Will Be Missed by All

After an incredible 13-year run, Deb Lake is stepping down as executive director of the Traverse City Film Festival.

“With sadness in our hearts and joy for her anticipated future success, Deb is moving on to other opportunities,” said film festival founder and President Michael Moore.

Lake has helped build with Moore what is considered by many filmmakers to be one of the best film festivals in the United States. Her legacy includes the restoration of the State Theatre, the opening of the Bijou by the Bay cinema, and service on numerous community projects.

“Words cannot express the deep gratitude we all feel toward Deb,” Moore said. “She has provided brilliant and dedicated service to this community. She is a modern-day arts pioneer, not just here in TC, but for all in the film world who know her and love her.”

Lake is looking forward to the next phase in her life and the good she can do. “The Traverse City Film Festival will always be the crown jewel of my life’s work,” said Lake. “I will be able to admire its success from here and from afar — but I plan to always be available to help Michael and the staff continue their amazing work.”

“I encourage all who are involved with the festival and the State and Bijou to redouble their efforts to make these cornerstones of our community even more successful than they already are,” Lake added.

Plans to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Deb Lake will be announced later.

“There’s no doubt, these are some mighty big shoes that are going to be filled,” said Moore. “Fortunately, she built a great core staff of smart, strong women (Susan Fisher, Meg Weichman, and others) who between them have nearly 20 years of festival experience. We are in very good hands for this transition, and, needless to say, I am here.”

Moore, who returned home to Traverse City last month after a successful run on Broadway, will personally oversee the transition and search for a new executive director.

“We have big plans for 2018 for the TCFF and the theaters and will be making some exciting changes to ensure the sustained longevity of what we have created here,” Moore said. “We are a critical piece of our local economy and the arts scene in general,” Moore added. “We take our responsibility for our role in Traverse City’s rebirth quite seriously. All of our work is about improving the quality of life for all here in Northern Michigan. We invite all like-minded people to join us.”

Meet the 2017 Interns!

Every year a phenomenal flock of college students takes over the Film Festival office for the months of June and July. From aspiring ornithologists to lobster bisque enthusiasts and film prep interns who really, really love Pulp Fiction, this year’s group is one for the books.

Sydney Rosen

“Yikes.”

School: Michigan State University
Internship position: Volunteer Coordinator/Internal Communications
Favorite movie quote: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” – Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
Dream job: Astronaut
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Memes,  bagels, memes.
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
My own Snapchat story.
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
Genovia from The Princess Diaries
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
I was a fashion icon from day one.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
I’d want a picture of an ear with Danny Devito whispering into it.

 

Sam Prue

“Sorry.”

School: St. Michael’s College
Internship position: Communications/Media
Favorite movie quote: “Into the garbage, fly boy.” – Princess Leia, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Dream job: Ornithologist
3 things you can’t live without: My skis, origami paper, my mom.
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
Say Yes to the Dress
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
Themyscira from Wonder Woman
What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
I’m an RA at my school, and when I was studying abroad all of my residents signed a card and sent it to me.
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
My bowl cut. It was not my fault.

 

“Doctor” Mary Kate Kemp

“Are you so excited?”

School: University of Michigan
Internship position: Kids Fest
Favorite movie quote: “A queen is never late, everyone else is simply early.”—Queen Clarisse Renaldi, The Princess Diaries
Dream job: Private Eye
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Water, guacamole, my dog.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
When I was in first grade I had a really huge crush on this guy and he was over at my house with my brother playing video games, and my version of flirting with him was putting Kraft Singles cheese on top of my head.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
13 Going on 30
Describe yourself as a dessert.
Sweet but a little nutty.

 

Matt Lehman

“I am a man of the people.”

School: Michigan State University
Internship position: Box Office
Favorite movie quote: “The duck may swim on the lake, but my daddy owns the lake.” – Trout Walker, Holes
Dream job: Either Oceanographer or Paleontologist
What is your greatest fear?
Fear itself. Or clowns.
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
500 Days of Summer
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
Jurassic Park. Because dinosaurs.
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
Short shorts and long socks
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Steve Buscemi. Probably like a full back tattoo. What a beautiful man.

 

Merek Alam

“Don’t worry about it.”

