9th Traverse City Film Festival Wraps with More Sell Outs, More Movies, More Theaters, More Filmmakers and More Fun Than Ever Before

119,000 People Experience “Movies That Can Change You”

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. (August 5, 2013) — After six incredible days of “Just Great Movies,” the ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival has wrapped its biggest and best festival yet, smashing previous records with more admissions, more screenings, more sold out shows and several groundbreaking additions.

Sunday at Film FestivalThe six-day cinema celebration founded, programmed and run by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore welcomed over 119,000 admissions this year, an increase of 28,000 over last year. Festival wide, over 85 percent of available tickets were sold to 188 screenings, of which 123 were sold out!

Across 10 different venues, the festival presented 102 feature films, 52 shorts in seven programs, 10 film school sessions, 10 cinema salon outdoor movie discussions, seven free industry panels, seven parties and a podcast with comedian Doug Benson. TCFF brought 90 filmmakers from four continents to Northern Michigan to accompany their films.

“This year,” said Moore, “we worked harder than ever to provide a fun and affordable festival for everyone, no matter their budget. We want everyone to be able to enjoy just great movies in one of the most beautiful areas of the country.” Read more

Notes from Margaret Schaal a.k.a. ‘First in Line Girl’ on Day One of Ticket Sales

Margaret Schaal

Margaret Schaal, a.k.a. “First in Line Girl” at the screening of “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” | Jane Boursaw Photo

One of the great joys of the Traverse City Film Festival is running into friends I don’t get to see that often during the rest of the year.

When I learned that Margaret Schaal, an old friend from high school, was first in line on Day One of Ticket Sales, we (with guidance from film fest staffer Tia Shuyler) came up with the idea to gather some notes from her film festival experience this year.

Margaret said this was her first year of getting in line early, and Karen Gardner was her “first in line” buddy and kept her company through the night.

They got there in the wee, wee hours of the morning, although we decided not to reveal the exact time, because then it sets the bar higher and higher every year!

But “it was a nice night to camp out,” said Margaret, adding that the woman who was eighth in line this year also had that spot last year.

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TCFF 2013: All our photos!

Here’s 500+ photos from the 2013 Traverse City Film Festival. We hope you had as much fun as we did and can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

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Sign up to be a Friend of the Festival!

9400146917_a1ee928fec_oTCFF annual Friend memberships are 50% off from July 20 through September 1, 2013, so don’t delay. Renew or become a Friend of the Film Festival to take advantage of this discounted rate.

Your Friends membership support makes it possible for the festival to bring great films and filmmakers to Traverse City while keeping ticket prices affordable for the entire community.

And here’s the best benefit of all: become a Friend of the Film Festival and you get to buy your tickets to next year’s film festival a week before they go on sale to the general public. You also receive party discounts and tickets to the Friends only screenings at the 10th Anniversary 2014 festival!

Sign up here or pick up a form at the State Theatre today to become a Friend.

All Friends Benefits

  • Buy up to four tickets per time slot to next year’s festival ONE WEEK BEFORE the general public!
  • Two free tickets to each of the Friends Only Screening Party films.
Senior Friend $80 ($40 before September 1, 2013)
  • Membership for Seniors (65+) Please provide year of birth.
  • 50% off one ticket to the Opening Night Party or Filmmaker Party ($25 value)
Good Friend $120 ($60 before September 1, 2013)
  • 50% off one ticket to the Opening Night Party or Filmmaker Party ($25 value)
Family  Friend $240 ($120 before September 1, 2013)
  • 50% off two tickets to the Opening Night Party or Filmmaker Party ($25 value)
Special Friend $500
  • 50% off two tickets to the Opening Night Party or Filmmaker Party ($50 value)
  • $40 merchandise voucher for the Festival Store (redeem at the Main Festival Box Office, or call 231-392-1134 year-round for redemption)
True Friend $80 ($40 before September 1, 2013)
  • Two free tickets to the Opening Night Party or Filmmaker Party ($100 value)
  • $40 merchandise voucher for the Festival Store (redeem at the Main Festival Box Office, or call 231-392-1134 year-round for redemption)
  • A TCFF poster autographed by Michael Moore

TCFF 2013: Day 6 – ‘Mike’s Surprise’ and ‘Austenland’

Mike's Surprise

Michael Moore at Mike’s Surprise

Every year, we all wonder what Michael Moore will do for “Mike’s Surprise,” the annual mystery screening where anything could happen. Last year, we took a walk around the block. This year, Michael joked that we were going to get down and do 20 push-ups.

