Kon-Tiki: Six Guys in a Raft, Scary Sharks and a Whole Lot of Faith

Kon-Tiki PosterI had the opportunity and great privilege to see “Kon-Tiki” at the State Theatre today. It screened for the Traverse City Film Festival founders, and prior to the movie, Michael Moore noted that the audience was probably familiar with the story because we’d no doubt read the book … “if you’re old…”

That got a laugh, and I have to admit, that book was on my shelf the entire time I was growing up, but I’ve never actually read it. Upon returning home, I went on an archaeological dig through my books and it’s now sitting on my desk. I intend to read it. Especially after seeing the movie.

“Kon-Tiki” is based on a true story that follows the incredible story of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the Pacific ocean in a balsa wood raft in 1947, together with five men, to prove that South Americans – specifically, Peruvians – back in pre-Colombian times could have crossed the sea and settled on Polynesian islands.

It’s an amazing story that had me weeping with joy at times, clutching my bag in terror at other times, and marveling at the wonder of the human spirit.

It’s one of those films that’s a true collaborative effort – great directing by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, writing by Petter Skavlan and Allan Scott (who served as script consultant), original music by Johan Söderqvist, cinematographers Geir Hartly Andreassen, editors Per-Erik Eriksen and Martin Stoltz, and a knockout cast led by Pål Sverre Hagen, who played Thor Heyerdahl.

It won a slew of awards and was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year by both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.

Kon-Tiki

Still of Jakob Oftebro and Tobias Santelmann in “Kon-Tiki” | The Weinstein Co.

“Kon-Tiki” is not only the name of this film, it’s also the name of the book Michael Moore mentioned, written by Heyerdahl, as well as the raft itself. The name originates from the Inca sun god, Viracocha, for whom “Kon-Tiki” was said to be an old name.

Despite the fact that anthropologists – both in the 1940s and even modern day – do not believe that people from South America could have settled Polynesia, Heyerdahl’s faith in that concept never wavered. His goal in mounting the Kon-Tiki expedition was to show, by using only the materials and technologies available to those people at the time, that there were no technical reasons to prevent them from having done so.

The expedition carried some modern equipment, such as a radio, watches, charts, sextant, and metal knives, but Heyerdahl argued they were incidental to the purpose of proving that the raft itself could make the journey. In one scene in the movie, he tosses some metal wire into the sea, after crew mate Herman Watzinger (Anders Baasmo Christiansen) warns that the raft will fall apart because it’s absorbing water.

The film shows how unpredictable the ocean is, as the crew deals with storms, whales, and sharks that nearly turn the journey tragic more than once. But it also shows what a little faith and positive thinking will do, despite the fact that this crew was somewhat ill-prepared for the journey. Heyerdahl didn’t even know how to swim.

If you have a chance to see “Kon-Tiki” either at the film festival or somewhere down the line, I highly recommend it. Runtime is 118 minutes; rated PG-13 for a disturbing violence sequence. Watch the trailer and check out when and where it’s screening here.

Here are a few photos from a press event at North Cove Marina in NYC’s Battery Park City in April. Harvey Weinstein and “Kon-Tiki” directors Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, along with lead actor Pal Hagen, producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Petter Skavlan, and Olav Heyerdahl, Thor Heyerdahl’s grandson who sailed on the 2006 Tangaroa expedition, were all at the event.

Kon-Tiki Press Event

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 22: (L-R) Co-Director Joachim Roenning, the film subject’s grandson Olav Heyerdahl, screenwriter Petter Skavlan, actor Pal Hagen and co-director Espen Sandberg appear on the “Kon-Tiki” Raft for The Weinstein Company Movie “KON-TIKI” on April 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Kon-Tiki Press Event

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 22: (L-R) The film subject’s grandson Olav Heyerdahl, actor Pal Hagen, and screenwriter Petter Skavlan appear on the “Kon-Tiki” Raft for The Weinstein Company Movie “KON-TIKI” on April 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Ten Tips for Surviving a Film Festival

Traverse City Film Festival

Sure, participating in a film festival is a glorious celebration of the cinema, but seeing a ton of films within a few short days can also be challenging!

Whether this year’s 9th Annual Traverse City Film Festival is your first or your ninth, it’s good to remind ourselves of a few basic tips to help maintain our energy and sanity from the opening night film straight through to the closing night film.

1. See a variety of films. In your schedule, make room for films from each festival category, as well as both high-profile films and smaller hidden gems. Sometimes those smaller indie films are the ones that catch you completely off guard, the ones you’re still thinking about years later. I never would have guessed that 2006’s “The Lives of Others” would turn out to be one of my favorite films ever, but it always comes up when people ask about my favorite films (it won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film). And I saw it at the Traverse City Film Festival.

2. Mix up the film genres. Include a variety of genres, such as comedy, drama, foreign, and documentaries. That way, you’ll get a good mix of issue-oriented documentaries that make you want to go out and DO SOMETHING, and fun comedies you can just laugh at and be entertained. Check out the new TCFF app to help plan out your day and make things easier.

3. Leave space in your schedule to get from here to there. Sure, it’d be great if we could teleport ourselves from theater to theater, but since the “Star Trek” people haven’t quite figured that out yet, we still need to physically drive, bike, walk or take a shuttle to the next film. Leave buffer time in your schedule for traveling, standing in line, and extended Q&As.

