Presenting the 2015 Poster…And Your Chance to Win!

Whether it’s a tiny atomic change in your brain or a big bang in your heart, one great movie can change you.TCFF11-Poster_FINAL

And with that we are proud to present the official 2015 poster, created by our incredible volunteer Art Director Gabriel Augustine. If the poster sets the tone for the year, then we couldn’t be more excited for what 2015 has in store.

Click here to view a high-res version of the poster.

And while you’re taking in its beauty, wonder, and majesty, see if you can identify the hidden film and pop culture-related “easter eggs,” and then enter our contest.

Those who correctly identify the most easter eggs will be entered to win two tickets to the 2015 TCFF Opening Night Party and a copy of the poster. To enter, send your name, phone number, email address, and list of easter eggs to (Hint: There are at least 10.)

Happy hunting!

Voice Your Vote! Open Space People’s Choice


Last Year’s People’s Choice Winner: STAR WARS!

Grab some friends and a blanket, because our magical cinema under the stars will return once again to the Open Space this summer. And it wouldn’t be our free nightly movie series without our annual People’s Choice Night — the night we allow you, the people, to decide what’s shown on our 65-foot inflatable screen set against the beautiful Traverse City bayfront. 

Everyone has a favorite movie, a movie they return to again and again, year after year. Well, imagine getting to experience it like you’ve never seen it before! 

So let your voice be heard and help us pick what the community will come together to watch on Friday, July 31. This year’s choices include: “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” “The Breakfast Club,” “The Hunger Games,” “Poltergeist” (1982), “Say Anything…,” and “Zoolander.” Voters can also write in their own pick. 

Voting Has Now Closed. Stay Tuned for the Results!

The People’s Choice movie, along with all films to be shown at this year’s festival, will be announced on Friday, June 26. Open Space Park, on the corner of Union St. and Grandview Parkway, is one of Traverse City’s most beautiful and treasured public gathering spaces, an ideal venue to enjoy a free outdoor movie as well as the very best summertime fun Northern Michigan has to offer.

2015 Bumper Contest

The Traverse City Film Festival and its 11-year sponsor, FIM Group, invite filmmakers of all ages to submit to the sixth annual TCFF Bumper Contest for a chance to win cash prizes, including a Grand Prize of $1,000.

A wonderful opportunity for aspiring and enthusiastic filmmakers looking to strut their stuff, and a great summer vacation project, bumpers are 20 to 60 second short films designed to play before festival feature presentations. The top bumpers submitted to the contest will be shown on screen during the 11th Annual Traverse City Film Festival and the very best will be eligible for cash prizes, including the $1,000 Grand Prize.

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

For complete details about the contest, including the fine print, go to

Winners will be contacted after the jury makes their decisions, and will be announced in late July.

Here are the winners from last year’s contest!

Read more

Volunteer Manager Open House: Wednesday, June 24

14615748650_d76b558bc7_bThe Traverse City Film Festival is seeking awesome, fun-loving people to join our team as Volunteer  Managers for the 2015 festival! Please stop by our Volunteer Manager Open House on Wednesday, June 24 at 6 pm in the Basement Conference Rooms of the Park Place Hotel (300 E. State Street). We would love to meet you! If you can’t make it, please call 231-392-1134 or email Interested parties should also feel free to email in advance of the Open House. We would love to get you on board now! 

Why Be a Manager?

TCFF volunteer managers are the core of our amazingly talented, incredibly devoted, and super fun festival family. The festival couldn’t run without the many managers who spend part of their summer in the most beautiful place on earth working with the best team on planet. Friendships forged under fire last forever! Create something meaningful for the community, meet new people, spend time with friends and family, and gain invaluable experience. Help us put on the best festival in the world and have tons of fun along the way! For more information, please visit TCFF Volunteer Managers.

Open Positions:

We have roles and venues available to meet almost any interest and commitment level.