School: Alma College
Internship position: Post Production
Favorite movie quote: “Sing for me, Paolo.” – Isabella Parigi, The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Dream job: Working at Blockbuster Video or Filmmaker
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Oxygen, food, and my internal organs.
What is your greatest fear?
Alligators, crocodiles, brain hemorrhages.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
In an attempt to do parkour when I was 13, I shattered both my knees on the ground and I had to walk it off like it didn’t hurt.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Lobster bisque
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
Fedoras

 

Maks Muno

“Kachow.”

School/year: University of Michigan, senior
Internship position: Post Production
Favorite movie quote: “The name’s Mater, like ta-mater, but without the ta.” –Mater, Cars.
Dream job: Race Car Driver
What is your greatest fear?
That they’ll stop making sequels to the Cars movies.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
When I didn’t go to the midnight premiere of Cars 2.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Whipped cream.
Describe yourself as a dessert.
Whipped cream.
What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
When my girlfriend studied abroad, she gave me a box of letters that I could open periodically throughout the semester.

 

Megan Birleson

“This is a mess.”

School: University of Michigan
Internship position: Office Intern
Favorite movie quote: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” – Rhett Butler, Gone with the Wind
Dream job: Biographer
What is your greatest fear?
Being stranded on a desert island without my glasses.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I convinced everyone in my second grade class that I could speak Salamander. That was weird.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
“Gold Digger” by Kanye West
Describe yourself as a dessert.
Ice cream ‘cause I’m really cool. Probably mint chocolate chip.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Lil’ Sebastian from Parks and Rec.

 

Aleah Price

“Maybe?”

School: DePaul
Internship position: Assistant Office Manager
Favorite movie quote: “Ah, hon, ya got Arby’s all over me.” – Marge Gunderson, Fargo
Dream job: Museum Curator
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I shaved off half of my eyebrow and it took a year to grow back. My friend drew it back on for me though!
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
Golden Girls
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
Any Wes Anderson film.
Describe yourself as a dessert.
Half melted ice cream because I never feel like I’m that put together.
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
Jeans with dresses.

 

Adrienne Wolff

“Never not thinking about my next meal.”

School: Brown University
Internship position: Communications/Media
Favorite movie quote: “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”— Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz
Dream job: Editor in Chief of the New Yorker
What is your greatest fear?
Pigeons.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Sushi
What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My mom gave me life. Thank you Diane.

 

Chloe Alberta

“Do it for the novel.”

School: University of Michigan
Internship position: Communications/Media
Favorite movie quote:  “I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club    
Dream job: Movie Star
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
My cat, my Converse, my Fight Club movie poster.
What is your greatest fear?
Being mauled by a sloth.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
“Fergalicious” by Fergie
What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
When I was younger a boy at writing camp wrote this really sweet poem about me and read it to everyone around the campfire.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Steve Carell on my bicep saying “I understand nothing.”

 

McKenna Cartwright

“I know, right?”

School: University of Michigan
Internship position: Meg’s Girl Friday
Favorite movie quote: “That’ll do, Donkey, that’ll do.” – Shrek
Dream job: Casting Director
What is your greatest fear?
That I will be stuck living with my parents for the rest of my life.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
“I’m Gonna Be” by The Proclaimers
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
Australian Bachelor/Bachelorette
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
Gauchos
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow

 

Alexanna McKessy

“…oh god.”

School: Ferris State
Internship position: Music Management
Favorite movie quote: “Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” – Stitch, Lilo and Stitch
Dream job: Owning a music venue
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
My dog Burt, chocolate, and mac ‘n cheese with bread crumbles on top.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
“1985” by Bowling for Soup
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
Thor
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
Taking 70 percent of my hair and parting it to one side.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Nikki Sixx

 

Brooke Windsor

*Tina Belcher groan*

School: Ferris State
Internship position: Music Management
Favorite movie quote: “Brothers don’t shake hands. Brothers gotta hug.” – Tommy, Tommy Boy
Dream job: Music Festival Production
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
My dog Stella, the Game Show Network, and HGTV.
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
The Lorax 
What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My laundry was still in the dryer when I left for school and my roommate’s mom came to move him in, and when I came home she had folded it and left it in my room for me.
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
Pink corduroy overalls that matched my stuffed bunny.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Dave Grohl

 

Leandra Gill

“I’m no angel, but I’ve been winging it from the start.”