4. Embrace the lines. After nine years, things run pretty smoothly at the film fest, but you’ll no doubt still stand in lines here and there. Use that time to re-group and connect with other filmgoers in line. Ask what films they’ve seen or are looking forward to. Are they from Traverse City or out of town? Is this their first film festival? There’s a whole subculture happening in the lines, so free yourself from line rage and make some new friends there.

5. Don’t abuse the buddy system. It’s ok to save a seat or two for friends who are running late, but try not to abuse it. There’s nothing more annoying for filmgoers than to be searching for a seat and see someone saving a whole row.

6. Don’t forget to eat. We’re fortunate that the film festival offers a good variety of healthy foods at the concessions – everything from tasty popcorn to sandwiches. Still, not a bad idea to toss a bottle of water and a protein bar or two into your bag at the beginning of the day, for those times when you haven’t followed Tip #3 and find yourself hurrying from film to film. We need that extra energy – both physical and brain energy – to absorb all those awesome films.

7. Know your limits. We want you getting to the end of the film festival without having to collapse for a week to recover. To thine own self be true – that is, know how many films each day are comfortable for you and try to stick within that, so you’re not completely burned out by the fest’s end. Then again, you might actually BE a superhero and able to see Every.Single.Film in this year’s fest. Then by all means, you go!

8. Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be walking and standing a lot. Don’t wear those Jimmy Choos with the 4-inch heels (even if they are the most amazing shoes ever). Comfort, people! No one cares if you’re wearing sneakers.

9. Assemble a “Film Festival Survival Kit.” Carry the biggest shoulder bag you’re comfortable with (a small to medium sized backpack works, too), and assemble a little kit that includes your phone’s car charger (and camera charger, if you have one), sunblock, band-aids, bottled water, sunglasses, hair-ties if you have long hair, the aforementioned protein bars, a festival guide, and a light windbreaker that you can ball up and stash in your bag for breezy days and cool theaters. Designate a spot to keep your tickets, so you don’t have to search through your bag at every venue.

10. Breathe. Carve out a few minutes each day to just take it all in. You’re in one of the most gorgeous places on the planet watching fantastic movies in beautiful venues. Life is good.

The Alloy Orchestra and a History of Silent Film Music

Alloy Orchestra

If you’ve never watched a classic silent film accompanied by live music, it’s an experience like no other. It’s like going back in time and heading into the future all at the same time. And it brings those great films to a whole new generation.

During the 9th Annual Traverse City Film Festival, you have the opportunity to experience it for yourself with festival regulars the Alloy Orchestra, accompanying Rupert Julian’s silent classic The Phantom of the Opera,” playing on Sunday, Aug. 4, 3:30 p.m. at the State Theatre.

Back when silent films first began, they almost always featured live music, starting with the pianist at the very first public projection of movies by the Lumière Brothers on Dec. 28, 1895 in Paris.

Small town and neighborhood movie theaters usually had a pianist, and beginning in the mid-1910s, large city theaters began featuring organists or ensembles of musicians. Massive theater organs, like the famous “Mighty Wurlitzer,” were designed to fill a gap between a simple piano soloist and a larger orchestra. Those organs had the capability of simulating a variety of sounds, from cymbals to rolling thunder to galloping horses.

The music for early silent films was either improvised or consisted of classical or theatrical repertory music. From there, it progressed to original music with cue sheets from the movie studios that included notes about effects and moods to watch for.

The first designated full blown score was composed by Camille Saint-Saëns, for 1908’s “The Assassination of the Duke of Guise,” and by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, for Stenka Razin. By 1915, when Joseph Carl Breil composed a mostly original score for D. W. Griffith’s groundbreaking epic “The Birth of a Nation,” it became somewhat common for big-budget films to arrive at the exhibiting theater with original scores.

Jump ahead to current day, and music is once again being composed specifically for those great classic films. Roger Ebert called Alloy Orchestra “the best in the world at accompanying silent films,” and we are very, very fortunate that they’re regulars at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Brigitte Helm in Metropolis

Brigitte Helm in “Metropolis” | Paramount

The group is composed of Terry Donahue (junk, accordion, musical saw, vocals), Ken Winokur (director, junk percussion and clarinet), and Roger Miller (keyboards).

Their impressive career began more than two decades ago on a snow-swept pedestal in the middle of Boston Commons, where they gathered together tons of junk metal, found objects, and homemade instruments. The goal was to create original music and have fun.

Now almost 22 years later, Alloy has showcased their musical magic in more than a thousand performances, visiting a dozen countries and helping to revitalize the medium of live performance for silent film.

In 1991, they wrote their first original score, for 1926’s Fritz Lang-directed film “Metropolis.” Since then, they’ve written scores for 28 feature length film presentations, including 1927’s “The Eagle,” starring Rudolph Valentino; 1922’s “Manslaughter, directed by Cecil B. Demille; and 1927’s “Underworld,” directed by Josef von Sternberg.

The Alloy Orchestra’s unusual combination of found percussion and state-of-the-art electronics gives them the ability to create any sound imaginable, from a French symphony to a simple German bar band of the 1920’s. The group can make the audience think it’s being attacked by tigers, contacted by radio signals from Mars, or swept up in the Russian Revolution.

In addition to the Traverse City Film Festival, the Alloy Orchestra has performed at the Telluride Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, Lincoln Center in New York, the Louvre, the National Gallery of Art, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and many more.

Be sure to catch this amazing group at the Traverse City Film Festival. Check out their web site and view video clips from their silent films at alloyorchestra.blip.tv.

Read more about the classic films playing at the 9th Annual Traverse City Film Festival.

