TCFF XIII Instagram Round-up 7/25

Check out our favorite Instagrams from the first day of festival! Keep using #tcff to be a part of our daily roundups. Happy festival!

Oh yeah, movie time!! #TCFF #traversecityfilmfestival2017 #volunteer

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Get the Filmmaker Goods

Traverse City pulls out all the stops to make our 100+ visiting filmmakers and guests feel welcome. And a big part of that is the generous donations from local business that make up the wonderful gift bags we put together each year for our visitors. Check out what special guests like Mariska Hargitay, Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Byington, and more will find in their gift bags, and be sure to enter our Facebook and Instagram giveaway by using the hashtag #justgreatgiveaways, or checking in to the festival to receive a gift bag of your own!

  • Deluxe TCFF XIII Canvas tote bag
  • Michigan Sparkling Wine from Mawby Vineyards in Sutton’s Bay
  • Rehmann corkscrew/bottle opener (so you can crack open the sparkling wine as soon as you get your bag)
  • That One Summer,” a film about Northern Michigan from the great Rich Brauer.
  • Daisy and Oscar’s Gourmet Bakery (D.O.G.) cherry chews dog treat
  • Dried Montmorency cherries from Cherry Republic
  • Apple Chips made from Michigan apples by Nature’s Treats, LLC (as featured at the State and Bijou year round!)
  • Note pad and pen from our lovely and oh-so-essential friends at Copy Central
  • Coupon for a FREE slice of pie from The Grand Traverse Pie Company (a TCFF intern favorite)
  • Coupon for 20% off at Sparks BBQ
  • 1 free week of classes at Yen Yoga
  • Mrs. Field’s cookie
  • TCFF bracelet
  • Copy of the Official TC Vacation Guide
  • Northern Michigan’s Traverse Magazine

Countdown to TCFF – New Guests and Screenings!

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true — the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival starts in TWO DAYS. We’ve concluded our trip Around the Bay, this weekend we are toasting our Friends, Sponsors, and Volunteers, and then the Big Show begins.


In addition to an already stellar lineup of filmmakers and guests, we’re happy to announce that Mariska Hargitay, star of NBC’s long-running drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” will join us in Traverse City for the Friday 3 pm screening of “I Am Evidence,” which she produced.

Hargitay will join directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir, powerhouse Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, and several other subjects from the film for an unforgettable event. Tickets are available for the Friday screening at Central High School Auditorium (our tech team’s new favorite venue, aside from the State!), as well as the Saturday screening at the State Theatre.

And our Travel Ban series just added an Oscar Winner: Asghar Farhadi, who made headlines when he boycotted the Oscars in protest of the Travel Ban, will be Skyping in for the Friday 12 noon Milliken screening of “The Salesman.” You will also hear from the director of another film in our Travel Ban series, “Nowhere to Hide,” when he joins us live in TC for screenings of his amazing must-see film, which has garnered universal praise and top awards at festivals worldwide.

Among other notable guests, we’ve got Gilbert Gottfried with the hilarious doc “Gilbert;” the incredible Rainey family from “Quest;” Mario Batali at “WASTED! The Story of Food Waste;” director Emil Ben-Shimon joining us from Israel for “The Women’s Balcony;” the main subject and director of the true crime doc, “True Conviction;” SNL star Noël Wells with her captivating directorial debut “Mr. Roosevelt;” TCFF favorite Bob Byington with his funniest and most star-studded film to date, “Infinity Baby;” and so many more.

And Leonard Maltin will be here all week, lending his gravitas, sparkling good humor, and deep knowledge and love of film to the festivities. Better still, he and his amazing daughter Jessie, fresh off appearances at Comic Con and Disney’s D23, will be doing their podcast live from the Old Town Playhouse for FREE!

Plus, Doug Benson is back to interrupt Paul Verhoeven’s “Starship Troopers” with a brand new funny team. It’s clearly going to be another don’t miss.


