The Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF) announces the Film Lounge Series and schedules for the seventh year of its popular TCFF Film Industry Panels and Film School.
FILM INDUSTRY PANELS
The Film Industry Panels at the City Opera House are one of the festival’s most popular events. Visiting filmmakers as tell stories far away from Hollywood and New York, mixing it up with each other and the audience in sessions that range from the hilarious to the moving. Panels begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Panel tickets are free and can be reserved online or at the box office and are available the morning of the screening at the venue.
WEDNESDAY: “Being Elmo”
Kevin Clash and the entire filmmaking team of “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” talk about the creation of their award-winning documentary, and how to make love shine on the screen. Scheduled to Appear: Kevin Clash, Principal; Corinne Lapook, Producer; Constance Marks, Director/Producer; James J. Miller, Cinematographer/Producer; Philip Shane, Co-Director/Writer/Editor; Justin Weinstein, Writer/Editor.
THURSDAY: “The Doc Panel”
Each year, the diverse and eclectic documentary filmmakers who make some of the best films at the festival gather together to open viewers eyes to the world around us—its problems, its possibilities, its joys, its future. TCFF is proud to welcome to the stage a large group of the people who made this past year’s best documentary films to talk about their evolving craft. Scheduled to Appear: Michael Galinski and Suki Hawley, “Battle for Brooklyn;” Julia Haslett, “An Encounter with Simone Weil;” Paco de Onís and Pamela Yates, “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator;” Susan Saladoff, “Hot Coffee;” Sam Cullman, “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front;” Nancy Buirski and Elisabeth Haviland James, “The Loving Story;” Tony Hardmon and Rachel Libert, “Semper Fi: Always Faithful;” Nick August-Perna and Chris Dapkins, “The Swell Season;” Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney “You’ve Been Trumped.”
FRIDAY: “The Working Class Goes to the Movies”
This year’s festival is remarkable for the number of films it will be screening (fiction and nonfiction) that deal with the travails of the working class. As part of TCFF’s salute to public employees and celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Great Flint Sit Down Strike, filmmakers who have brilliantly documented the struggle for equal rights and human dignity, and those who have dealt with issues of work and class in feature films are welcomed to the stage. Scheduled to Appear: Anne Bohlen, “With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women’s Emergency Brigade;” Sasha Reuther, “Brothers on the Line;” and other special guests.
SATURDAY: “Who’s Killing Hollywood in Michigan?”
Two of the festival’s best docs this year were shot right here in Michigan. Filmmakers, subjects, producers and the head of the Michigan Film Office talk about taking a stand for the hand and making great cinema art at the same time—as well as the new governor’s severe cutbacks to the Michigan Film Incentive. Scheduled to Appear: Basma Babar-Quraishi, “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football;” Heather Courtney, “Where Soldiers Come From;” Rashid Ghazi, “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football;” Carrie Jones, Michigan Film Commission; Jennifer Latham, “Sicko,” “When the Drum is Beating;” Ash-har Quraishi, “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football.”
SUNDAY: “The Comedy Panel”
Movies can brighten a day with uproarious laughter — or just with a good sock in the keister. TCFF’s panel of actors, filmmakers and humorists will have you in stitches as they wrap up this year’s panel series. Scheduled to Appear: Rodman Flender, “Conan O’Brian Can’t Stop;” Matthew Modine, “Jesus Was a Commie,” “Married to the Mob;” Katie O’Grady, “Rid of Me;” Jody Shapiro, “How to Start Your Own Country;” James Westby, “Rid of Me;” and Gaukur Úlfarsson, “Gnar.”
The Film School returns for its third year. Hosted by visiting filmmakers and focusing on the art of filmmaking, session will be held Wednesday, July 27 through Sunday, July 30, at noon and 3 pm at Northwestern Michigan College’s Scholars Hall.
No application is needed for the Traverse City Film Festival Film School. Interested participants can purchase tickets for $5 online (www.traversecityfilmfest.org), by phone (231-922-8109) or at the box office and merchandise store at 101 N. Parking is available next to the new Grand Traverse Pie Company.
12 noon: “Production Audio for Film”
Sennheiser Electronic Corp.’s kickoff film school session will unite a TCFF director, a U of M professor, and other professionals who will make a three-minute film during the class. The team demonstrates the importance of getting the best sound, with the right microphone, at the right time. Join the top experts in the field to get first-hand experience on getting sound right.
3 pm: “Tips from a Hollywood Casting Director and Actress”
Questions about Hollywood will be answered by Actress and casting agent Pamela Guest (“Blue Velvet,” “Big Trouble in Little China”) when she visits TCFF from Los Angeles to share information, tips, and pointers that will give attendees the inside track on how the Hollywood casting system works, and how to break into it. Get up to speed on this fascinating aspect of making the magic happen on the screen.
