Traverse City, Mich. (August 7, 2012) — The 2012 Traverse City Film Festival has wrapped up another groundbreaking year with more movies, more tickets, and more screenings than ever.
The six-day cinema celebration founded and run by filmmaker Michael Moore logged 91,000 admissions this year and a 15% increase in paid tickets sales. Local sponsorships were up 20%.
“We’re at a point now,” said Moore, “where we are going to have to add a new theater next year to accommodate the demand.” It will become the festival’s 8th venue where films are screened.
“This has most certainly been the best year yet,” Moore added. “Everything I’m hearing from people on the street is how smooth and exciting the festival was. It’s hard to find any complaints so I may have to come up with one just to keep things in balance.”
This year’s festival featured appearances by Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon, the acclaimed German auteur Wim Wenders, one of Hollywood’s largest grossing comedy directors Jay Roach (“Austin Powers,” “Meet the Parents”) and Michigan native, actress Kristen Bell with a sneak preview of her new movie “Hit & Run.” One of the biggest hits of the festival was Roach’s upcoming Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis political comedy, “The Campaign.”
Over 100 filmmakers attended with their films. They participated in free daily panel discussions and the festival’s week long “film school.” Also new this year was the Young Filmmakers Workshop for kids, ages 8-12.
Festival films from every continent except Antarctica were shown. In all, there were 93 features and 117 short films.
This year’s Life Achievement Award went to Academy Award-winner and five time Oscar nominee Susan Sarandon for her incredible achievements in film (she redubbed it the “Mid-Life” Achievement Award, and Michael Moore announced that this is what the award will be called from now on).
World-renowned German filmmaker Wim Wenders was presented with the Visionary Award, as the festival paid tribute to him by screening some of his greatest works. Animation pioneer Winsor McCay was honored with this year’s Michigan Filmmaker Award, which is given to Michigan natives for their contributions to the art of cinema. McCay’s grandson and legendary animator Bill Plympton were present to celebrate his legacy.
Festival board member Larry Charles presented a packed special screening of his latest film “The Dictator,” and another board member, Academy Award-winner Terry George, screened his new comedy “Whole Lotta Sole,” which sold out all three shows.
The top prize this year for Best Picture went to “5 Broken Cameras,” a personal and haunting look at life in a West Bank village as Palestinians attempt to use nonviolence against the violence being inflicted on them over the course of years by the Israeli army. The filmmaker, Emad Burnat, was in attendance. This is his first film. He is a farmer by trade.
Other awards included:
Special Founders Prize: “Margaret” – Kenneth Lonergan
The Kubrick Prize: “The Story of Film: An Odyssey” – Mark Cousins
Jury Prize for Best Foreign Film: “The World Before Her” – Nisha Pahuja
Special Jury Prize for Foreign Film: “The Flat” – Arnon Goldfinger
Jury Prize for Best American Film: “Bidder 70″ – Beth and George Gage
Special Jury Prize for American Film: “Detropia” – Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
Jury Prize for Best Film by a First Time Director: “Sexy Baby” – Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus
Special Jury Prize for a First Time Director: “Missed Connections” – Eric Kissack
Jury Prize for Best Short Film: “43,000 Feet” – Campbell Hooper
Special Jury Prize for Short Film: “Asad” – Bryan Buckley
The Audience Awards winners were:
“Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey”
1st Runner Up:
2nd First Runner Up:
“Big Boys Gone Bananas*”
The filmmakers visiting the festival included:
Susan Sarandon, Jake Schreier, and Cody Ryder (“Robot & Frank”)
Wim Wenders (“Wings of Desire”)
Jay Roach (“The Campaign”)
Kristen Bell (“Hit & Run”)
Larry Charles (“The Dictator”)
Terry George (“Whole Lotta Sole”)
Danny Bennett, Unjoo Moon, and Jennifer Lebeau (“The Zen of Bennett”)
Julia Reichert (“Growing Up Female”)
Bill Plympton (Winsor McCay Tribute)
Malik Bendjelloul and Sixto Rodriguez (“Searching for Sugar Man”)
Kevin Corrigan (“Supporting Characters,” “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” “The Dictator”)
Michael Raisler (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)
Emad Burnat and family (“5 Broken Cameras”)
Alison Klayman ( “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”)
Michael McSweeney (“Ashes of America”)
Beth and George Gage (“Bidder 70”)
Fredrik Gertten and Lincoln Bandlow (“Big Boys Gone Bananas!*”)
Alloy Orchestra (“Blackmail”)
Brenna Sanchez, Tom Putnam, and firefighters from Detroit’s Engine Company 50 (“BURN”)
Rebecca Richman Cohen (“Code of the West”)
Pat Healy (“Compliance”)
Craig Atkinson, Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, and Crystal Starr (“Detropia”)
Erik Nelson (“Dinotasia”)
Ramona S. Diaz and Capella Fahoome Brogden (“Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey”)
Benjamin Dickinson and Lindsay Burdge (“First Winter”)
Arnon Goldfinger (“The Flat”)
Ron Morales and Rebecca Lundgren (“Graceland”)
David France (“How To Survive a Plague”)
Josh Koury, Myles Kane, Troy Bernier, and Eric Swain (“Journey to Planet X”)
Tony D’Annunzio and Karl Rausch (“Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story”)
Eric Kissack, Lisa Rudin, Kenny Stevenson, Dorien Davies, and Shane Elliott (“Missed Connections”)
Alex Karpovsky (“Red Flag,” “Supporting Characters”)
Sean McAllister (“The Reluctant Revolutionary”)
Scott Thurman (“The Revisionaries”)
Grover Babcock and Blue Hadaegh (“Scenes of a Crime”)
Ronna Gradus, Jill Bauer, Winnifred Bonjean-Alpart and Jennifer Bonjean (“Sexy Baby”)
Chris Kenneally (“Side by Side”)
Bob Byington (“Somebody Up There Likes Me”)
Mark Cousins (“The Story of Film: An Odyssey”)
Craig Juntunen (“Stuck”)
Daniel Schechter (“Supporting Characters”)
Tamara Hardy, Thomas Martinez, and Gabrielle Nakai (“Up Heartbreak Hill”)
Brian Knappenberger (“We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists”)
Amie Williams, Brian Austin, and Melissa Austin (“We Are Wisconsin”)
Amy Berg (“West of Memphis”)
Nisha Pahuja (“The World Before Her”)
Bryn Mooser (“Baseball in the Time of Cholera”)
Catherine Murphy (“Maestra”)
Joanna Arnow (“Month One”)
Julia Bacha (“My Neighborhood”)
U of M student filmmakers (U of M Student Films)
Kevin Breslin (“#whilewewatch”)
Philip Lauri (“After the Factory”)
Sandi Bachom “My Occupy”
For more information on this year’s festival, please call 231-392-1134 or visit traversecityfilmfest.org.