The Method and the Madness

Each summer the TCFF partners with Interlochen Arts Camp Documentary Film program to offer the students a unique behind-the-scenes look at the festival that gives them the chance to make their own mini doc about one the festival’s visiting filmmakers.

This year the students followed filmmakers Jeremy Royce and Jerry White Jr. as they premiered their film “20 Years of Madness.” Watch the final product below!

Participating students included: Shayna Kobrinetz, Max Mahoney, Nathan Ginter, Joji Baratelli, Sara Sammons, Gavin Koepke, Santiago Benito, Jeffrey Kemp.


Thank You for a Festival Filled with Passion, Humor, and 11th Hour Drama!


Thank you for being part of an amazing celebration of film in beautiful Downtown Traverse City! Whether you volunteered, attended a free panel, listened to music in Clinch Park, went to one of our parties, or watched as many films as your schedule allowed, you played an important role in the transformation this city undergoes for one magical week — a transformation that leaves it mark long after the last film comes off screen and we roll up the red carpet.

This year’s festival included some of the best films we’ve ever brought, and more filmmakers to share the stories of those films than ever before. Over 100,000 admissions attended 250 screenings of 123 feature films and 121 shorts across 13 different venues this year — record high numbers! 

Everyone I’ve spoken with has their own special moment from the festival — for me, it was being able to sit on the stage with the man from Detroit (Roger Corman) who discovered James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Jack Nicholson, and Francis Ford Coppola…and then be regaled with stories from Geraldine Chaplin about her and her father’s (Charlie Chaplin) careers…and then listen to Kathryn Altman, the widow of Robert Altman, discuss the making of “Nashville” after we showed it on the giant screen at the State. She said, “Thanks to your beautiful projection and screen, I saw things in the film I had never seen before.” Needless to say, I felt proud of the work we have all done to create one of the top cinemas in the world and have her experience this moment.  

We saw the return of festival favorites like Movies on a Boat, free movies all day and night at The Buzz, and Movies Around the Bay, now featuring the Cherry Bowl Drive-In of Honor! 

Our improved showcase of new media, rechristened “The Woz,” wowed people with its virtual reality technology like Oculus Rift and its interactive games like the world’s only 10 player arcade game, “Killer Queen.”

Our program also focused on a few new special areas including #Tween, The Sidebar: Food on Film, and a celebration of LGBTQ cinema — part of which included me officiating the first legal gay marriage on the stage of the State Theatre with a local couple, Derek and Brandon, on Closing Night! We’ve come a long way in TC since those controversial rainbow bumper stickers, eh?!  

We paid tribute to this year’s esteemed award winners, including Visionary winner Robert Altman, Michigan Filmmaker honoree Roger Corman, and Lifetime Achievement award winner Geraldine Chaplin. We also honored this year’s incredible class of films and filmmakers with Founders and Audience Awards, including our Grand Prize for Best Film, which went to the riveting “Listen to Me Marlon,” and the Audience Award for Best Documentary, which went to “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.”  You can read the full list of award winners here

And we couldn’t end our 11th year without a little 11th hour drama, which came in the form of a devastating storm that cancelled Sunday’s Closing Night Bash and our Open Space Screening of “The LEGO Movie.” I’d like to personally thank the amazing volunteers and world-class tech crew who reacted quickly to ensure everyone’s safety and got us back on track to make sure that we didn’t have to cancel any indoor screenings. 

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of the 3,000 volunteers who donated over 150,000 hours of time — during festival week alone! — to the festival this year. They make this festival possible for everyone, and give it its indelible, unique spirit. 

But even though the festival is over, it doesn’t mean the moviegoing has to stop. Join us at the State and Bijou this week to see the funniest and smartest romantic comedy in years, “Trainwreck,” the Brian Wilson biopic “Love & Mercy,” and one of the very hottest tickets at this year’s festival, Gillian Flynn’s “Dark Places,” starring Charlize Theron. 

And…you can always start planning for next year’s festival, July 26 – 31! (Please note the slightly earlier start date in 2016!)

Most important, please help support what we do here at the film festival by becoming a Friend. You can join for as little as $40. Even if you’re already a volunteer or a sponsor, your Friendship truly makes everything we do possible. If you believe in the Traverse City Film Festival and the good it can do for our area, and for the world of cinema that extends far beyond our borders, please vote with your membership. Just click here to join. (You’ll also get lots of great benefits — Friends get their tickets first!)

Finally, please complete our post-festival survey here. We really listen. Some of our best ideas come from YOU!

See you in 2016! 

Michael Moore

Relive the Magic: TCFF 2015 Closing Montage

Even though the festival is over, we are still creating ways for you to relive every great moment of it. Our great videography team edited this amazing closing montage that highlights all the fun that was had this week. Check it out!