12 noon: “Sound and Music: The Heart and Soul of Film”
Composer Jeff Gibbs (“Capitalism: A Love Story,” “Fahrenheit 9/11”) will share his insights and experiences in creating film scores, as well as how to use music and the soundscape of a film to bring audiences into the heart and soul of a movie. Many directors and editors deal with a film’s score and sound design as two separate processes, but sound—including dialogue, narration and special effects—is the primary way an audience enters the world of a film, and it must be taken into consideration from the very beginning. This class will discuss the scoring of a film, how to think about the music and soundscape for films, and how to avoid common pitfalls. Examples from a variety of films will be shown, along with a live demonstration.
3 pm: “The Indie Director: From Script to Screen”
Benjamin Busch will present his short film “Bright,” which screens in this year’s “Shorts for Adults II” program, and then will offer a master class on taking a story from script to screen, noting all of the details that went into the story and screenplay, camera direction, editing, performances, and composition/sound design. Busch is an actor, writer and filmmaker best known for his portrayal of Anthony Colicchio on the HBO’s “The Wire.”
12 noon: “Producing Your Independent Film: From Idea to Script to Market”
This introductory course will cover the business side of making, financing, and marketing a film. Lisa Pick (director of Miller Canfield’s Film + Entertainment practice) and other experts will discuss the legal, financial, and other business-based issues creative filmmakers run into on their way to finding the largest possible audiences and covering their investment costs.
3 pm: “Acting for Camera”
Robert DeNiro, Julia Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Nick Nolte, Gena Rowlands, Elia Kazan, John Cassavetes, Paul Schrader and teachers Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg—this session’s instructors have worked with, and learned from, them all. Returning to the TCFF are Robert Rayher, noted experimental filmmaker and Senior Film Production Lecturer at the University of Michigan, actress Elizabeth Guest, and Pamela Guest, a U of M graduate and one of the few Hollywood casting directors who also performs. These individuals will reprise one of last year’s most popular film school classes with a new spin.
12 noon: “Storytelling in Documentary Film”
Join award-winning director Michael Webber as he discusses the craft of storytelling in documentary film. This three-hour session focuses on the filmmaker’s role as more than just “documenting” an issue or event, but telling a compelling story through rich characters, strong plot, clear narrative and creative writing. Webber takes his unique perspective gained from his transition from the world of fiction studio films and discusses how to apply those same storytelling and filmmaking principles to the documentary genre. Michael Webber is the producer/ director of “The Elephant in the Living Room,” winner of five Best Documentary Awards, including 2010 TCFF Director’s Choice Award.
3 pm: “How I Made My Short Film”
For many aspiring directors, making a short film is a great way to both hone one’s craft and to break into the industry, as short films continue to gain new distribution outlets. From the record 59 shorts at this year’s fest, several filmmakers—both newcomers and veterans—will talk about how they made their films, why they made them, how they have found audiences, and what they plan to do next.
12 noon: “Breaking Into the Industry: Notes From a Young Filmmaker” Writer/director/producer Katie Tibaldi, born and raised in Michigan, shares her tips, lessons and best-kept secrets with aspiring artists of all ages looking to break into a difficult industry. Working in New York after earning an MFA and BFA from New York University’s film school, Tibaldi (“Courting Condi,” “Street Fighting Man”) got her foot in the door and for nine years has made a living being creative. Currently she’s writing jokes, producing films, and serving as head of the writers’ department for the TBS sitcom “Are We There Yet?”
3 pm: “The Craft of Screenwriting”
Writer/director V. Prasad’s produced work includes “Before the Rains” and “Oceans of Pearls.” Prasad holds an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute and teaches the craft at UCLA Extension and at the University of Michigan. In his spare time, he serves as a programmer for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. He will be here in Traverse City to offer his thoughts on screenwriting, humor, the writer-director relationship, dialogue and more.
The Film Lounge series unites fellow movie lovers to discuss films in a moderated but informal community setting and takes place at Lay Park on Union Street, Wednesday, July 27 through Saturday, July 31 after specially designated noon and 3:00 pm films. The series is free and includes performances from live musicians following the discussions. The schedule for the series is as follows:
Wednesday, July 27:
“An Encounter with Simone Weil:” after 12 noon movie
“Kumarè:” after 3 pm movie
Thursday, July 28:
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” after 12 noon movie
“Semper Fi: Always Faithful:” after 3 pm movie
Friday, July 29:
“Granito: How to Nail a Dictator:” after 12 noon movie
“With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women’s Emergency Brigade:” after 3 pm movie
Saturday, July 30:
“Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football:” after 12 noon movie
“How to Start Your Own Country:” after 3 pm movie
Sunday, July 31:
“Face to Face:” after 12 noon movie
“Hot Coffee:” after 3 pm movie
The Traverse City Film Festival will take place July 26 through July 31. A full schedule of film forums, panels and classes can also be viewed at www.traversecityfilmfest.org.