The Divine Order” has sold out all three of its screenings, and people are clamoring for tickets, so we’ve added another screening at the State on Wednesday night at 6 pm. It’s one of our favorite feel-good feminist comedy-dramas of the festival, set in a small town a lot like ours, about a woman who leads the fight for women to get the right to vote IN 1971, IN SWITZERLAND! You read that right. Nineteen. Seventy One. You won’t want to miss the scene everyone will be talking about, where a group of uncomfortable women learn to love their … well, you just have to see it.


If you’re ready for film now and can’t wait till Tuesday night, you’re going to be very happy to hear about two special bonus kickoff screenings. Strangely enough, they both happen to be rock and roll related (not to be confused with this year’s joyously silly French romp, “Rock’n Roll“):

On Tuesday at the State Theatre at 11 am, Director Amir Bar-Lev will join us for his epic doc on The Grateful Dead, “Long Strange Trip.” Critics say that when they sit down to watch this four-hour film, they plan to turn it off after 15 minutes — and then find themselves riveted and unable to move for the duration. It’s that good. (And don’t worry, we’ll have sandwiches and salads for sale — good ones, too, from S2S!)

And Monday night in Open Space, as usual, we’ll be testing our system by watching the Talking Heads in the greatest concert movie of all-time, “Stop Making Sense,” but this year, in tribute to the late director Jonathan Demme, we’re inviting everyone to come sing and dance with us on the grass under the stars. This is a no frills night (no concessions, no preshow), but there is nothing low-key about the film, which will roll at dusk. Starting Tuesday, you can enjoy Open Space in its full glory — see this year’s incredible lineup (including STAR WARS and the tribute to our friend Lars Kelto) here.


Have we told you lately, or perhaps in nearly every email we’ve sent out in the last 13 years, how important volunteers are to the festival, and how the festival wouldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers? It’s true!

Please consider joining us this festival. You can earn SWAG Bucks, get FREE tix, and have a great time in the process! Plenty of shifts are available, including Warehouse, Answer Squad, and Open Space! Find out more about volunteering and sign up for one or more shifts. You can bring the joy and catharsis of great movies to a grateful community. It really does make you feel good.

MSU Kids Camps

Looking for something for the kids to do while you indulge in movies? Michigan State University has a new exciting lineup of 2-day kids camps running here in town during the festival where they can learn about the exciting world of filmmaking and game design. These two-day sessions are geared towards youth ages 12-16 and run on festival Thursday & Friday. Students in each camp will have the opportunity to create their own short films and digital games from scratch! Click here for more information and to learn about other MSU at TCFF activities throughout the week.

See you at the movies!

9 Ways to Make the 13th Fest the Best!

If you’re gonna do it, do it right. Here are 9 hacks, tips, and tricks that you need to know to make the 13th TCFF the best week of your summer!

1. Stand by me (when you’re sold out)

Stand by lines are our way of giving you access to sold out films at the festival—you never know when a ticket holder will miss their show because they were caught up in traffic (probably didn’t use the TCFF Bike Share—see Hack 7), and we want to fill those seats! Also, if you purchase a festival voucher you get priority in the standby line. Vouchers are the same price as tickets and are redeemable at any general admission show, and they are good through the 2018 festival! Find more info on ticketing and vouchers here.

2. Friends with benefits

Much like a mob boss, we take care of our Friends. Little favors here and there like  the chance to purchase festival tickets an entire WEEK before the festival, two FREE tickets to each of the Friends Only screenings, and discounted festival party tickets. Plus, if you sign up for a Friends membership before July 30th at noon, you’ll be entered to win some prizes worthy of Marlin Brando, including a pass to next year’s festival. Find out more about how you can get in with the festival’s closest Friends here.

3. Have a drink with directors

Ever want to sip a scotch with a famous filmmaker? Movies on Tap gives us common folk the opportunity to mingle and chat up close and personal with the people who make the magic happen at nightly afterparties without the festival party ticket price. Movies on Tap also gives you the chance to try out a different local bar every night, each offering unique food and flair for all filmgoers. Find out where the hotspots of TC will be each night of the festival here.

