece of journalism and history, thanks in large part to Israeli author Amos Oz.


confusion_1Confusion”: Oh, I don’t want to give too much away about this one. Let’s just say it is high time someone made this movie about a Guantanamo detainee and the do-gooders who want to help him– until it becomes too much bother.


Disturbing1Disturbing the Peace”: The second of four Israeli films at this year’s festival, this one is about the efforts to bring together ex-Israeli soldiers with the Palestinians they used to round up, imprison, and restrict their freedoms. Joining us in TC will be the filmmaker and two of the film’s subjects — a profound moment for us to witness.  

houston_we_have_a_problem_newHouston, We Have a Problem!”: Here’s a movie that wants to seriously mess with you! Hahaha. Just say to your friend/spouse/neighbor — “Hey, at least once during this festival we should get effed with! Let’s go see this movie!”

i_am_belfast_1I Am Belfast”: Made by a TCFF board member and filmmaker extraordinaire Mark Cousins, this is one of the most beautiful and moving films I have seen in years. A poetic masterpiece, a cinematic essay of a town that has been bruised and beaten, this movie is filled with hope when it seems there should be none. Don’t miss this uplifting, mesmerizing piece of Irish cinema.


Kings of Kallstadt”: Possibly the funniest film in the festival, this is the true story of the German town that produced the Tump family. Everyone in the village today has something to say about The Donald. And then they decide to fly to New York to see if they can meet him. Couldn’t be more timely — and wait for the moment when, on camera, Trump learns that his grandfather was a deportee.


Kisses for My President”: Oh, please don’t miss this. Yes, it’s at midnight, but that’s only because it’s the Reefer Madness entry this year! This 1964 relic explores what would happen — OMG! — if a woman were elected president! Think of how hard that would be on her husband! Comedian Doug Benson, myself, and others are going to Mystery Schience Theater 3000 this baby live. Do NOT miss the most important laugh riot of this election year! You will say “I WAS THERE!”

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TCFF 2016 Centerpiece Screening Announced

THIS JUST IN — big news for the 2016 Traverse City Film Festival’s first day of ticketing:
Our Centerpiece Film this year on Friday night of the fest is the amazing new documentary by Oscar nominee Joe Berlinger (“Paradise Lost” Trilogy) entitled “Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru.” Joe will be with us in person, and to top it off…
Tony Robbins is coming to Traverse City! Live! In Person! With the movie!
LOWRESRobbins is an American superstar, counselor to world leaders, pundits, and celebrities. Now Joe Berlinger has made a film that takes us behind the scenes of Robbins’ mammoth seminar he calls “Date with Destiny.” 
There are 2,500 people in the room, and your eyes will be so glued to the screen, you will never think of the words “self-help” in the same way again.
Anticipating a large turnout, for the first time ever, we are going to hold two back-to-back Centerpiece screenings on the same night, July 29 — with Robbins appearing at both screenings.
This is a film that will shake you up, and you won’t even see it coming. It’s an unapologetic look at someone who seems to be a lot of people’s “self-help guru,” but is perhaps the kind of person we all need right now. It’s powerful — and not at all what you’d expect.
You can see me, Tony, Joe, AND this great film at two powerhouse screenings of this emotional concert of a film: 6 pm at the State Theatre, and 9 pm at Lars Hockstad. Check your cynicism at the door! Tickets are $25 and are available to Friends of the Film Festival today beginning at 6 pm online at
Please note: To accommodate these screenings, “My Blind Brother” at Lars at 9 pm on Friday has been moved to Friday, July 29 at 6 pm at the Old Town Playhouse. 
See you at the revival! 🙂
Michael Moore

Friends Ticketing Day is Underway!

The line for TCFF Friends ticketing this morning stretched down the block, around the corner, over the Cass Street bridge, and into the Chamber of Commerce parking lot! The excitement is real!

Note: It’s not too late to become a Friend if you want to nab your tickets early to the must-see films at this year’s fest. Just click here to become a Friend. Tickets go on sale to the public next Saturday, July 16. You can view this year’s 250+ film lineup here.

Meet the Interns!

