Movies about Michigan, made in Michigan, slated for this year’s Traverse City Film Festival
Returning to her home state, Hollywood superstar Kristen Bell will visit Traverse City to present a special sneak preview of her new film “Hit and Run.” The festival opens on July 31 with “Searching for Sugar Man,” a powerful documentary about a Detroit singer-songwriter whose music fueled an anti-apartheid movement a continent away. Detroit is beautifully showcased in the sweet “The Giant Mechanical Man” starring Jenna Fisher, and many other Michigan movies are scheduled for this year’s festival.
“What better place to showcase the drama and talent of Michigan than at the Traverse City Film Festival?” asks Michael Moore, Oscar-winning director and festival founder and programmer. “The festival’s mission is to entertain and enlighten, and this year, thanks to the best years of the film incentive program, we’ve got a lot of great Michigan-based movies that do just that.”
Directors and Detroit Natives Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady return to the TCFF for the second time after a very popular run with their documentary “Jesus Camp” at TCFF 2006. This time, they bring their film, “Detropia,” a poetic look at their hometown’s decline from thriving pillar of industry to embodiment of the nation’s recent economic decline. Detroit again takes center stage in “BURN,” a documentary about those who continue to fight for it: Detroit’s Engine Company 50 Firefighters.
Each year the film festival honors a Michigan filmmaker for their contributions to the art of cinema. This year the festival highlights the fact that two important genres of cinema were invented and pioneered by Michiganders: documentary (by the U.P.’s Robert “Nanook of the North” Flaherty), and animation — this year the festival pays posthumous tribute to Spring Lake-born Winsor McCay, the man who made the world’s first animated feature film and created “Little Nemo.” Animator Bill Plympton will present McCay’s work at the festival. Past recipients of the Michigan Filmmaker Award have included Jeff Daniels, Christine Lahti and John Hughes.
Filmmakers and industry professionals head to the City Opera House each morning to participate in our Film Industry Panels, always free and open to the public. Sharing their stories and taking questions from the audience, panelists participate in lively conversations you won’t see anywhere else. On Friday, the panel will focus on Michigan as the members of the Michigan Film Commission meet and hold a public meeting about the state of film in Michigan.
The 8th annual Traverse City Film Festival will take place July 31-August 5, 2012. Tickets are available by phone (231-929-3456) and walk up to our box office (at 125 Park Street) and online at traversecityfilmfest.org.
The full Festival Guide is available to view and download at traversecityfilmfest.org.