Hollywood Sneak Preview “We’re the Millers” Joins the Traverse City Film Festival’s 2013 Lineup

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hollywood Sneak Preview “We’re the Millers” Joins the Traverse City Film Festival’s 2013 Lineup

Michigan Native Paul Feig to Introduce “The Heat” in Person and Accept Michigan Filmmaker Award

Additional Screenings of Sold Out Films Announced

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (July 26, 2013) — The ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), founded by Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore, has added twelve screenings to an already packed lineup. Along with additional screenings of sold out films, TCFF will host a special Hollywood Sneak Peek of upcoming blockbuster comedy “We’re the Millers.” Director Paul Feig will be bringing his latest film “The Heat,” while accepting the TCFF Michigan Filmmaker Award and Elaine Stritch will be honored with a reception.

“Tickets are flying out the door fast and we wanted to make sure that – along with additional screenings of some of the sold out films – we had some very special movies lined up to offer to our loyal and growing audience of film lovers here in Traverse City,” said founder Michael Moore.

TCFF audiences will be the first audience to see raucous comedy “We’re the Millers,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis and Emma Roberts, on Saturday, August 3. This very special Sneak Preview will be shown at TCFF anchor venue, the State Theatre, recently rated the number one movie theater in the world by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Joining this preview will be summer hit “The Heat,” directed by comedy genius Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Freaks and Geeks”), starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. Paul Feig, a Mount Clemens, Michigan native, will be at TCFF in person to accept the Michigan Filmmaker of the Year Award.

Also added to the lineup: two screenings of “Fruitvale Station,” one of the most discussed films of the summer. TCFF audiences will be the first in Northern Michigan to see and discuss this stunning, heartbreaking and timely film.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of TCFF Centerpiece Film “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” TCFF has added a reception to honor the Centerpiece film’s star, Elaine Stritch. Ms. Stritch will host a private party for special invited guests and 80 lucky TCFF patrons. Stritch, accompanied by her personal piano player and the film’s director Chiemi Karasawa, will entertain into the evening as guests enjoy gourmet cuisine and drinks provided by premiere Asian restaurant Red Ginger.

In response to record ticket sales – over 65 percent of tickets sold in ten days – eight of the year’s most popular films have been chosen for additional screenings. TCFF’s only film still to be announced will be the film chosen to break in TCFF’s brand new year-round venue during the Grand Debut of Bijou by the Bay. Stay tuned for that very exciting announcement.

Tickets for these newly announced films and events will go on sale today, Friday, July 26 at traversecityfilmfest.org, 231-929-FILM and at the TCFF Box Office at 128 Union St. above 7 Monks Taproom in downtown Traverse City, MI.

New screenings in the festival lineup are:

“7 Psychopaths”
Wednesday, July 31 at 12 noon, Old Town Playhouse

“Citizen Koch”
Wednesday, July 31 at 3 pm, Bijou by the Bay

“Wadjda”
Wednesday, July 31 at 6 pm, Dutmers Theater
Sunday, August 4 at 9 pm, Dutmers Theater

“Before Snowfall”
Wednesday, July 31 at 9 pm, Dutmers Theater

“Fruitvale Station”
Thursday, August 1 at 9 am, Milliken Auditorium
Saturday, August 3 at 9 pm, Lars Hockstad Auditorium

“The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology”
Thursday, August 1 at 3 pm, Dutmers Theater

“The Girl on the Train”
Thursday, August 1 at 9 pm, “Dutmers Theater”

“Kon-Tiki”
Friday, August 2 at 6 pm, Lars Hockstad Auditorium

“We’re the Millers”
Saturday, August 3 at 9 pm, State Theatre

“Propaganda”
Saturday, August 3 at 9 pm, Dutmers Theater

“The English Teacher”
Sunday, August 4 at 9 am, Lars Hockstad Auditorium

“The Heat”
Sunday, August 4 at 12 noon, Milliken Auditorium

TCFF will take place July 30 to August 4. For a full schedule please visit traversecityfilmfest.org.

Social: https://www.facebook.com/TCFilmFest or https://twitter.com/TCFF.

ABOUT THE TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable and educational non-profit organization founded by Academy Award-winning director and local resident Michael Moore, committed to showing “Just Great Movies” and to helping 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. The festival has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in the Midwest and one of the most respected in the country. The Festival operates the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay, as year-round, community-based, mission-driven and volunteer-staffed art house movie theaters. For more information, visit traversecityfilmfest.org.

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Bijou by the Bay: Be a Part of History!

Conrad H. Foster

Conrad H. Foster

You’ve no doubt heard about the Traverse City Film Festival‘s efforts to transform the Con Foster Museum, located in Clinch Park next to West Grand Traverse Bay, into a second year-round movie theater in downtown Traverse City. That’s awesome.

It’s not only an awesome addition to the area in terms of movies, but it pays homage to a great historical building and one of our first cinema leaders.

Who was Conrad H. Foster? 

Conrad H. Foster, who lived from 1875 to 1940, was actually the manager of the State Theatre, back when it was known as the Lyric Theatre. He was a great showman with a passion for movies who first brought “talkies” to northern Michigan.

He was also a civic leader, championing efforts to clean up the waterfront and establish Clinch Park, and serving as City Commissioner, Mayor and head of the Chamber of Commerce. To celebrate all that Foster had done for the city, the local Civil Works Administration had his name carved over the doorway of the museum without his knowledge. He no doubt would have loved seeing this grand building continue its long history with Traverse City, including its new mission to show Just Great Movies year-round.