Help us welcome our tenth full-time intern class! Festival’s only a few short weeks away and our interns are hard at work helping to prep for TCFF XII. They perform a variety of tasks critical to running the festival, gain valuable career experience, and spend their summer in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Seriously, we couldn’t do it without them! Here’s a look at this summer’s 19 full-time interns:

AbbeyAbbey Hull 

  1. Department: Office
  2. School: Northwestern Michigan College, Sophomore
  3. Play you in a movie: Lena Dunham
  4. Movie/scene in a movie that changed you: “Where to Invade Next”, did a project on it in English class and learned so much
  5. Sing at karaoke: “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Going to Clinch Park
  7. Biggest fear: Chimpanzees

AleahAleah Price

  1. Department: Office
  2. School: DePaul University, Freshman
  3. Play you in a movie: Greta Gerwig
  4. Movie/scene in a movie that changed you: “The Bicycle Thief, the montage of the father and son looking for the bike is very emotional
  5. Sing at karaoke: “Rich Girl” by Hall & Oats
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Avoid tourists
  7. Biggest fear: Brain Aneurysm


AnnaAnna Ludka

  1. Department: PR/Writing/Media/Website
  2. School: University of Michigan, Senior
  3. Play you in movie: Reese Witherspoon
  4. A movie/scene in a movie that changed you: “My Sister’s Keeper, it was a very emotional movie
  5. Sing at karaoke: “679 by Fetty Wap
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Shop
  7. Biggest Fear: Food that’s not on the kids menu

BrennaBrenna MacArthur

  1. Department: Parties and Events
  2. School: University of Michigan,  Junior
  3. Play you in a movie: Saoirse Ronan
  4. Movie/scene in a movie that changed you: “Braveheart, taught me some of my family history
  5. Sing at karaoke: “Brandy by Through the Looking Glass
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Go to the beach
  7. Biggest fear: The girl from “The Ring”

EmmaEmma Beauchamp

  1. Department: Food Donation Coordination
  2. School: University of Michigan, Alumna
  3. Play you in a movie: Audrey Tautou
  4. Movie/scene in a movie that changed you: Any Wes Anderson film, he puts such detail into his films it inspires me to be as detailed in all of my creative ventures
  5. Sing at karaoke: “Love on Top” by Beyonce
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Go to the beach
  7. Biggest fear: Heights

EmmaSEmma Steffen

  1. Department: Office
  2. School: Blake High School, Senior
  3. Play you in a movie: Aubrey Plaza
  4. Movie/scene  in a movie that changed you: “Harry Potter”, made me more interested in film
  5. Sing at karaoke: “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Hang out at Brew
  7. Biggest fear: Spiders

EricEric Schwartz

  1. Department: Graphic Design
  2. School: Michigan State University, Senior
  3. Play you in a movie:  Scott Adsit
  4. Movie/scene in movie that changed you: The scene from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” when Cameron is lying in bed sickly, I relate to that
  5. Sing at karaoke: “Build me up Buttercup” by The Foundations
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Eat samples at Cherry Republic, specifically hot cherry salsa
  7. Biggest fear: Mice

JoshJosh Bittick

  1. Department: Box Office
  2. School: Central Michigan University, Senior
  3. Play in movie: Miles Teller
  4. Movie/scene in movie that changed you: “Wayne’s World”, seeing how it made people laugh and happy I knew that’s what I wanted to do
  5. Sing at karaoke: “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Eat food
  7. Biggest fear: Losing the people I care about

KendallKendall Kotcher

  1. Department: PR/Writing/Media/Website
  2. School: Michigan State University, Alumna
  3. Play you in movie: Kristen Wiig
  4. A movie/scene in a movie that changed you: “Bridesmaids”, even at rock bottom there’s always a joke or a friend that can make things better
  5. Sing at karaoke: “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen  
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Walk along the bay
  7. Biggest fear: Being arrested for something I didn’t do

MaggieMaggie Marshall

  1. Department: PR/Writing/Media/Website
  2. School: University of Michigan, Alumna
  3. Play you in a movie: Natalie Dormer  
  4. A movie/scene in a movie that changed you: “Singin’ in the Rain,” I’d had a really bad day and that was the first time I realized movies had the power to take you somewhere else, even if it’s only for a few hours  
  5. Sing at karaoke: “Zombie” by the Cranberries
  6. Favorite thing to do downtown TC: Eat at Little Fleet
  7. Biggest fear: Bats

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The Buzz – New and Improved Location

The Buzz has a new location this year! We are leaving the InsideOut Gallery and buzzing on over to Central Grade School, located at 301 Seventh Street, just steps away from Lars Hockstad Auditorium.