Volunteer Coordinator

Help us manage the 100s of incredible volunteers who come together each summer to create the ultimate celebration of cinema. In this position, you’ll get to know the amazing volunteers from around the area and world who make this all possible. Key duties include sending out mass communications to volunteers regarding upcoming events and shift/signup available and responding to volunteer email inquires with the assistance of an office intern. You’ll also be involved in helping place volunteers and managers in specific roles while keeping an eye on how shifts are filling up. Responsibility, organization,  great social skills, fantastic communication, a sense of adventure, and a commitment to your community are desired. 

Green Room Manager

Go behind-the-scenes and join our amazing hospitality team. Provide festival guests and visiting filmmakers with a comfortable and well-stocked green room for them to relax in before, during, and after their screenings. The Green Room manager is responsible for helping schedule green room volunteer attendants and coordinating the pickup and delivery of food and beverage across venues. Organization, friendliness, ability to read a situation, an eye for styling a space, and professionalism are key.  Read more

It’s Official: TCFF is the Coolest

Copy-2-of-Spread1-620x400Big thanks to MovieMaker Magazine for including us on their annual list of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” in the world! Citing the grandeur of our home venue, the State Theatre, our programming, and one of the world’s most unique moviegoing experiences, Movies of a Boat, we join the ranks of a very eclectic list that includes South by Southwest, Seattle International Film Festival, Sidewalk Film Festival, and Stanley Film Festival.

Find the complete list here.

For the Love of Film – TCFF10 Documentary

Experience the festival through the eyes of a talented group of budding filmmakers!

Each year, as part of the festival’s educational partnership with the Interlochen Arts Academy, the student Documentary Storytelling class works with a visiting TCFF filmmaker to create a short film about his or her festival journey.

This year, however, the class decided to mix things up, and in recognition of the fest’s 10th Anniversary the students put together a short film about the history of the TCFF. Featuring interviews with Michael Moore, executive director Deb Lake, and co-founder John Robert Williams, you can watch the doc in its entirety below.

Doc Podcast: Live from the TCFF

"Documentary Podcast" cohost Steve Byrne (left) speaks with doc programmer Thom Powers at the 2014 Traverse City Film Festival.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 TCFF moderator and leading documentary programmer Thom Powers (Toronto International Film Festival, Doc NYC), TCFF Founders Prize Special Award winner James Spione (“Silenced”), and director Orlando von Einsiedel (“Virunga”).

Hosts Steve Byrne and Kathy Kieliszewski also discuss the magic of the TCFF, some of their favorite films they saw at the festival, and other highlights from a week spent in movie lovers paradise.

TCFF10 Bumper Contest Winners

The Traverse City Film Festival and 10-year sponsor FIM Group proudly announce the winners of the 2014 Bumper Contest. In case you didn’t get a chance to catch them all when they played before the screenings at this year’s 10th Anniversary festival, you can watch them here.

First Place:
Colin Campbell

Second Place:
Paper Movies
Claire Holloway

Third Place:
Wash Your Hands
John Plough

Honorable Mention:
Corny Anniversary
Eve Hinz

Honorable Mention:
Whatever it Takes
Layne Austin Simescu

10 Years of Just Great TCFF Volunteers!

Take a bow — or take a nap — because you did it! 10 years of Just Great Movies, and we owe it all to you, our incredible volunteer army of love, now over 1,600 strong. 14822294433_c4b0bd32e3_o

In the 24,000+ hours you so generously donated to the film festival this year, you welcomed over 131,000 admissions across 12 venues at 250 screenings. You served over 10,000 popcorns, 15,000 drinks, 4,500 boxes of candy, and 1,800 sandwiches; shared the charm and beauty of Traverse City with over 110 filmmakers and guests from around the world; and opened two new venues — one of which wasn’t even on land!The Buzz TCFF 2014

We never tire of hearing the glowing reports from filmmakers, patrons, and guests about the amazing volunteers they encounter during festival, people who go above and beyond to make the TCFF experience everything it is. Answering the call when extra help was needed, offering a friendly high-five to visiting newbies, sharing your local know-how, and making our venues truly shine — you are the heart and soul of this festival, and everything that makes it so special that it’s become world renowned.

