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.”

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.

The Bijou by the Bay

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.

STATE Mortgage BurningThe 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 the festival. 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.

Elaine Stritch at The State TheatreThe 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.

Musicians at The State Theater, TCFF 2013Over 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 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.

TCFF0803-0084Paul 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, visit www.traversecityfilmfest.org or call 231-392-1134. Click to view all the photos from the 2013 Traverse City Film Festival.

Traverse City Film Festival 2013 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”


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


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

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

THIRD PLACE: “How Many Stars” – Nancy Rampson


“Treasure Map” – Colin Campbell

“Just Great Movies” – Matthew Soltysiak

“A Happy Place” – Dick Evans


First Place: Toy Harbor

Second Place: Wilson Antiques

Third Place: Diversions