Learn more about Conrad H. Foster here.

Bijou by the Bay: What’s in a Name? 

The Traverse City Film Festival is currently in the process of restoring the Con Foster Museum – originally built by President Roosevelt’s Civil Works Administration – with the same loving care and the same team that resurrected the State Theatre in 2007. Because the building sits on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, we’ve decided to call this new theater the “Bijou by the Bay.”

The Bijou (pronounced “BE-zhu,” the French word for “gem”) was a popular name for movie theaters in the 1930s and 1940s, and we think it fits this new venue splendidly.

Why Another Theater? Strength in Numbers

Plans are currently on track to have our Grand Opening of the Bijou by the Bay on July 29 — the night before the beginning of this year’s Traverse City Film Festival!

The Bijou by the Bay will not only be a unique place to see a great movie, but it’ll also make the State Theatre stronger. Right now, due to an old deed restriction, we currently can’t show any movie at the State Theatre that opens on more than 200 screens across the country. That lets out most of the big blockbuster movies.

But the Bijou doesn’t have that restriction, and having a second screen also means more foreign movies, documentaries, and hidden gems. Not to mention more possibilities for local groups and students. The possibilities are truly limitless.

Bijou by the Bay

Hard at work getting the Bijou by the Bay ready for the 9th Annual Traverse City Film Festival

Be Part of History 

Remember the excitement when we first started hearing that the State Theatre might be restored? The idea that such a magnificent movie palace could not only be restored, but be better than ever, was such a thrill – especially to those of us who saw movies there as kids.

Now we have that same excitement with the Bijou by the Bay, and here’s your chance to be part of history. Buzz Wilson and his family were the “angels” who wrote that first check to get the ball rolling on restoration of the State Theatre. The Milock family, Michael Moore, Kathleen Glynn, and four others joined in as matching angels, and the community brought us to the finish line by sponsoring seats and becoming members of our new theater. No tax dollars were used, and no big fundraising campaign was launched.

In order to bring the Bijou by the Bay to life, Richard and Diana Milock have again stepped forward to be our main financial angel, writing a donation check of a quarter million dollars, which is covering one-third of the renovation costs.

The other two-thirds? That’s where we come in. Click through the donation button below, or go to BijoubytheBay.org, where you’ll find more info and easy access to all donation options, including details about how you can contribute:

  • Make a quick, easy and secure online donation for any amount (and we mean any!).
  • Wish List Sponsorships, including the Marquee and Popcorn Machine.
  • $500 – Your dedication engraved on a brick outside the Bijou.
  • $1000 – Your dedication on a seat plaque inside the theater. The seats are just like the State Theatre seats, only blue. Remember that Michael picked those out himself because he wanted to make sure they were comfortable!
  • $5000 – A professionally made 24″ x 20″ photo of you and your guests under the marquee with your name and dedication in lights.
  • $10,000 – A private screening for you and your guests at the Bijou in 2014.
  • $50,000 – Permanently named on the building as a Founder of the Bijou.

Every dollar counts, so please contribute now to make sure this gem of a theater becomes a beloved addition to the community for many years. Also, hop over and “like” the Bijou by the Bay on Facebook to keep on top of news and announcements.

Film School: What the textbooks can’t teach you

Summer school can be a kids worst nightmare. But the Traverse City Film Festival Film School will make kids of all ages to want to be in a classroom. This is your chance to learn, develop, gain inspiration, and perfect your skills by the industries leading filmmakers. Being surrounded by other aspiring filmmakers excited and eager to learn creates a thrilling and insightful experience and environment. This is your opportunity to get the inside scoop, the background knowledge that a textbook will never teach you.

Classes begin Wednesday and end Saturday with two different classes at 12 noon and 3 pm. Wednesday at 12 noon kicks off the first day of film school with, “The 87 Dos and Don’ts of Make a Documentary Film That 10 Million People Will Want to See!” This class is lead by Academy-Award winning Filmmaker Michael Moore and a special guest will surely be worth it!

At 3 pm, director Tom Berninger and Producer Craig Charland, filmmakers from “Mistaken For Strangers,” will be leading this class, Mistaken For Filmmakers: The Making of “Mistaken For Strangers”.

On Thursday, 12 noon the “Advanced Audio Workshop” will take place. This class is perfect for filmmakers who want to use sound to put their films above the rest. The class is lead by Adam Forgione, the Audio Engineer of Pennylane Productions. Also, join us on Thursday at 3 pm, “Film School Confessions” lead by Jim Burnstein, Robert Rayher and the 2013 University of Michigan Student Filmmakers.

Friday at 12 noon, the class “Show Me The Money,” lead by filmmaker Terry George will take place. This class will give the inside scoop to what he looks for in a great producer. Friday, at 3 pm, “Considering the Screenplay as Literature” class will take place. Lead by the Instructor of Creative Writing and Motion Picture Arts at Interlochen Arts Academy, Lesley Alicia Tye.

Saturday, 12 noon will be “Acting for the Camera” lead by U of M professor Rober Rayher and Pamela Guest. At 3 pm the “TCFF Filmmaker Roundtable Answers Your Questions” includes an intimate session for you to ask your questions to our visiting filmmakers.

Wednesday and Thursday at 3 pm TCFF is offering the Young Filmmaker Workshop: Lights, Camera, Action! Claymation Animation (ages 8-11 years). This is your opportunity to make a short film that will be shown on Saturday before the kids film! Students will design and bring 3D claymation characters to life in this two day workshop.

