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!