Why the move?

Our great partner, InsideOut, gets to concentrate on their ongoing bar, art gallery, and special events. And we get so much more room for activities!!

Your experience at the new and improved Buzz will be better than ever before. There’s better air conditioning and better sight lines with the seats being put on risers. Plus! Concessions and merchandise will be available for purchase (because what’s a movie without a soda and snacks?).

dope_4brand_new_testament_4And the best part of all? All screenings at The Buzz remain entirely FREE and open to the public — one of our best ideas ever!

So check out The Buzz schedule and grab your free tickets online, in person, or over the phone. Tickets are available to Friends of the Film Festival on July 10 and to the general public starting July 16.

In case you’re unable to secure a ticket in advance, standby lines will form before each screening! Either way, we’ve got you covered with FREE tickets and an experience you won’t want to miss!

We’ll see you at The Buzz!

Film Teaser Party Packs

PrintBummed that you missed the TCFF Sneak Peek this past Sunday? Frustrated about so many great movie choices and don’t know what you want to see? Never fear, more sneak peeks are here for those brave enough to sneak through the State’s doors and witness a special TCFF teaser before the festival starts in a few weeks.  

There are two different trailer packs you can attend so that you don’t have to watch hours worth of trailers and miss something spectacular on your bathroom break. There is ONE more week to catch a FREE sneak peek of the films this year so stop on by to one or both of these party packs:

TCFF Trailer Party Pack 1
Saturday, July 9 at 1:00 pm
Wednesday, July 13 at 1:00 pm

TCFF Trailer Party Pack 2
Tuesday, July 12 at 3:30 pm
Thursday, July 14 at 6:00 pm

Trailers, Trailers, Trailers!

Aren’t able to make it to the TCFF Trailer Sneak Peeks at the State? Not a problem! Check out the links to some of TCFF’s most anticipated films below. The festival is only a few short weeks away, so start planning now!

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TCFF 2016 – A Certified Local Food Event!

We love to support the community; that’s why this year we’ve worked hard with Taste the Local Difference and Cherry Capital Foods to make the 2016 Traverse City Film Festival a certified local food event!

What does that mean?

In order for an event to be a certified local food event, 20% of the food must be sourced locally. 20% of the food at the parties and the green rooms are coming straight from local farmers!

The Sidebar: Food on Film

Taste the Local Difference is helping us bring back The Sidebar: Food on Film again this year with screenings and talkbacks with local chefs and farmers who have also prepared a treat inspired by the film for the audience to munch on!

Watch and Listen!

Watch this video with Tricia Phelps (Taste the Local Difference), Evan Smith (Cherry Capital Foods), and Jason Gollan (Tamarack Holdings) talk more about what they do and how they’re helping us support local farmers.

Volunteer Manager Open House: Monday, July 11

Dinosaur 13 at the State (photo by Alexa Hughes)With just less than a month until the 12th Annual Traverse City Film Festival, our volunteer interns and managers are busily preparing for this year’s festivities! It’s been said before, but it can never be said too often: the festival simply wouldn’t run without the hard work, dedication, and smiles of our volunteers. They are what have given us our unparalleled reputation and unique spirit, and we love them for it!

We are seeking dedicated individuals to take on very important roles as hospitality, sales, house, venue volunteer, and line assistant managers (Learn more about these specific roles here). Any and all of the information you’ll need can be found at our Volunteer Manager Open House on Monday, July 11 at 5:30 pm at the State Theatre!

And it wouldn’t be a TCFF event at the State Theatre without our world-famous complimentary popcorn and soda — just one of the many volunteer perks! Questions? Feel free to contact the festival office by email at or by phone 231-392-1134. We look forward to seeing your friendly faces at the Open House!