Instead, we got to see “Bowling for Columbine,” Michael’s 2002 documentary that explores the roots of America’s propensity for gun violence. Where does it come from? Why are we more violent the other countries? What are we afraid of?

When he announced what we’d be seeing, he joked, “We’ll pause now for people who want to get up and leave. ‘What? I’ve seen that movie three times. I’d rather be seeing a Korean film right now.'”

He added that we’d have a discussion about the film afterwards, and he hoped we’d all had lunch. “I’ll watch half the movie and then be cooking a big pot of chili out in the lobby,” he quipped.

After the Newtown, Connecticut shooting last year, Michael made an appearance on “Piers Morgan Live” and said it would be his last appearance anywhere to talk about gun violence.

“I said, ‘Don’t call me anymore.’ Because I knew [the violence] would keep happening, and I didn’t want to be the pundit to talk about the same thing over and over. I didn’t want to be the ‘killing expert’ for the rest of my life. I have nothing else to say on this issue.”

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That’s a Wrap!

9th Traverse City Film Festival Wraps with More Sell Outs, More Movies, More Theaters, More Filmmakers and More Fun Than Ever Before

119,000 People Experience “Movies That Can Change You”

TCFF Wrap-UpTRAVERSE CITY, MICH. (August 5, 2013) — After six incredible days of “Just Great Movies,” the ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival has wrapped its biggest and best festival yet, smashing previous records with more admissions, more screenings, more sold out shows and several groundbreaking additions.

The six-day cinema celebration founded, programmed and run by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore welcomed over 119,000 admissions this year, an increase of 28,000 over last year. Festival wide, over 85 percent of available tickets were sold to 188 screenings, of which 123 were sold out!

Across 10 different venues, the festival presented 102 feature films, 52 shorts in seven programs, 10 film school sessions, 10 cinema salon outdoor movie discussions, seven free industry panels, seven parties and a podcast with comedian Doug Benson. TCFF brought 90 filmmakers to accompany their films from four continents to Northern Michigan.

“This year,” said Moore, “we worked harder than ever to provide a fun and affordable festival for everyone, no matter their budget. We want everyone to be able to enjoy just great movies in one of the most beautiful areas of the country.”

This year’s “Compliments of the Festival” selections provided attendees with the festival’s first ever free movie screenings in venues other than the Open Space. Thirteen completely free screenings were added to the line-up, and the film festival intends to add more of these free screenings in the future.

In addition, the festival added new free evening panels and the new closing night bash, a free community celebration before the free Sunday night outdoor screening of “The Princess Bride” to celebrate the close of TCFF9.

The festival was able to present more screenings than ever thanks to the opening of the new Bijou by the Bay, located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The new theater was created inside the renovated 1935 WPA-era Con Foster Museum in just six weeks’ time to become the festival’s seventh theater venue.

The Traverse City Film Festival’s anchor venue, the State Theatre, recently listed as the #1 theater in the world by the Motion Picture Association of America, sold its one millionth ticket on the Thursday before the festival, after just six years of operation. The film festival officially claimed ownership of the State Theatre this week in a ceremonial mortgage burning after five years of fulfilling responsibilities set forth by Rotary Charities.

The festival would not be possible without the 1,500 volunteers who donate over 20,000 hours of time to the festival, including 250 volunteer managers who donate far more than 40 hours per week. To honor their commitment and the fact that the entire festival is volunteer powered, TCFF gives volunteers commemorative volunteer tshirts, free movie screenings and a volunteer party.

The festival was honored by the presence of many renowned filmmakers, including actor Michael Stuhlbarg (“Blue Jasmine,” “Seven Psychopaths”), Broadway legend Elaine Stritch (“Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me”), British filmmaker Michael Apted (“56 Up,”), writer/director Paul Feig (“The Heat,” “Bridesmaids”), actress Brit Marling and director Zal Batmanglij (“The East”) and popular comedian Doug Benson.

Over 90 filmmakers and industry guests visited with their films and participated in free panel discussions, Q & A discussions and film school classes.

Over 80 different musicians played a total of 250 different sets during the festival, performing before screenings in theater venues, at parties, and on the Clinch Park Music Stage, housed in the newly renovated Clinch Park pavilion overlooking Grand Traverse Bay.

This year’s musical lineup included musical acts from Israel, Argentina, Australia, Canada and all over the United States. The musicians were unpaid and volunteered their time to participate in the festival.