4. Like drinking with directors, but with less drinking and more learning

Why go to five different movies to hear from five different directors when you can do it in one fell swoop for FREE? Our first come, first serve panels offer the chance to hear filmmakers and guests talk about everything from making a comedy to using movies as a conduit of change. And things can get pretty loose lipped, because what happens in TC, stays in TC. New this year: panels are rotating between venues, so be sure to check where they’ll be here.

5. Twice the show, none of the price

At the Open Space we like to give you more party than you know what to do with. Not only can you see great movies for FREE under the summer stars, but if you get there early (and we recommend that you do, to get the patch of grass with the best view) you can catch some of the incredible musicians that perform before each film! There’s also a themed photo booth, which is pretty rad. And concessions from a great selection of local vendors. Find a full listing of Open Space films here.

6. Get comfy!

Speaking of the Open Space, we recommend you do not try to be one with nature, as nature frequently disappoints. Bring a blanket you don’t mind getting a little grassy or a comfy, soccer mom-esque lawn chair, with cup holders if you’re feeling fancy or if you want a place to store your can’t-get-at-any-other-venue float made with Moomer’s ice cream! Get your snack on with food from other local vendors as well.


7. Like Uber but you burn calories?!?!

This year we’re partnering with Norte! Youth Cycling to bring our very own addition to the transportation-sharing fad that Lyft and Uber have perfected. Forget festival traffic—hop on one of the TCFF Bike Share bikes, donated by generous festival supporters, at any of our venues and ride them to your next film, and then leave it for someone else to use. It’s TC’s own Citibike, and it’s here to make your festival experience easy, active, and stress-free. Learn more about the Bike Share here.

8. The bees knees of FREE movies

Blow all your money on tickets but still don’t have enough to satisfy that unquenchable thirst for films? Our Buzz Movies are FREE as a bee, sweet as honey, and so good that movie lovers positively SWARM to them. Puns aside, these movies really are all the buzz. This year our Buzz Movies are on the move, so make sure you know all the showings and locations, found here. #savethebees

9. Like Baby Driver but without the near-death experience

Do TCFF in style with your own personal chauffeur service, courtesy of BATA. Our stretch limos may look more like buses, but don’t be fooled—you can feel completely classy in the FREE, air-conditioned shuttles that loop around to every festival venue, departing every 10-15 minutes. Leave your car and your stress behind and hop on the festival shuttle! More info on the route can be found here.

New! MSU Kids Camps at TCFF

Michigan State University has a new exciting lineup of 2-day kids camps running during the festival! Enjoy some just great movies while your kids have fun and learn about the exciting world of filmmaking and game design. These two-day sessions are geared towards youth ages 12-16 and will run Thursday & Friday during the festival. Students in each camp will have the opportunity to create their own short films and digital games from scratch! Read more about these exciting offerings below.

Michigan State University Kids Camps 

Filmmaker Camp
What goes into making a movie? Throughout this session students will analyze the many different components that create a compelling film including storyline, acting, directing, camera, sound, and editing. In addition, specialized workshops in writing, acting, sound, and cinematography will inspire them to take their films to the next level. This two-day session will conclude with a short film created entirely by participants!

Instructors: Pete Johnston and Kirk Mason

Game Designer Camp
Throughout this session, students will explore the basics of digital game design and development. Topics covered include prototyping, playtesting, and balancing. Students will also learn about the process, tasks, and roles that come with game development while creating their very own digital game. This session will also give participants the chance to play and analyze current popular video games.

Instructors: Luke Kane and Jeremy Bond

Find more information on Kids Camps and other MSU activities at this year’s festival here.

Films for All

Whether you’re a music fanatic, a social activist, or just nostalgic for the 90s, there’s something for everyone at the 13th Traverse City Film Festival. We’ve created some groupings below to help you tailor your schedule and pick that one great movie that just might change you.

90’s Nostalgia

We’re throwing it back to the 90’s with a few of our old favorites, and some exciting newcomers. Catch up with your favorite childhood hero Bill Nye the Science Guy, laugh along with the ladies of “Landline,” and see a historical take on the LA Riots from a new perspective.

