Traverse City Film Festival sets opening day, weekend box office recordNearly 40% of Entire Festival is Sold Out Within Hours.
In One Weekend, Advance Sales Surpass All Sales of Last Year's Entire Festival.
Traverse City, MI (July 11, 2006) - People may start to ask, "What does a place called 'Traverse City' have over a place called 'New York City?'" after this past weekend's amazing box office record set by a little northern Michigan film festival in only its second year.
The Traverse City Film Festival, founded and run by Oscar-winning director Michael Moore and slated to open July 31, sold out a higher percentage of its entire festival than any previous film festival handled by the festival's ticketing system vendor, synercom/edi.
"We've never seen anything like it -- it completely blew the roof off," said Arne Hermann, the president of synercom/edi inc., maker of the tix/SYS ticketing system which is used by over 30 festivals in North America, including New York's Tribeca Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival.
"No festival we've ever worked with has sold more than 14% of its entire festival on the opening day of box office sales," said Arne Hermann. "Traverse City sold a whopping 38% of its entire festival last Friday, in just a few hours, nearly triple the previous record!"
According to Hermann, most film festivals average sales of 10% of their festival tickets on the first day of sales.
"We simply had no idea that this would happen," said Hermann. "It truly is a testimony to this little film festival that has come from nowhere very fast. It says a lot about the type of program they've put together, the great list of films they've chosen and the trust the public has in the individual who has brought this festival to Traverse City."
By Monday afternoon, nearly 40 of the 82 screenings at the festival had sold out. But festival organizers said that there are still plenty of good seats left and that a majority of the films have two screenings scheduled.
"We are thrilled with the response we've had," said box office manager Bryn Lynch. "There are still many films that have tickets available, though I don't know for how long."
The line at the box office at Traverse City's historic State Theatre stretched down the block on Friday when tickets went on sale at noon. Many people had to wait in line for over three hours. "The line each day now is more manageable," said Lynch. "And online sales -- which is the best way to order tickets -- are still very brisk."
Moore founded the festival last year as a way, in his words, "to bring some of the best independent films I've seen to a wider audience." Moore and his volunteers were able to temporarily re-open the State Theatre after it was closed for nearly a decade. They will do the same again this year. Nearly 50,000 admissions were recorded last year at what was then just a four-day festival that was thrown together in less than three months.
This year, the festival runs for a full week, from July 31 to August 6. The highlight of the festival is a special tribute to the director Stanley Kubrick, with Malcolm McDowell ("A Clockwork Orange") and Matthew Modine ("Full Metal Jacket") in attendance. There will also be a special outdoor screening of "Dr. Strangelove" to close out the festival, along with outdoor screenings on the bay every night of the week. Last year, upward of 7,000 people a night came to free outdoor screenings. Forty-three of the festival's offerings are either Midwest, Michigan or northern Michigan premiers.
Other filmmakers attending the festival this year include Terry George, the director of "Hotel Rwanda;" David O. Russell, the director of "Three Kings;" Lawrence Bender, the producer of "Pulp Fiction" and "An Inconvenient Truth;"
Jeff Garlin, the co-star of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and director of "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With;" Larry Charles, former "Seinfeld" writer and director of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the new film "Borat;" and Jake
Kasdan, the director of "The TV Set." Filmmakers will also be coming from Italy, Great Britain, South Africa and Iran. They will introduce their films, answer questions afterwards, and participate in the festival's free daily panels.
Tickets to the films are just $7 each. They can be purchased online, by phone 231-929-1506 or in person at the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City from noon to 8pm, seven days a week. A full list of the films and other information can be found on the festival's web site, www.traversecityfilmfestival.org.
About the Traverse City Film Festival
The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable, educational, non-profit organization committed to showing "Just Great Movies" and helping to save one of America's few indigenous art forms - the cinema. In its second year, the Traverse City Film Festival has already become one of the biggest film festivals in the Midwest. With its 50,000 admissions in summer 2005, the festival pumped an estimated 5 million dollars into the local economy. Founded by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Michael Moore and co-founders, local photographer John Robert Williams and New York Times best selling author Doug Stanton, the festival brings films and filmmakers from around the world to northern Michigan, creating a level of excitement one local paper said was "the best thing to happen here since the Ice Age left us Lake Michigan."