British filmmaker Michael Apted, who accepted this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his iconic filmmaking career, was honored with screenings of his eight-film “Up” series.

Paul Feig, writer and creator of “Freaks and Geeks,” director of “Bridesmaids” and perhaps one of the greatest exports of Michigan as a filmmaker, was honored with the Michigan Filmmaker Award as well as a screening of his latest hit, “The Heat.”

The winner of the Founder’s Prize for Best Documentary Short, “The Battle of the Jazz Guitarist,” is eligible to be an Oscar Nominee, thanks to a recent recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which this year included the TCFF among 24 festivals with Academy-qualifying status for short documentaries.

The festival welcomed 60 new sponsors this year, and saw a 40 percent increase in sponsor dollar support. This year also featured a notable increase in friends of the film festival memberships for the TCFF tenth anniversary. Friend memberships are available at half price through September 1, 2013.

The tenth annual Traverse City Film Festival will take place July 29-Aug 3, 2014. For more information, visitwww.traversecityfilmfest.org or call 231-392-1134.

Traverse City Film Festival 2013 Awards

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Audience Award Winner for Best American Film: “Fruitvale Station”

Audience Award Runner Up for Best American Film: “Trust”

Audience Award Winner for Best Foreign Film: “Starbuck”

Audience Award Runner Up for Best Foreign Film: “Into the White”

Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Film: “Inequality for All”

Audience Award Runner Up for Best Documentary Film: “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia”

Audience Award Winner for Best Kids Film: “The Painting”

Audience Award Winner for Best Narrative Short: “Fools Day”

Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Short: “Waiting for Mamu”

Audience Award Winner for Best Kids Short: “Hedgehogs and the City”

FOUNDERS AWARDS

Discovery Award: Liana Liberato

Visionary Award: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Visionary Award: Mark Cousins

Michigan Filmmaker Award: Paul Feig

Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael Apted

Founders Grand Prize for Best Film: “Propaganda”

Founders Prize for Best Drama: “The East”

Founders Prize for Best Comedy: “Bypass”

Founders Prize for Best Comedy: “The World Is Ours”

Founders Prize for Best Documentary: “Our Nixon”

Founders Prize for Best Documentary: “Remote Area Medical”

Founders Prize, Special Award: “Kon-Tiki”

Founders Prize, Special Award: “Mistaken for Strangers”

Founders Prize, Special Award: “Dirty Wars”

Founders Prize, Special Award: “Citizen Koch”

Founders Prize for Best Narrative Short “Fools Day”

Founders Prize for Best Documentary Short: “The Battle of the Jazz Guitarist”

Founders Prize for Special Mention Short Film: “The Rider and the Storm”

Stanley Kubrick Award for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking: “The Act of Killing”

Roger Ebert Prize for Best Film by a First Time Filmmaker: “Wadjda”

Stuart Hollander Prize for Best Kids Film: “Mud Crab”

John Waters Prize for Best Midnight Film: “Cockneys vs Zombies”

Buzz Wilson Prize for Best Experimental/Avant Garde Film: “Your Day is My Night”

Special Founders Prize in Honor of Helen W. Milliken

Special Founders Prize in Honor of Bryan J. Crough

TCFF FIM GROUP BUMPER CONTEST WINNERS

FIRST PLACE ($1,000!): “Paper Cut” – John Paul Morris

SECOND PLACE: “TCFF the 9th” – Brian Steinberg

THIRD PLACE: “How Many Stars” – Nancy Rampson

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

“Treasure Map” – Colin Campbell

“Just Great Movies” – Matthew Soltysiak

“A Happy Place” – Dick Evans

TCFF DOWNTOWN WINDOW DECORATION CONTEST

First Place: Toy Harbor

Second Place: Wilson Antiques

Third Place: Diversions

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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TCFF Photos from Day 6

Here are photos from the final day of the 2013 Traverse City Film Festival by our amazing team of photographers!

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Blog 3: “Show me the boy at 7 and I will show you the man”

Aug 2 – Quick jump back.

Michael Moore chatting with Michael Apted and Up subject Sue Sullivan

Michael Moore chatting with Michael Apted and Up subject Sue Sullivan

I was proud to join my student Colin Campbell for the festival premiere of his film Flash Point in the Student Shorts at the Bijou by the Bay. His work stands up very strong in story and image against the series of university film school shorts. Colin will be attending NYU in the fall after four years at Interlochen Arts Academy in our Motion Picture Arts Division.