Movies for Music Maniacs

From starry-eyed show tunes to the Grateful Dead, these films cover a wide range of genres that are sure to make you want to sing and dance along.

Comedic Genius 

Serious movies got you feeling down? Want to laugh and feel good? Come to these funny films, and you’ll leave feeling light-hearted and happy.

Films for World Travelers

Satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your chair. These breathtaking films show you the world in a way you’ve never seen before, exploring cultural diversity, astounding scenery, and food from across the globe.

Females are Strong as Hell

The future is female, and we couldn’t agree more. Watch as these strong, independent, ass-kicking women take on the world in everything from step dancing to campaigning for mayor.

Films for the Environmental Activist

Explore land and sea from the perspective of farmers, scientists, and everyday people. While viewing these movies safe from the elements, you’ll gain a new appreciation for our shared homeland: the Earth.  

Human Health

Health as a science and an industry develops faster than almost every other field of study. Learn about diseases plaguing the population as well as the use of medical advances to push our human limits.

American Stories

America is a melting pot with a social fabric comprised of vastly different cultures and stories. Explore new American perspectives in these films which take you across our country, from Philly to Standing Rock.

Drones and Robots and Science, Oh My!

It’s a Brave New World with gadgets and gizmos galore. Technology  and 21st century breakthroughs are the common themes in these movies.

Films for History Buffs

Brush up on your history with these dramatic reenactments of past events, period pieces, and historical docs.

Movies in Michigan

The great state of Michigan has a lot to offer, including these films that were either made by Michiganders or focus on Michiganian themes.

New Screenings and a Film Added!

We promised to fill the blank TBA slots on the 13th annual Traverse City Film Festival schedule with movies you’ll love, and the day has finally come. We’ve added screenings of SOLD OUT festival favorites, plus we’re announcing the addition of a brand new film, an important documentary you won’t want to miss.

When public ticketing arrives Saturday (tomorrow), with the addition of the these new screenings tickets will now be available to nearly every TCFF XIII Official Selection. Check out more about availability here, and read on for the new details.


KING OF PEKING” – Saturday 7/22 9 am State
Our Friends asked for it, and they get it. The State is smaller than Lars Hockstad, so we’ve added a fifth Friends-Only screening to accommodate demand. Meet Big Wong and Little Wong in this endearing father and son story that’s also a love letter to cinema.

ELIAN” – Thursday 9 pm Kirkbride Hall at Grand Traverse Commons
The first screening of this film sold out in a flash, so we’ve added a second chance to hear a grown Elián Gonzales tell his own story about being torn between relatives in Miami and Cuba, years after he was rescued from the ocean at age five, clinging to an inner tube.

CITY OF GHOSTS” – Friday 12 noon State Theatre
After selling out two screenings, the definitive documentary about Syria, the one film you really must see about this great tragedy, is getting an additional screening at the State, with the director and subjects in person. A sure bet to be on the Best Documentary Oscar shortlist, “City of Ghosts” is a phenomenally powerful film not to be missed.

NOWHERE TO HIDE” – Saturday 12 noon Old Town Playhouse
Director Zaradasht Ahmed has endured an incredible travel ordeal in order to join us in person at his amazing film that has drawn critical raves. It gives us a rare opportunity to witness life in Iraq from the first-person perspective of Nori Sharif, a father and nurse caught in the crossfire of what is commonly referred to as the “triangle of death” in central Iraq’s Diyala Province.

12TH AND CLAIRMOUNT” – Sunday 9 pm Central High School Auditorium
The filmmaking team from Detroit will present their film about the complex causes and effects of the 1967 Uprising in Detroit, constructed from over 400 reels of donated home movies. It’s the perfect companion piece to our closing night film, Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit,” capturing the full spectrum of life in Detroit and the explosive tension still felt today.

ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE” – Sunday 9 am Central High School Auditorium
This debut documentary from TV news veteran Fred Peabody, which also features an appearance from TCFF’s very own Michael Moore, is an invigorating reminder about the vital importance of calling out the powerful, and giving voice to the powerless. It comes as no surprise that this is one of the hottest tickets at the festival, with both original screenings quickly selling out.

INAATE/SE/” – Saturday 12 noon Dutmers Theater
The Sundance Film Festival is bringing brother directors Adam and Zack Khalil to Traverse City for screenings of their experimental film that explores what it means to be a modern Ojibway. Focusing on their hometown of Sault Ste Marie in the Upper Peninsula, this imaginative, sensational investigation into the importance of tradition and the price of assimilation is beautiful and wholly original.

“King of Peking” – Friends Only Screening, Sat 7/22 9 am State
“Stranger Fruit” – Wed 6 pm State and Sun 6 pm Bijou by the Bay
“Elian” – Thu 9 pm Kirkbride Hall
“City of Ghosts” – Fri 12 noon State
“Nowhere to Hide” – Sat 12 noon Old Town Playhouse
“Inaate/Se/” – Sat 12 noon Dutmers
“All Governments Lie” – Sun 9 am Central High School Auditorium
“12th and Clairmount” – Sun 9 pm Central High School Auditorium

Tickets for these screenings and more are on sale now for Friends of the Festivalat or at the Main Box Office (121 E Front Street).

Public ticketing begins on Saturday, July 15 at 10 am at the Main Box Office, and 6 pm online. Plus, Around the Bay tickets are available now for everyone!

MyNorth Filmgoer Online Now!

Before, after and in-between all the incredible TCFF movies and events, there’s lots of fun to be had in and around our festival. And to guide you to all that fun is the MyNorth Filmgoer, from the folks who’ve been hard at work covering the best of our glorious region for 37 years, the staff at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine and

In addition to great movies, the TCFF brings you to Northern Michigan’s stunning vistas, shorelines and vineyards, dozens of farm to table restaurants with menus of great local foods and freshwater fish, and creative craft beer culture. And the MyNorth Filmgoer is a great guide to all the good stuff happening around the festival.

Check it out online now. Or pick up a copy at all the TCFF venues and theaters, with the handy MyNorth Filmgoer Pocket Guide inside.

Inside the MyNorth Filmgoer, you’ll find:

-What’s new at the Traverse City Film Fest?
-Q&A with TCFF special guest Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian for 50 years
-New Traverse City restaurants
-Traverse Magazine’s most popular places: the Red Hot Best Winners of Traverse City
-Traverse Magazine’s coveted restaurant guide
-Plus a list of wineries, distilleries and breweries

At the Traverse City Film Festival, we are year-round, active supporters of this community–it’s businesses and the natural resources that make this such a special place. We hope that you, too, will enjoy all our region has to offer at the TCFF and beyond.

TCFF Bike Share Powered by Norte!

There’s Uber, there’s AirBNB, and now there’s a new addition to the sharing economy craze: The TCFF Bike Share program. This year, we are partnering with Norte! to provide a bike share program (think NYC’s Citi Bike on a much smaller and more trusting scale) that relies on gently-used donated adult bikes which will provide easy, fun, and traffic-jam free transport from venue to venue. Watch this video and visit to find out more information!

Norte! Bike Share – TCFF 2017 from Traverse City Film Festival on Vimeo.

Friends Ticketing Opening Day

Last Sunday wasn’t just any old sunny morning in Downtown TC. As early as 10 pm the night before, film festival fanatics started lining up on the sidewalks outside of the State, eagerly awaiting the opening of the box office doors and the beginning of ticket sales for Friends of the Festival! With free popcorn and movie trailers playing over at the State, a spacious new box office at the Ecco Event Space, and interns in green hats everywhere you looked, the opening day of ticketing was one to remember.

Check out some of the reasons why hundreds of our closest Friends go crazy to get the first tickets of the festival below! And everyone can get their tickets to the films of TCFF XIII starting Saturday, July 15 at 10 am in person and 6 pm online.