TCFF film school is located at Scholars Hall on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College. Tickets are just $5 and can be purchased online at www.traversecityfilmfest.org or at the box office located at 128 S. Union St., above 7 Monks Taproom.

Classic Films Fete 100th Anniversary of State Theatre

Gold Diggers of 1933

Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell and Aline MacMahon of “Gold Diggers of 1933” | Warner Bros.

In 2016, the Traverse City Film Festival‘s anchor venue and movie palace, the gorgeous State Theatre, will celebrate 100 years of showing movies in downtown Traverse City. To mark the anniversary, we’re continuing our five-year pre-party with great films from the early days of cinema.

I was born in Traverse City (to cherry farmers, no less) and saw a lot of films at the State Theatre in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the Michigan Theater in the next block down Front Street. “The Love Bug,” “Pete’s Dragon,” and “Jaws” (the first movie where I remember actually jumping out of my seat) are just a few of the movies I saw at the State Theatre. During my high school years, some friends and I saw “Gone With the Wind” there. All 238 minutes of it.

The balcony was always closed during those years, which is no doubt why I always head straight to the balcony these days. Such a pleasure and a privilege.

During this year’s 9th Annual Traverse City Film Festival, we’re showing a couple of 100-year-old films from 1933, as well as films from 1913 and 1925. Even if you’ve seen these films before, nothing compares to seeing them on the big screen the way they’re meant to be seen. Be sure to work them into your film festival schedule. Here’s the rundown:

GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933)

Thurs., Aug. 1, 9 a.m., State Theatre; Sun., Aug. 4, 12 noon, Dutmers Theater (*Free screening at Dutmers)

This Oscar-nominated classic film is based on the play “The Gold Diggers” by Avery Hopwood, which ran for 282 performances on Broadway in 1919 and 1920. The story follows three chorus girls – fast-talking comedienne Trixie (Aline MacMahon), soulful songstress Carol (Joan Blondell), and perky ingenue Polly (Ruby Keeler) – who are searching for work during the Depression. Producer Barney Hopkins (Ned Sparks) stops by and says he’s preparing for a new show as soon as he gets the money to finance it. He hears the girls’ neighbor Brad (Dick Powell) playing the piano and invites him over.

Turns out Brad is a skilled singer/songwriter from a wealthy Boston family, and he and Polly end up engaged. Hijinks ensue as Brad’s brother (Warren William) and a lawyer named Peabody (Guy Kibbee) try to discourage him from marrying a common showgirl. Trixie and Carol turn their “gold digger” charm on these two elitist gentlemen who gradually begin to fall for them. The result is a rollicking fun film with an awesome soundtrack that includes “We’re in the Money,” “Shadow Waltz” and “Pettin’ in the Park.”

TRIVIA: Various people, including director Mervyn LeRoy and choreographer Busby Berkeley, have claimed credit for Ginger Rogers’ pig-Latin rendition of “We’re in the Money.” In her autobiography, Rogers gives the credit to then Warner Bros executive Darryl F. Zanuck.

SHE DONE HIM WRONG (1933)

She Done Him Wrong

Cary Grant and Mae West in “She Done Him Wrong” | Paramount

Thurs., Aug. 1, 12 noon, Dutmers Theater, *Free

This musical romance directed by Lowell Sherman stars Mae West (who also wrote the film, along with Harvey Thew and John Bright) as a New York singer and nightclub owner named Lady Lou.

She’s got more suitors than you can imagine, but unfortunately, one of them is a vicious criminal who’s escaped and is headed to see his girl, not realizing she hasn’t exactly been faithful in his absence. Help comes in the form of local temperance league leader Captain Cummings (a young Cary Grant).

TRIVIA: The movie’s line “Why don’t you come up some time and see me?” was voted as the #26 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1913)

Wed., July 31, 12 noon; Dutmers Theater, *Free

This big-budget disaster film was made in 1913. Think about that for a moment. 1913 – 100 years ago. It’s astounding to think about how the film industry has evolved in the past 100 years, and here’s your chance to see one of the first films on a big screen.

The sweeping Italian saga chronicles the final hours in the lives of a prominent statesman, a gorgeous woman, a pagan priest, a jealous witch, and a blind beggar before Mount Vesuvius unleashes her wrath on unsuspecting people below.

TRIVIA: Extras who are “killed” by falling debris during the explosion scene, either get back up or adjust themselves so they won’t be trampled by other extras.

Phantom of the Opera

Lon Chaney in “The Phantom of the Opera” | Universal

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (with Alloy Orchestra) (1925)

Sun., Aug. 4, 3:30 p.m., State Theatre

I’m begging you, DO NOT MISS this classic film, accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra, a group Roger Ebert called “the best in the world at accompanying silent films.” There really is nothing like experiencing it first-hand, and we’re happy Alloy comes back year after year to the Traverse City Film Festival.

An early classic of the horror genre, Rupert Julian’s silent film “The Phantom of the Opera” has been fascinating audiences for almost 90 years. We’re happy to present “Phantom,” starring the great Lon Chaney as a mad, disfigured composer seeking love with a young opera singer, on a lovingly restored and hand-tinted 35mm print.

TRIVIA: Lon Chaney reportedly put egg membrane on his eyeballs to give them a cloudy look.

*Free Screenings: This year, we’re making select movie screenings at the Bijou by the Bay and Dutmers Theater free for the public. Free tickets to these select screenings will be available at the Main Box Office at 128 S. Union Street, by phone or walk-up. Tickets to free screenings are not available online.