Friday morning – Perverts Guide to Ideology at Milliken (somehow felt it was an academic companion to Martinov’s Propaganda). Directed by Sophie Fiennes starring philosopher Slavoj Zizek. Zizek travels throughout time and cinema to explain his philosophies on the formation, support, and acceptance of world ideology. It’s dense philosophy supported by both B-Movies like They Live (starring former WWF legend Rowdy Roddy Piper) and staples in film history – The Sound of Music and Taxi Driver. Read more

TCFF 2013: Day 5 – ‘Pandora’s Promise’ and ‘We’re the Millers’

Robert Stone

Robert Stone at a Q&A following a screening of his documentary “Pandora’s Promise” | Jane Boursaw Photo

Day five of the 9th Annual Traverse City Film Festival included one of my top R-rated comedies of all time and an indepth look into the idea that maybe nuclear power isn’t so bad after all.

Pandora’s Promise” is a documentary about the history and future of nuclear power. The film explores why many people who once feared the controversial technology are now embracing it as a real choice for the future.

It’s a historical analysis, cultural meditation and modern exploration of nuclear energy that aims to cultivate a serious debate over what is no doubt the most important question of our time: how do we continue to power modern civilization without destroying it?

I must admit that I’m still not sold on the idea. I have friends who were in the shadow of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl whose lives were changed drastically, so it’s going to take some serious talk to get me to switch over to the idea that nuclear power won’t kill all of us at some point.

Read more

Traverse City Film Festival 2013 Awards!

Liana Liberato accepts the Discovery Award from Michael Moore

Liana Liberato accepts the Discovery Award from Michael Moore

During our fantastic Filmmaker Party, Founder and President Michael Moore announced our 2013 Award Winners.

We have had so many incredible films, a few new categories and so many fun contests this year, here is a complete list of all of our award winners. Congrats to everyone!

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Audience Award Winner
Best Kids Short
Hedgehogs and the City

Audience Award Winner
Best Kids Film
The Painting

Audience Award Winner
Best Narrative Short
Fools Day

Audience Award Winner
Best Documentary Short
Waiting for Mamu

Audience Award Runner Up
Best Foreign Film
Into the White

Audience Award Winner
Best Foreign Film
Starbuck

Audience Award Runner Up
Best American Film
Trust

Audience Award Winner
Best American Film
Fruitvale Station

Audience Award Runner Up
Best Documentary Film
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

Audience Award Winner
Best Documentary Film
Inequality for All

FOUNDERS AWARDS

Special Founders Prize
In Honor of Helen W. Milliken

Special Founders Prize
In Honor of Bryan J. Crough

Discovery Award
Liana Liberato

Visionary Award
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Visionary Award
Mark Cousins

Michigan Filmmaker Award
Paul Feig

Lifetime Achievement Award
Michael Apted

Founders Prize
Best Narrative Short
Fools Day

Founders Prize
Special Mention Short Film
The Rider and the Storm

Founders Prize
Best Documentary Short
The Battle of the Jazz Guitarist

Stuart Hollander Prize
Best Kids Film
Mud Crab

John Waters Prize
Best Midnight Film
Cockneys vs Zombies

Buzz Wilson Prize
Best Experimental/Avant Garde Film
Your Day is My Night

Roger Ebert Prize
Best Film by a First Time Filmmaker
Wadjda

Founders Prize
Special Award
Kon-Tiki

Founders Prize
Special Award
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

Founders Prize
Special Award
Mistaken for Strangers

Founders Prize
Special Award
Dirty Wars

Founders Prize
Special Award
Citizen Koch

Stanley Kubrick Award
For Bold and Innovative Filmmaking
The Act of Killing

Founders Prize
Best Documentary
Our Nixon

Founders Prize
Best Documentary
Remote Area Medical

Founders Prize
Best Comedy
The World Is Ours

Founders Prize
Best Comedy
Bypass

Founders Prize
Best Drama
The East

Founders Grand Prize
Best Film
Propaganda

TCFF DOWNTOWN WINDOW DECORATION CONTEST

First Place: Toy Harbor
Second Place: Wilson Antiques
Third Place: Diversions

TCFF FIM GROUP BUMPER CONTEST WINNERS

FIRST PLACE – $1000
Paper Cut
John Paul Morris

SECOND PLACE – $500
TCFF the 9th
Brian Steinberg

THIRD PLACE – $200
How Many Stars
Nancy Rampson

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Treasure Map – $100
Colin Campbell

Just Great Movies – $100
Matthew Soltysiak

A Happy Place – $100
Dick Evans