TCFF Trailer

Grab your popcorn, sit back, relax, and enjoy the trailer for TCFF 2016! The films have been picked, the schedule is up, and the festival is just one month away, so prepare yourself by getting a sneak peek at what’s to come at TCFF XII.  This year, we’re celebrating the fantastic work of female filmmakers, who make up only six percent of the film industry. Check out the trailer below to get you pumped for festival and all the “Just Great Movies” we have lined up!

Volunteer Profile: Karen Ardery

ScnlQHSjKaren Ardery is thrilled to volunteer for the festival again for the 12th time! Outside the festival you’ll find Karen working as a sales associate for Century 21. In previous festivals you’ve probably seen her running around lending a hand to anyone that needed it, and working as the Driver Manager to take beyond excellent care of our guests at the festival! It’s the incredible hospitality of volunteers like Karen that has given our festival an unparalleled reputation in the filmmaking world. 


What’s your favorite movie snack?

Popcorn at the State Theater, of course!

What advice would you give to new volunteers?

Have fun, get to know the other volunteers and try to find a venue or job that is a good fit for you.  There is lots of opportunity, within the ranks of the festival, so try different things, and go outside your comfort zone.

What do you think makes the festival stand out from other film festivals?  

Year after year, our visiting filmmakers tell us, it is the personalized service they receive from my drivers, festival volunteers and our community, which is very unique, as they do not get the “red carpet treatment” at other festivals.  Our drivers make sure each of our filmmakers are well taken care of, and that they get to their film screenings on time.  If our filmmakers want to do some sightseeing, or have dinner at a certain restaurant, drivers will try to arrange that for them as well.  Our guests are amazed at the number of volunteers, and how well organized the festival is.  They also comment on how friendly everyone is and how beautiful Traverse City is, as most of them have never been here before.  

Volunteers are the true superstars and superheroes of the festival. When their powers and talents combine, we are able to put on a festival unrivaled for its friendliness and hospitality. Get to know more about these impressive incognitos, read their insider tips, and consider joining our volunteer family.

Volunteer Profile: Gary Howe

Photographers Robert Bushway and Gary Howe pose during TCFF 2013City Commissioner Gary Howe is a volunteer photographer who’s been taking some of the festival’s most iconic pictures since day one (yes, all the amazing photos you see on our website and in our program are taken by our incredible volunteers!) A jack-of-all-trades, he’s also helped with social media, curating our amazing Flickr feed, and keeping the streets clean!


What’s the best part about volunteering for the festival?

Volunteering puts you in the mix and is a fun and interesting way to participate in the week. The volunteers are some of the best people you’ll ever meet, so the friendships created during the week are really special.

Photo by Gary Howe

Photo by Gary Howe

What is a movie that changed you?

“Beasts of a Southern Wild”

What advice would you give to new volunteers?

Stay flexible. Be useful. Help make it a great festival.

What’s your favorite movie snack?

I can devour a bag of Reece’s Pieces before the first line is uttered.

Photo by Gary Howe

Photo by Gary Howe

What is a must-do for a newbie at the TCFF?

Get a ticket for a Movie on a Boat. It’s a unique experience. 

Volunteers are the true superstars and superheroes of the festival. When their powers and talents combine, we are able to put on a festival unrivaled for its friendliness and hospitality. Get to know more about these impressive incognitos, read their insider tips, and consider joining our volunteer family.

Open Space People’s Choice Voting is Live!

19501636214_7b405ab277_b We are making our final decisions about what films will play at this year’s Traverse City Film Festival, July 26 – 31 — an epic year that will celebrate 100 years of moviegoing magic as we toast the State Theatre’s Centennial 1916-2016!

But one very important thing is still missing from our program…YOU. Each year we ask you to choose the film we show on Friday night at the Open Space. Michael has watched hundreds and hundreds of movies this year in order to bring you the best possible lineup of undiscovered gems from the world over, so if you could do him a solid and help pick one more, we sure would appreciate it!

20175124415_9a81da0d22_b2016 OPEN SPACE PEOPLE’S CHOICE VOTE

  • Clueless
  • Deep Impact
  • Shrek
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Twilight

Voting has ended – Shrek has won!

The winning film will be shown on Friday, July 29 on our giant 65-foot inflatable screen set against the beautiful Traverse City bayfront, the centerpiece of our gift to the community, the ever-popular, always-spectacular Open Space screenings. 

We hope to see you by the bay Tuesday, July 26 through Sunday, July 31 for music, entertainment, and fun beginning at 7 pm. Movies hit the screen at dusk. There’s no better place to gather with family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy summertime in glorious Northern Michigan than at our outdoor cinema under the stars. 

Results of the People’s Choice vote will be announced along with the full festival schedule on Friday, June 24. So vote now, and stay tuned!

Did You Hear? TCFF is the Coolest…Again!

We are thrilled to announce that the Traverse City Film Festival has again been named to MovieMaker Magazine‘s list of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World! Citing our warmth, energy, supportive atmosphere, and awesome offerings like movies on a boat, we join some pretty esteemed company! Read what MovieMaker had to say and see complete list here.


Now Playing: TCFF Doc Directors

The most recent edition of “The Documentary Podcast” for the Detroit Free Press features a special report on location at the Traverse City Film Festival. Listen below to hear interviews with “Deep Web” director and noted actor Alex Winter, “Do I Sound Gay?” director David Thorpe, and “Drunk Brilliant Stoned Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon” director Douglas Tirola.

Hosts Steve Byrne and Kathy Kieliszewski also discuss some other TCFF doc favorites including Founders Special Prize winner “The Wolfpack,” “From this Day Forward,” and “A Courtship.”

2015 Festival by the Numbers


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!