ELAINE STRICH, PAUL FEIG, MICHAEL STUHLBARG, BRIT MARLING, MICHAEL APTED, ROB EPSTEIN, LIANA LIBERATO TO HEADLINE 2013 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

Ninth Annual Traverse City Film Festival Brings Hollywood to Northern Michigan

Michael Moore to Host a Special Screening of “The Spectacular Now” at the Grand Opening of Bijou by the Bay

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (July 22, 2013) — The ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), founded by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, will welcome over 100 filmmakers and industry professionals as guests of the film festival this coming week, July 30 through August 4.

Paul Feig will be bringing his latest film “The Heat,” while accepting the TCFF Michigan Filmmaker Award. Elaine Stritch will be in person at the TCFF Centerpiece screening of “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” and host an exclusive reception to follow. Michael Stuhlbarg, Brit Marling, Rob Epstein and Michael Apted will join TCFF in person to introduce special screenings of festival favorites. Liana Liberato will be in person to accept the TCFF Discovery Award and introduce TCFF films “Trust” and “Erased.”

According to Michael Moore, “Our final screening has been announced! I’m very excited to be showing ‘The Spectacular Now.’ It’s the best romantic coming-of-age movie I’ve seen in years, and will easily go down as the “Say Anything” (John Cusak’s 1989 breakout hit) of this decade. Yes, it’s that good, and I’m so proud that we’ve been given the chance to host this premiere at OUR premiere!”

Moore will host the special screening of the film, starring Shailene Woodley and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, at the opening of TCFF’s new year-round movie theater, Bijou by the Bay. Directly following the screening Moore and sponsor, Chef Mario Batali, will host the fundraiser of the year with food, drinks and special guests, right on Grand Traverse Bay. Tickets to this event are still available. Announced this morning, a lottery drawing of 50 tickets at just $25 apiece will take place tomorrow. To sign up for the drawing, patrons can email bijougranddebut@traversecityfilmfest.org.

Three-time Emmy Award-winning Broadway legend, actress and comedienne Elaine Stritch, will be presenting TCFF’s Centerpiece screening, “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” alongside the film’s director, Chiemi Karasawa. The documentary follows the brash and brassy Stritch as she prepares for her latest club tour.

“I’m so excited to welcome the prolific and talented Elaine Stritch to Traverse City. She has had a truly remarkable life and, as you’ll see in the film, has been everywhere and done just about everything. It will be an honor to welcome her back to her home state of Michigan,” says Moore.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of the TCFF Centerpiece Film, TCFF has added a reception to honor Ms. Stritch. Stritch, accompanied by her personal piano player, will entertain special invited guests and 80 lucky TCFF patrons into the night. Gourmet cuisine and drinks will be provided by premiere Asian restaurant Red Ginger. Tickets to this event are still available.

This year’s Michigan Filmmaker Award will be presented to Director of hit films “Bridesmaids,” and cult series “Freaks and Geeks,” Mount Clemens-native Paul Feig, who will be in person to accept and introduce a special screening of summer hit “The Heat,” starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.

Actor Michael Stuhlbarg, whose credits include “Boardwalk Empire,” “Lincoln,” and the Cohen brothers’ “A Serious Man,” will be introducing both the dark comedy “Seven Psychopaths,” and the Opening Night film, Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” Additional screenings of both films have been announced due to overwhelming popularity.

Stuhlbarg joins a long list of talented and renowned filmmakers including Rob Epstein, who will be bringing both “Lovelace,” and “Battle for Amfar,” up-and-coming actress Liana Liberato, starring in two TCFF films and accepting the TCFF Discovery Award, Director Zal Batmangli and star Brit Marling (who recently appeared in “The Company You Keep,” currently playing at the number one rated State Theatre) to introduce their hit thriller “The East.”

Renowned British director Michael Aped will be in person with his groundbreaking “Up” documentary series. Beginning with “Seven Up!” each of the films will be screened for free at the Dutmers theatre. The latest installment, “56 Up,” will screen at the festival’s anchor venue, the State Theatre.

“We’ve never had a better list of filmmakers,” said Michael Moore, “So many filmmakers are eager to join us here in beautiful Northern Michigan, whether it’s because they’ve heard about our festival, our number one rated movie theater or the amazing audience of film lovers – everyone wants to come to TCFF!”

With more hidden gems this year than any before, TCFF is proud to host a number of World and North American premieres, as well as share smaller, unknown films that will surely go one to be this year’s “Waiting for Sugarman.”

Filmmaker Thomas Morgan’s film “Waiting for Mamu,” about 2102 CNN Hero of the Year award-winner Pushpa Basnet, who will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening, and Ky Dicken’s film, “Sole Survivors,” about the survivors of horrific plane crashes, recently acquired by CNN Films, will both have World Premieres at TCFF.

The smuggled North Korean film “Propaganda” will have its North American premiere at TCFF, with the Director in person to discuss this shocking and mesmerizing look at the impact the West on the rest of the world.

Many filmmakers will be returning to the festival for a second or third year. Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter will be returning with their film, “Girl on the Train,” Carl Deal and Tia Lessin will be showing their latest film “Citizen Koch,” and Bryn Mooser will be bringing his latest short “Rider and the Storm.” Filmmakers Bob Byington and Mark Cousins will join industry professionals Ira Deutchman and Thom Powers as Moderators of Panels, Q&As and Cinema Salons. Cousins will also be introducing two of his own films to the eager TCFF audience.