School: Ferris State
Internship position: Graphic Design
Favorite movie quote: “You know, there’s a million fine lookin’ women in the world dude. But they don’t all bring you lasagna at work. Most of them just cheat on you.” – Silent Bob, Clerks
Dream job: Wedding Planner
What is your greatest fear?
Answering questions on the spot.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
“Tiny Dancer” by Elton John
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Sweet Potatoes
Describe yourself as a dessert.
Saucy
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Christian Bale

 

Hannah Jo Maier

“A picture is worth a thousand words but I’ll leave you speechless.”

School: University of Michigan
Internship position: Event Planning    
Dream job: Documentary Filmmaker
Favorite movie quote: “Sometimes dead is better.” – Daddy, Pet Sematary
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Bandanas, hot tubs, books.
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
Rick & Morty
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
Singing in the Rain
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
In-N-Out French Fries
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
54-year-old Johnny Depp

 

Kate Schnepf

“More problems than Johnny Depp’s Yacht wifi.”

School: Boston University
Internship position: Film Prep
Favorite movie quote:  “There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. ‘The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.’ Now I been sayin’ that for years. And if you ever heard it … You’d be dead right now. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say to a mother before I popped a cap in his behind. But I saw something this mornin’ made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking: maybe it means you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here… he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous behind in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. And I’d like that. But that ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.” – Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction
Dream job: Photographer
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Doc Martens, scrunchies, and PB & J.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
“Country Roads” by John Denver
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
Pawnstars
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Nachos
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
John Heder

 

Maggie Foley

“Yeah, I’ve seen some stuff.”

School: Columbia University
Internship position: Film Prep
Favorite movie quote:  “Nice marmot.” – The Dude, The Big Lebowski
Dream job: Film Archivist
What are 3 things you can’t live without?  
The movie Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, eyeliner, and John Waters movies.
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
Pride and Prejudice
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Tacos
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
My glitter phase.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Janeane Garofalo

 

Alicia Hartz

“You do you.”

School: NYU
Internship position: Videography
Favorite movie quote: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” – Brody, Jaws
Dream job: Actress
What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Food, entertainment, an audience.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I misspelled the word color for way too long.
If you could live in the world of any film, which would you choose?
The Avengers
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
I wore these blue glasses that changed into sunglasses when they got into the sun but they changed blue, so I was just wearing these blue glasses that turned into blue sunglasses until like second grade. Like aqua transition lenses.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Beyoncé, always.

 

Abbey Hull

“Whoops.”

School: Michigan Tech
Internship position: Office and Festival Runner
Favorite movie quote: “There’s no place like home” – Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz
Dream job: Working at NASA
What is your greatest fear?
Bees
What is your most embarrassing moment?
When my dad told David Pointsett that I called him a fluffy white chicken.
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show?
Dirty Dancing
What childhood fashion choice do you wish you could take back?
I used to draw on my hair with Sharpie and it would get on my face.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
All the Beatles.

 

Nikole Davtyan

“I’m screaming.”

School: University of Michigan
Internship Position: VideographyDream job: Screenwriter/film director
Favorite movie quote: “Was he slow?” — Doc, Baby Driver
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I think every day is an embarrassment.
What is your go-to song for karaoke?
I’d rather just jump off a cliff. I don’t sing. At all.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Hot Cheetos
What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
One time on my birthday we were out at a restaurant celebrating and this random woman came up to me and gave me twenty dollars.
What celebrity’s face would you get tattooed on your body?
Harry Styles

Our Favorite Lars Kelto Shorts and Bumpers

We’ve talked about the tragic and unexpected passing of our dear festival friend and colleague, Lars Kelto. Lars was an essential part of our festival, State, and Bijou community, someone whose joy, laughter, genius, and talent played an immeasurable role in making the festival what it is today.

But even if you didn’t have the immense pleasure of knowing him personally, if you’ve ever been to the festival you’re no doubt familiar with some of his incredible work.

Among the many, many hats Lars wore at the festival was making the official TCFF-produced short films that run before festival films, known as bumpers. Lars’ brilliant filmmaking, writing, and editing skills also extended to  directing our annual bumper contest. He loved looking at the submissions each year and working with the winners to get their films on screen during the festival.

We hope this year’s crop of bumper submissions is the best and most entertaining yet. We’re looking for creative shorts that capture the spirit of the festival and Traverse City. So if you’re thinking about submitting and want to learn from the best, find examples of the humor, wit, and creativity Lars brought to the festival below. 