2015 Bumpers

The Traverse City Film Festival and 11-year sponsor FIM Group proudly announce the winners of the 2015 Bumper Contest.

In addition to showing the winning entries before films, we also featured a series of “Acceptance” bumpers produced by the festival and made by festival IT Director Lars Kelto in recognition of this year’s focus on LGBTQ cinema.

So in case you didn’t get a chance to catch them all when they played, you can watch them all here.

Bumper Contest Winners

First Place:
Decision Time
Claire Holloway

Second Place:
Brian Steinberg

Read more

No Filter Necessary: Instagram Roundup 8/2

Check out some of the best Instagram photos from the last day of TCFF 2015 — keep sharing your own by using the #tcff hashtag or by tagging tcfilmfest!

Goodbye, Traverse City. It’s been grand. #puremichigan #tcff #traversecity #Michigan #sunset

A photo posted by Anya Bananya (@bananyastand) on

Our #Photobooth from last night. #tcff #lights and #magic #onegreatmovie #akp

A photo posted by michael stewart patrick kent (@allenkentphoto) on

Blowing bubbles @tcfilmfest yesterday. #noisecoveredindirt #tcff

A photo posted by Sarah C. Mulder (@sarah.c.m) on

Love these girls #TCFF #filmfestival #movies #parties #sassyladies

A photo posted by Susan Fisher (@susdotcom) on

Final film. #TCFF #tcmi @tcfilmfest

A photo posted by Abigail Phillips (@abbietc) on

#TCFF she gets it from her mom. You don’t mess with the women in my family

A video posted by Corey Adomaitis (@coreydaane) on

Special visit in the office today by the models of the #tcff 2010 poster! #justgreatmovies

A photo posted by Traverse City Film Festival (@tcfilmfest) on

No Filter Necessary: Instagram Roundup 8/1

Check out some of the best Instagram photos from the fourth day of TCFF 2015 — keep sharing your own by using the #tcff hashtag or by tagging tcfilmfest!

The Benson Interruption #tcff @tcfilmfest @youdontknowdoug A photo posted by Folgarelli’s Market (@folgarellis) on

Lake Michigan today. 🌊🌞⛵ #TraverseCity #PureMichigan #UpState #LakeMichigan #TCFF A photo posted by @aidanashleen25 on

Looking forward to a great night at the #tcff Filmmakers Part tonight.

A photo posted by Century 21 Northland (@c21northland) on

Field Of Dreams pose @govindaartelle #thewolfpackfilm #tcff

A photo posted by The Wolfpack (@thewolfpackfilm) on

Getting started on movie #13. #traversecityfilmfestival #tcff #TraverseCity #puremichigan A photo posted by Justin Hankins (@hankins) on

How could I not? #Lani loves it #DogBakery #traversecity A photo posted by Levei Lulabelle (@loveayye) on

Awesome kitty mask at #tcff #kidsfest A photo posted by @whimsypix on

A photo posted by @garrettsweet on

#TCFF #family #traversecity #filmfestival2015 #managersvolunteersTCFF #Family #traversecityfilmfestival #buzz #insideoutgallery

A photo posted by Pamela Bevelhymer (@pamelabevelhymer) on

2015 Award Winners

Michael Moore and our Board of Directors presented an array of awards to this year’s amazingly talent class of TCFF filmmakers and guests. Read the list of all of our Founders Award and Audience Award winners.

Opening Night Party


Audience Award Winner for Best Kids Short: “The Present

Audience Award Winner for Best Narrative Short: “Birthday

Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Short: “Naneek20058859628_8a6c83c5a3_o (1)

Audience Award Winner for Best Kids Film: “Fiddlesticks

Audience Award Runner Up for Best Foreign Film: “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Audience Award Winner for Best Foreign Film: “Tangerines

Audience Award Runner Up for Best American Film: “Learning to Drive

Audience Award Winner for Best American Film: “Kill the Messenger

Audience Award Runner Up for Best Documentary Film: “The Hunting Ground

Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Film: “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story


Founders Prize Special Mention Short Film: “Let Your Light Shine

20220606086_cb93253a8c_oFounders Prize for Best Narrative Short: “Discipline

Founders Prize for Best Documentary Short: “My Enemy, My Brother


Lifetime Achievement Award: Geraldine Chaplin

Visionary Award: Robert Altman

Michigan Filmmaker Award: Roger Corman

Discovery Award: Kaouther Ben Hania, “Challat of Tunis

Changemaker Award: Ross Caputi, “Fear Not the Path of Truth

Stuart J. Hollander Prize for Best Kids Film: “Fiddlesticks

Buzz Wilson Prize for Best Avant-Garde Film: “Journey to the West

Founders Prize Special Award: “7 Chinese Brothers

Founders Prize Special Award: “The Trials of Spring20252692871_6e7ae992e7_o

Founders Prize Special Award: “The Wolfpack

Founders Prize Special Award: “Roseanne for President!