Also returning are Traverse City Film Festival board members Terry George, John Robert Williams and Rod Birleson. Founders Michael Moore and John Robert Williams join filmmaker Rod Birleson and Academy Award-winner Terry George in welcoming the local, state-wide, national and international audience of film lovers to this years TCFF.

The continuing list of filmmakers includes:

Mark Covino, Jeffrey Howlett and (“A Band Called Death”);
Patxo Telleria (“Bypass”);
Carl Deal, Brian Cunningham and Tia Lessin (“Citizen Koch”);
Rick Rowley and Jeremy Scahil (“Dirty Wars”);
Doug Benson and Graham Elwood (“Doug Loves Movies Podcast”);
Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (“The East”);
Chiemi Karasawa and Robert Bowman (“Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me”);
John Gianvito (“Far From Afghanistan”);
Dawn Porter (“Gideon’s Army”);
Jim Carpenter, Larry Brand and Rebecca Reynolds (“The Girl on the Train”);
Roger Ross Williams (“God Loves Uganda”);
Shosh Shlam (“Good Garbage”);
Nicholas Wrathall (“Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia”);
Robert Reich and Jacob Kornbluth (“Inequality for All”);
Robert Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (“Lovelace”);
Michel Poulette and Roseanne Supernault (“Maina”);
Tom Berninger, Craig Charland and Carin Besser (“Mistaken for Strangers”);
Markus Imhoof (“More Than Honey”);
Jordan Kenneth Kamp, Larisa Oleynik, Jeffrey Rosenberg and Spencer Houc (“Orenthal: The Musical”);
Robert Stone (“Pandora’s Promise”);
Terence Donahue, Roger Miller and Kenneth Winokur (“Phantom of the Opera”);
Slavko Martinov (“Propaganda”);
Stan Brock, Farihah Zaman and Jeff Reichert (“Remote Area Medical”);
David Darg and Bryn Mooser (“The Rider and the Storm”);
Ky Dickens, Alexis Jaworski, Kristen Kaza, Amy McIntyre and George Lamson (“Sole Survivor”);
Jane Gillooly (“Suitcase of Love and Shame”);
Laurie Collyer (“Sunlight Jr.”);
Cullen Hoback (“Terms and Conditions May Apply”);
Bill Siegel (“The Trials of Muhammad Ali”);
Kristina Borjesson and David Jakubovic (“TWA Flight 800”);
Patrick Moote (“UnHung Hero”);
Angela Bernhard Thomas, Thomas Morgan, Pushpa Basnet and Ali Sandler (“Waiting for Mamu”);
Robert Greenwald (“War on Whistleblowers”);
Steve Kochones and Joe Russo (“Who Shot Rock & Roll: The Film”);
Arvin Chen (“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”);
Lynne Sachs (“Your Day is My Night”).

TCFF will take place July 30 to August 4. For a full schedule please visit traversecityfilmfest.org.

Tickets for newly announced films and events are on sale at traversecityfilmfest.org, 231-929-FILM and at the TCFF Box Office at 128 Union St. above 7 Monks Taproom in downtown Traverse City, MI.

Social: https://www.facebook.com/TCFilmFest or https://twitter.com/TCFF.

ABOUT THE TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL
The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable and educational non-profit organization founded by Academy Award-winning director and local resident Michael Moore, committed to showing “Just Great Movies” and to helping 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. The festival has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in the Midwest and one of the most respected in the country. The Festival operates the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay, as year-round, community-based, mission-driven and volunteer-staffed art house movie theaters. For more information, visit traversecityfilmfest.org.

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The Traverse City Film Festival Announces a New Slate of Films for “Moviegoers on a Budget”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Traverse City Film Festival Announces a New Slate of Films for “Moviegoers on a Budget”

“Compliments of the Festival” Expands the Festival’s Lineup of Free Events “Affordable to Everyone”

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (July 21, 2013) — A series of free films are the newest addition to the lineup of the ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), founded by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore. Select movie screenings at the new Bijou by the Bay, and inside the Dennos Museum’s Dutmers Theater, will be offered free to the public.

“We want to make sure everyone in our state — especially those who are experiencing the fallout from the economic collapse — can be a participant in the Traverse City Film Festival,” said Moore, who also programs the festival. “The people have been having a hard time here in Michigan for far too long, so while somebody figures out what to do, everyone should at least be able to see some great movies, free of charge.

“And anyone who wants to see great movies, who wants take their families on vacation or just wants enjoy a night off, has the chance to do it here at the Traverse City Film Festival.”

Included in these screenings will be Michael Apted’s landmark documentary “7 Up” series. Apted will appear at the festival. Classic films “She Done Him Wrong,” “Gold Diggers of 1933” and “The Last Days of Pompeii” join documentaries “The Battle of amfAR,” “Waiting for Mamu” and “War on Whistleblowers.” And filmmaker Mark Cousins will introduce a special sneak screening of one of his films.

These new “Compliments of the Festival” screenings will join new free Evening Panels at the Cinema Salon in Clinch Park, and a “Newbie” Program for first-time festival attendees. Also new this year, TCFF invites the community and visitors to the first ever TCFF Closing Night Bash in Open Space. Free to the community, the event will feature a special screening of “The Princess Bride.” There will be live music, games and prizes, as well as “Just Desserts,” a variety of delectable confections and sweets available for purchase. Everyone is invited to join TCFF in Open Space park on Sunday, August 4 starting at 7 pm.