Please also consider kindly helping his family by donating to the Kelto Fund here.

Respect
2016

Acceptance
TCFF 2015

TCFF and You
TCFF 2007

State Theatre: An Inconvenient Trailer
State Theatre 2008

You Can’t See Everything
TCFF 2008

Fives
TCFF 2009

History
TCFF 2009

Addiction
TCFF 2009

Menzel Mendz It
2016 Rotary Show

Record-Eagle Parody Ad
2017 Rotary Show

Record Eagle Parody Ad 2
2017 Rotary Show

Date with Festiny
2017 Rotary Show – But Very Film Fest Appropriate!

 

2017 Volunteer Manager Open House

Want to be an essential part of one of the coolest film festivals in the country? Have a passion for working with people? Look good in a brightly-colored polo shirt? Join our elite crew of volunteer managers and get an inside look at the behind-the-scenes of the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival!

If you want to find out more, check out our Volunteer Manager Open Houses on Wednesday, June 21, or Wednesday, July 12 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the Old Town Playhouse. These Open Houses are geared toward assistant management positions, with opportunities available in hospitality, sales, house, venue, and line management. More information on each position can be found HERE. You’ll have the chance to meet and chat with our venue managers and get any questions answered so that you can figure out where you’ll be the best fit in our festival family.

 

Requirements for an assistant manager include availability to work 4-6 hours a day during festival week (July 25-30) , a love for fun work environments, new friends, and free SWAG, and the desire to impact your community in a positive and meaningful way. Can you imagine a better way to spend the hottest week of the summer that to be at the center of all the action? Let us know you’re interested by sending us an email at volunteer@tcff.org, or give the main office a call at (231) 392-1134.

So grab some friends, we’ll bring the food and refreshments, and come hang out with us at our Open House! We can’t wait to meet you.

TCFF is Back – and We Want Your Bumpers!

Summer’s here, which means we’re gearing up for another year of Just Great Movies at the 13th annual Traverse City Film Festival, taking place July 25-30th.

And there’s no better way to kick-off the season and start your countdown to the TCFF than strutting your filmmaking stuff and entering our Bumper Contest. You can even win CASH prizes!

The festival and our 13-year sponsor FIM Group invite you to submit to our eighth-annual contest, with prizes including a Grand Prize of $1,000.

Bumpers are 20 to 60 second short films designed to play before festival feature films.

Be creative. Be funny. Be original. Have fun, and entertain us! Talk about the TCFF experience and tell us a story. Get inventive, but just make sure it’s appropriate for pre-TCFF movie screenings. Movies about movies are great, parodies have been very successful, and animation is always welcome. Don’t forget that your Bumper will be shown on the big screen, so production values are important, too.

The festival is looking for creative pieces that capture the spirit of both the festival and Traverse City — its beauty and movie savvy. Let your imagination run wild.

Entries are due by July 6, 2017. For more information and the fine print, please visit our Bumper Contest page.

Want to submit? Here’s how:

  • Email bumpers@tcff.org.
  • Bring submission to the festival office at 233 E. Front St.
  • Mail submission to TCFF Bumpers, PO Box 4064, Traverse City MI 49685.

Need a better idea of what Bumpers are all about? Check out our 2016, 2015, and 2014 winning trailers.

MSU at TCFF Recap

Check out all the cool ways our education partner Michigan State University is involving students, faculty, alumni, and the community in the Traverse City Film Festival. From special student screenings to the programming at The Woz, MSU helps bring a variety of innovative work and new experiences (and even a special appearance by Sparty!) to the TCFF.

And the Winners Are…

27861477783_4bf19a1193_zWe’re pleased to announce the winners of our Friends of the Film Festival drawing!

Because they renewed or joined as Friends of the Film Festival before or on Sunday, July 31 the lucky people below were entered to win some fabulous prizes…and they won!

And get this, you can still become a winner yourself at the 2017 festival by becoming a Friend today. While you may not get a cool pass to the fest, all friends win by getting to buy their tickets a week before the public, can attend our exclusive Friends Screening Parties, and support the festival in a big way! Act now, because prices for Friends memberships double on September 1!

