2008 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL WRAPS WITH RECORD ATTENDANCE LEVELS
Traverse City, MI, August 8, 2008 -- The fourth annual Traverse City Film Festival adds another overwhelmingly successful event to the history of the young non-profit celebration of cinema, with over 80,000 admissions, a record 1,200 volunteers pitching in, a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the stage of the State Theatre from Madonna ("I Am Because We Are"), television legend Phil Donahue ("Body of War") walking away with the top two prizes, Oscar-winner Kurt Luedtke ("Out of Africa") finally being able to finish his Oscar acceptance speech some 23 years later (thanking his mentor, the late Sydney Pollack), and sell out screenings at most of the festival's 71 films.
Fifty-two filmmakers and their guests -- including Hollywood legend Stanley Donen ("Singin' in the Rain"), Eric Eisner ("Hamlet 2"), and Christopher Trumbo ("Trumbo") -- treated festivalgoers to question and answer sessions following screenings, not to mention numerous spontaneous gatherings around town after the movies. The festival also included 5 free film panels and 8 shorts, including student shorts.
"This certainly was the best festival yet," said festival founder and Oscar-winner Michael Moore. "I'm not quite sure how we're going to top it next year on our 5th anniversary, but I'm putting in an early request to Steven Spielberg."
This year's TCFF featured world premiere sneak previews of "Flash of Genius" starring Greg Kinnear, "Religulous," the controversial documentary directed by Larry Charles and starring Bill Maher, and the Midwest premieres of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Hamlet 2."
Persons spotted attending festival films included Focus Features president John Lyons, former Michigan governor William Milliken, former Michigan Senator Donald Riegle, actress Marlo Thomas, writer/director Elaine May, and Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls.
The festival will purchase copies of all 2008 films for the Traverse City, Suttons Bay, Helena Township, Northport, Elk Rapids, Kalkaska, Beulah, Bellaire, Leland and Lake Ann libraries, providing free public access to the movies for all. The festival will also award scholarships to high school students who plan to pursue film studies in college.
The festival's five free daily panel discussions with directors, producers, actors, and Hollywood insiders were packed, and more than 6,000 turned out nightly for the festival's free outdoor movies on Grand Traverse Bay, where "Singin' in the Rain," "Ghost Busters," and "Back to the Future" were shown. Downtown businesses again reported record sales for the week.
More than 350 local individuals and businesses rallied behind the festival to underwrite costs, including festival sponsor Fifth Third, founding sponsor the Herrington-Fitch Foundation, and sustaining sponsors FIM Group/Utopia Funds and Chateau Grand Traverse.
Festival award winners, announced during the closing night party, included:
Grand Jury Prize, Best Fiction Film "Captain Abu Raed"
Audience Award, Best Fiction Film "Captain Abu Raed"
Grand Jury Prize, Best Non-Fiction Film "Body of War"
Audience Award, Best Non-Fiction Film "Body of War"
Founders Prize "Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame"
Special Founders Prize "Profit motive and the whispering wind"
Firefighters Award for Excellence in Humor "Hamlet 2"
Best American Indie, Fiction Film "Frozen River"
Best Foreign Indie, Fiction Film "The Grocer's Son"
Michigan Film Incentive Award (Should Have Been Shot Here in TC) France's "Tell No One"
Funniest Fiction Feature (The Bamboozler Award) "Kenny"
Stanley Kubrick Prize for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking "Theater of War"
Best Storytelling, Fiction Film "The Pope's Toilet"
Best American Historical Document "Trouble the Water"
Special Jury Prize for Amazing Non-Fiction Film Construction "Bigger, Stronger, Faster*"
Special Jury Prize for Non-Fiction Filmmaking "Pray the Devil Back to Hell"
Best Non-Fiction Film by a New Filmmaker "The Youngest Candidate"
The fifth annual Traverse City Film Festival will be held from July 28 to August 2, 2009. For more information, please contact the Traverse City Film Festival office at 231-392- 1134 or visit www.traversecityfilmfest.org.
About the Traverse City Film Festival
The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable, educational, nonprofit organization committed to showing "Just Great Movies" and helping to save one of America's few indigenous art forms -- the cinema. The festival brings films and filmmakers from around the world to northern Michigan for the annual film festival in late July to early August, and also owns and operates a year-round, community-based, mission-driven art house movie theater, the State Theatre. The festival was founded by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, who runs the festival and serves as the President of the Board of Directors. The other board members are photographer John Robert Williams and New York Times best-selling author Doug Stanton, both Traverse Citians, and filmmakers Larry Charles (director, "Borat"), Terry George (director, "Hotel Rwanda"), Sabina Guzzanti (director, "Viva Zapatero!"), and Christine Lahti (actor, "Running on Empty").
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