TCFF will also continue to offer the following free and affordable events:

*Open Space Movies: Hollywood hits projected on a 65-ft screen at dusk each night in Open Space, surrounded by Grand Traverse Bay.

*Morning Filmmaker Panels at the City Opera House: Join our visiting filmmakers as they share stories from Hollywood to New York, Berlin to Taiwan. The panel members mix it up with each other and the audience in sessions that range from the hilarious to the moving. Panels at the City Opera House are free and begin at 9:30 am daily, so you won’t miss lunch or your 12 noon movie.

*Cinema Salon: After specific 12 noon and 3 pm films, moviegoers and the general public are invited to gather in the Cinema Salon, located in Clinch Park near the new Bijou by the Bay theater, to talk about the movies.

*Kids Fest: After the $1 family movies at Lars Hockstad Auditorium, Wednesday-Saturday at 9:30 am, Kids Fest takes over the front lawn outside for games, arts and crafts, performances, sports, bubbles, music and much more. Bring the sunscreen and kids ready for fun — from 11 am to 2 pm, the entertainment is on us!

*Film School Classes: Returning this year to Scholars Hall at our sponsor Northwestern Michigan College, TCFF Film School offers twice-daily sessions Wednesday through Saturday, featuring visiting filmmakers and professionals sharing insights and experience with an audience of all ages. This year, TCFF board members Michael Moore and Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda”) will also each teach a class. More affordable than a textbook, tickets are just $5 per class.

*Music in Clinch Park: Enjoy free concerts by the best local, national and international musicians at our Music Stage on the patio overlooking the water and one of downtown Traverse City’s most popular beaches.

These free and affordable events are designed to say “thank you” to the community that works so hard to make TCFF the best possible festival experience, year after year. TCFF is a charitable non-profit organization that depends on the generosity of community volunteers, who run all areas of the festival and the “number-one-in-the-world” State Theatre.

“I think people have a real sense of ownership of this festival,” Moore says. “Every ticket our volunteers take is not just from someone going to the movies, but also from a stakeholder in this festival. We’re all founders. We all own the festival.”

For more information about the Traverse City Film Festival, ticket information and to receive updates on the 2013 lineup, visittraversecityfilmfest.org. Tickets are on sale now at our Main Box Office at 128 Union St., directly above 7 Monks Taproom in downtown Traverse City, by calling 231-929-FILM (3456), or by visiting
traversecityfilmfest.org.

Social: www.facebook.com/TCFilmFest or twitter.com/TCFF.

ABOUT THE TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL
The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable and educational non-profit organization founded by Academy Award-winning director and local resident Michael Moore, committed to showing “Just Great Movies” and to helping 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. The festival has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in the Midwest and one of the most respected in the country. The Festival operates the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay, as year-round, community-based, mission-driven and volunteer-staffed art house movie theaters.

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Tickets for Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival on Sale to the Public

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Tickets for Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival on Sale to the Public

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (July 19, 2013) — Beginning today, Saturday, July 20, tickets are on sale to the general public for the ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival, founded by Academy-Award winning director Michael Moore.

With over 150 films on the schedule, the 2013 Film Festival will once again celebrate the best of American and foreign cinema, kids and midnight movies, experimental films, shorts and documentaries of the year, and highlight “Under the Radar” gems. This year, the festival will also be debuting its newest venue, the Bijou by the Bay, which will act as a year-round sister screen to TCFF’s anchor venue, the State Theatre, recently rated the number one theater in the world by the Motion Picture Association of America.

“This year’s festival has the best lineup of films we’ve ever had, with tickets still available to almost everything — including the series of free films we are offering this year for the first time,” said Michael Moore, Founder of TCFF.

Along with continuing to offer the great programming and events of previous years, this year TCFF will be starting a festival “newbies” program, designed specifically for festival first-timers. The “newbie” program will help the newest TCFF moviegoers schedule their time and make their way around the festival and beautiful downtown Traverse City. Each new festivalgoer can pick up a folder filled with information about food, lodging, transportation and fun in Northern Michigan, as well as guide to how to get the most out of their TCFF experience.

Friends of the Traverse City Film Festival have had access to tickets since the morning of July 14 – almost one full week before public ticketing. While Friends ticketing has been strong in response to the spectacular selection of films – with over 40,000 tickets sold since Friends ticketing began – there are still tickets available to almost every film, with 12 added screenings to be announced shortly. Tickets are also available to popular festival parties and Film School sessions.

When tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friends Memberships for the 10th Anniversary 2014 Traverse City Film Festival will also be available for purchase at a discounted price. Along with advanced ticket sales, Friends of the Traverse City Film Festival memberships also include free tickets to the Friends Only Screening Party, and 50% off one ticket to the Opening Night Party or Filmmaker Party. Friends of the 2014 Traverse City Film Festival will have advanced access to the many events planned to celebrate 10 years of Just Great Movies.

Tickets are available today at the Film Festival Box Office, located at 128 S. Union Street, above 7 Monks Taproom in downtown Traverse City, MI, and by phone at 231-929-FILM (3456) starting at 11 am. Online ticketing will be beginning at 6 pm. For more information about the Traverse City Film Festival, visit www.traversecityfilmfest.org or 231.392.1134.

ABOUT THE TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable and educational non-profit organization founded by Academy Award-winning director and local resident Michael Moore, committed to showing “Just Great Movies” and to helping 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. The festival has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in the Midwest and one of the most respected in the country. The Festival operates the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay, as year-round, community-based, mission-driven and volunteer-staffed art house movie theaters. For more information, visit traversecityfilmfest.org.

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