GRAND PRIZE – Festival Pass
Sara S.
Traverse City, MI

SECOND PRIZE – Festival Day Pass
Dennis B.
Birmingham, MI

THIRD PRIZE – Festival Popcorn Pass
Pat H.
Williamsburg, MI

Read This! Michael Moore’s 12-Year Project: How His Film Festival Changed a City

Indiewire28590072285_7c85850266_z‘s Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) visited the 2016 Traverse City Film Festival and sat down with our Founder, President, and Programmer Michael Moore. Read the interview and about her experience at this year’s festival below (originally published on August 4, 2016). 

Michael Moore’s 12-Year Project: How His Film Festival Changed a City
We sit down with the filmmaker, who has turned a sleepy resort town into a cultural oasis for sophisticated cinema.

By Anne Thompson

Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival is a welcome reminder of the power of film. Since 2005, he has slowly turned a conservative small town in Northwest Michigan — a four-hour drive away from any major city — into a community of ardent film enthusiasts. Not only that, but they are no longer quite as narrow-minded. Now there are decent restaurants on the main drag. Tourists flock in for the six-day summer festival (which this year ran July 26-31), which sells 130,000 tickets and generates more than $5 million dollars in commerce every year.

Over time, Moore has won over the residents of Traverse City, building their involvement in running his year-round arthouse the State Theatre, plus the mainstream Bijou (built in an old WPA building) and the annual festival, all of which are staffed by volunteers led by resident Deb Lake. They feed Traverse City audiences a steady diet of films foreign and domestic, gay and straight, feature and doc, long and short.

28636443745_c7e71c29f7_z

This year, Moore used TCFF XII to celebrate women filmmakers. Thirty-six women directed the U.S. narrative and documentary competition films. (Award-winners here.) And more women filmmakers turned up in other sections, from foreign to shorts to six films shown on the 65-foot screen at the nightly outdoor cinema the Open Space on Grand Traverse Bay, where you could also watch breezy night screenings on a slow-circling catamaran.

Flint, Michigan native Moore lives where his movies take him; he maintains apartments in New York and Traverse City, where the family of his ex-wife and one-time producer Kathleen Glynn summered for years. Moore, Glynn, and her daughter, now 36, continued the tradition.28552945256_f7a3f8b6bf_z

On opening night Moore called me up to the State stage to introduce Maya Forbes’ “Infinitely Polar Bear,” which he insisted on showcasing over the protests of his staff, who reminded him that the Mark Ruffalo dysfunctional family drama was already two years old and available on Netflix. But it’s his festival and local celebrity Moore can do what he wants.

Moore and I talked in the basement green room of the State Theatre as a film was in progress. Our conversation is on the next page.

Anne Thompson: How have you changed Traverse City?

Michael Moore: When I first got here it was a Republican town in a Republican county that voted for Bush. And when the Republicans in town heard I wanted to start a film festival here, they went ballistic and tried to get the City Commission to stop it. When they couldn’t, they organized an anti-Michael Moore film festival with about a dozen docs about me like “Michael Moore Hates America.” They rented a hotel here and had it run concurrently with my film fest. I said, “I don’t need this, why am I here?”

28656933255_3e77ee091b_z
How did you start the festival?

I had a lunch meeting with friends next door to the State Theatre in 2005 and unveiled the idea of doing a festival. I walked out of the lunch and looked at the boarded up theater: “We should do the festival here, who’s got a key?” Someone let me in, and right away I noticed there was no mold; it had been closed a decade or so.

So I found out the Rotary Club owned it here in town and planned a $9 million renovation: “You don’t need to spend that, give this to me. I’ll renovate it, I don’t want money, I’ll pay for it and get others to write checks. ” I called Deluxe in LA who paid for projectors, I consulted George Lucas, where I was doing a sound mix at Skywalker in Marin.

But it took a year and half for the Rotary to let me do it. They were convinced I’d be flying Fidel Castro in here. It took a while, I went to a lot of meetings here, sang songs and pledged allegiance. They got used to me, then they gave it to me to renovate. I set it up as a nonprofit that the community would own. We gutted the building, it had no balcony, no projection booth, no screen, the ratty old seats were thrown out. I went around and begged, borrowed, and stole and did it for $800,000 in six weeks. We opened in 2007.