We also never tire of expressing our profound gratitude — there are just not enough ways for us to say that TCFF Volunteers are simply the best!

Popcorn Princesses!I hope you had a great time at the volunteer party and that you’ve been able to kick back and enjoy a well-deserved celebration. If you find yourself missing the festival, check out some of the things you may have missed while busy volunteering in the festival montage put together by our videography team, and the stellar photographs taken by Michael Poehlman, Gary Howe, and the rest of our world-class volunteer photographers.

As part of our ongoing effort to improve your volunteer experience, we’d love it if you would take a few minutes to complete this survey, or just hit reply and share your thoughts with us. We truly value your input as we prepare to take this festival into its second decade, and we want to hear from you.Movies!

Thank you again for — I know I’ve said it before, but it’s true — the best festival yet! We are beyond grateful for your smiles, unfailing commitment, amazing talents, laughter, and eagerness to pitch in and create something wonderful for our community. May the force be with you!

Year 10 is in the Can! TCFF Wraps with Awards, Broken Records, and Gratitude


Thank you for making the 10th Anniversary of the Traverse City Film Festival the best, most memorable, most awesome celebration of movies we’ve ever had.

Over 131,000 admissions attended 250 screenings of 128 feature films and 85 shorts in our 12 venues — including this year’s immensely popular new additions, Movies on a Boat and The Buzz (both of which you can count on returning next year)!

We also added Next, a cool interactive media exhibit at The Buzz; had a special “Best of” lineup at the Open Space; started things early with Movies Around the Bay; and hosted Movies Around the World, a memorable cinematic experience that found people in far-flung locales from China to Australia watching a film simultaneously across time zones, and interacting via internet hookup before and after the film.

Plus, we’re raising money for a Hollywood style Walk of Fame right outside the State Theatre. Bidding on the Walk of Fame auction ends at midnight TODAY, so head on over to and check out the great items, one-of-a-kind experiences, and steals before they disappear!

I would personally like to thank the 1,600 volunteers and volunteer managers, 110 filmmakers, and 300 sponsors who made this all possible — as well as everyone who attended the film festival and supported us over the past 10 years. Kudos also to:

  • Groundbreaking filmmaker Barbara Kopple, who accepted this year’s Mid-Life Achievement Award
  • Archivist Rick Prelinger and film industry veteran Ira Deutchman, who accepted our Visionary Awards.
  • Chaz Ebert, who presented “Life Itself,” the Founders Prize Special Award-winning documentary about her late husband Roger Ebert, and then joined me onstage at Mike’s Surprise.
  • All of this year’s award winners, including the first film in TCFF history to ever win the Founders Grand Prize for Best Film and the Audience Award for Best Documentary, “Meet the Patels.” See the full list of award winners here.

But even after such a banner year, we are not ones to rest on our laurels. We want your feedback on what you liked, what you didn’t, and what could be improved. Please take a moment to fill out this survey about your festival experience — it will help us more than you know!

If you are suffering from post-fest withdrawal like me, check out the incredible photos taken by our volunteer photographers and the annual festival montage. Both capture the enchanting spirit and force of moviegoing love you have helped create here in Traverse City over the past decade.

Now that we’re back to reality, the State and the Bijou will reopen on Thursday with “Chef,” “Le Chef,” and “Begin Again.” For those of you who missed it, the TCFF Closing Night film “Magic in the Moonlight” will open at the State on August 15. And for you Met Opera lovers out there, please note that tickets go on sale NEXT Friday, August 15. Check out the schedule here.

Thanks Again for 10 Great Years!

Michael Moore
President and Founder
Traverse City Film Festival