Founders Prize Special Award: “The Armor of Light

Founders Prize Special Award: “Wild Tales

Founders Prize Special Award: “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Founders Prize Special Award: “The Last Five Years

Roger Ebert Prize for Best Film by a First Time Filmmaker: “T-Rex

Stanley Kubrick Award for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking: “Tangerine

Founders Prize for Best Documentary: “The Wanted 18

Founders Prize for Best Comedy: “Finders Keepers

Founders Prize for Best Drama: “Two Days, One Night

Founders Prize for Best Film: “Listen to Me Marlon


First Place: Great Lakes Bath & Body and Paperworks Studio20058859758_5d2e9f1984_o
Second Place: Toy Harbor
Third Place: Haystacks


First Place
Claire Holloway

Second Place
Brian Steinberg

Third Place
Mike DeRosa
THE KID AND HIS CITY20041295899_733eb86c3e_o (1)


No Filter Necessary: Instagram Roundup 7/31

Check out some of the best Instagram photos from the fourth day of TCFF 2015 — keep sharing your own by using the #tcff hashtag or by tagging tcfilmfest!

Are we in the Pirates Of The Caribbean or Michigan? #thewolfpackfilm #tcff

A photo posted by The Wolfpack (@thewolfpackfilm) on

Having this adventure tonight, no idea what we're seeing until he tells us. #tcff #rogercorman

A photo posted by Sarah Matthews (@blueeyedrobin) on

The perfect Friday night. #wine #cupcakes #TCFF #anniversaryparty

A photo posted by Ali Scott (@_aliscott) on

Movies. #traversecityfilmfestival #TCFF

A photo posted by @garrettsweet on

Friday night at #TCFF

A photo posted by Chris Hinze (@chinzedpt) on

TC Film Festival's outdoor movie theatre on West Bay. Tonight's movie – The Breakfast Club. #TC #TCFF

A photo posted by Randy Kopf (@randy_kopf) on

Final shots for Young Filmmakers claymation shorts, screening tomorrow @TCFF Lars Hockstad at 9:30am #claymation #artsed #TCFF

A photo posted by Blackbird Arts (@blackbird_arts_tc) on

"It's very Terrence Malick out here"- Narayana @TCFilmfest #thewolfpackfilm #tcff #cloverfields

A photo posted by The Wolfpack (@thewolfpackfilm) on

First movies, then racing. #Vroom #TCFF #TraverseCityFilmFest #TraverseCity500

A photo posted by Koz (@m1ghtycra5h) on

No Filter Necessary: Instagram Roundup 7/30

Check out some of the best Instagram photos from the third day of TCFF 2015 — keep sharing your own by using the #tcff hashtag or by tagging tcfilmfest!

Read more


Still thinking about volunteering? Or mulling over taking on some additional shifts? Check out these volunteer related updates and perks!


We are in awe of our amazing team of volunteers. We aren’t kidding when we say that this festival absolutely would not be possible without you! Even if you have time for one more shift, please sign up – we need you! If you have a few hours today, here are some Shifts That Need Some Love:


Answer Squad Riding Ambassadors: 9:30-11:59 pm 
City Opera House: 7:00- 11:30 pm
Dutmers: 7:30- 11:30 pm
Lars: 7:30- 11:30 pm
Milliken: 1:30- 5:00 pm
20118672561_e16f1bcd69_bMilliken: 7:30- 11:30 pm
Open Space Ushers: 6:30 pm- 12:30 am
Open Space Concessions Late: 8:00 pm- 12:30 am  
The Buzz: 1:30- 5:00 pm

Sign Up Here!

SWAG Shifts

In case you’re wondering, SWAG is an eclectic collection of objects we’ve collected from our travels, our sponsors, our friends, and the festival store. Each SWAG coupon you receive can be redeemed for one of these unique items at our Volunteer Party on Monday, August 3 at 6 pm.

19927428220_47a4001a81_bVolunteer Party

-We want to thank you, our hard working and dedicated team, for volunteering at our Volunteer Party on Monday, August 3 – 6-9 pm. Share stories about your favorite festival moments and enjoy food and beverages on us. Free with your volunteer credential on the lawn at the Village of Grand Traverse Commons. 

Please accept our most sincere thanks for getting the festival off to such an auspicious start. Stay hydrated, protect your skin, have fun, and keep making this an amazing festival!

Thank you!