We have sold a million and half tickets to a million and a half people. It’s 100 years old. It’s an arthouse theater because Carmike Theatres had the deed restriction on it that no film can be shown here, only live theatre. So [WME chief] Ari [Emmanuel] and I met with the people at Carmike, and modified it so that we can show anything opening on less than 200 screens. If “Lincoln” opens in NY and LA, I can show it. “X-Men?” No. That’s the Bijou. Read more

TCFF Photo Contest!

State Theatre, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Photo by Elizabeth Tiffany

All of the amazing photos you see across the festival and online are taken by are taken by our incredibly talented, undeniably brilliant team of photographers. And get this…they’re all VOLUNTEERS! To tip our hat at this awesome group of people (and make things a little more interesting), this year we held our first ever TCFF Photography Contest!

The winners were chosen for their cumulative ability to produce quality images across the three categories: Verticals, Venues, and Details. Images were based on submissions posted submitted during the festival and posted on the TCFF Flickr Page. Photography managers were not eligible (so a special thanks to Michael Poehlman and Gary Howe). 

  • First Place: Elizabeth Tiffany, $100 Gift Certificate to the State and Bijou
  • Second Place: Shayne Wyatt, $50 Gift Certificate to the State and Bijou
  • Third Place: Alexa Hughes, $25 Gift Certificate to the State and Bijou

Representative images from our winning photographer are below. And you can check out all these images and so, so much more on our Flickr!  

TCFF 12 Day 2 By Shane Wyatt

Photo by Shane Wyatt

TCFF 12 Day 2 By Shane Wyatt

Photo by Shane Wyatt

State Theatre, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Photo by Elizabeth Tiffany

Bijou, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Photo by Elizabeth Tiffany

We Made History!

Friends,

The 2016 Traverse City Film Festival is now one for the history books. We did something no mainstream festival has ever done in this country — have 100% of the films in the Official US Section of the festival (fiction and documentary) be from directors who happen to be women.28681775615_3f111d240f_o

This was not my original intent. I just wanted to try and even things out a bit, because only 4% of all the movies Hollywood makes are directed by women. This statistic blew my mind, so I made a commitment to myself to aggressively search for films women were making, films women were trying to make, and films women had made that were ignored. 

Once I widened the pool of possible films to consider to include as many films by women as men, I was confronted with a shocking discovery: women were making dozens and dozens of films under the radar, in spite of the system, often with little or no money — and those films were nothing short of outstanding! One after the other, over the past 12 months, I watched them and then I would sit there stunned, marveling at the beauty and intensity of these stories I knew I would never see at the multiplex.

By the end of my months of screening and selecting these films for you, I was a mixed bag of emotions: exhilarated by the genius works of art I was witnessing, sad that all of us have been cheated for so many years by being exposed only to the stories of white men, exhausted from viewing all or parts of over 500 films, and angry at the whole damn system that won’t let me see a masterpiece by a woman from Cambodia (“The Last Reel”) or by a black woman from Boston (“Infinitely Polar Bear”). But I’m lucky that I have the platform — this festival — to share these incredible films with someone. Like you. Thank you.

28593204592_9086f732b1_bI want every American to have the chance we all had this past week in Traverse City. Don’t you? Shouldn’t every town in America have a State Theatre? Shouldn’t every secretary and teacher and plumber have a chance to experience the wonderment and enchantment of the cinema as we do here, to see the batch of movies we all saw here this week? Why keep this as one of the country’s best kept secrets? Who wants to share our joy with others?

I do! And so that’s my mission, my takeaway from TCFF 2016. Bring TCFF to the world past Acme and Cedar and Fife Lake. And do it from right here in our little neck of the woods!

Soon I will be asking you to join with me and our board of directors in helping bring these great movies to our fellow Americans. In a time of such craziness amidst a national temperament of precious little civility, wouldn’t this be a nice thing for the nicest town I’ve ever lived in to do? If you agree, let me know. If you want to be part of this mission, I’d love a helping hand or two.

I have a few more things to ask you and tell you about, so I’ll do that in upcoming emails this month.

For now, hats off to everyone who made this such a great festival. I was moved by the many acts of kindness I witnessed. Most notably to me personally were the two separate business owners who walked out onto the sidewalk of the State Theatre after watching “Where To Invade Next” and decided to give their employees more weeks of paid vacation and extended paid maternity leave. When I heard this, I cried.

All my best,

Michael Moore