Frequently Asked Questions


Mid June: Festival schedule and program announcement
Mid June: Volunteer Signups begin
July 3: Tickets on sale for Sponsors
July 10: Tickets on sale for Friends of the Festival
July 17: Tickets on sale for the public
July 23: “Friends Day” Screenings for Friends of the Festival
July 24: Founders Day Party
July 26: Opening Night of the Festival!
July 26-31: Traverse City Film Festival


We have updated our COVID safety protocols, still staying within the CDC Guidelines. We are no longer checking for vaccination cards at the box office or at our theaters. Anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask is encouraged to do so.

Where is Traverse City? Traverse City is located in the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula in the resort region on Grand Traverse Bay.

I’d like to help. How can I get involved? Volunteers are the foundation of the Traverse City Film Festival. You can learn more here.

Can I contribute to the festival in other ways? Yes! Sponsorships are available in at a variety of levels and benefits. Friends memberships also support the festival in a big way and Friends receive great perks like early ticketing and access to our Friends Only Screening Parties.

How can I stay informed about the festival all year round? Patrons can sign up to receive festival news alerts by email. Sign up here.

Where are the festival movies shown? The festival screens movies in Downtown Traverse City at several venues. This year, movies will be shown in the State Theatre, Bijou by the Bay, the AMC Cherry Blossom and the Open Space Outdoor Cinema on the waterfront.

How do I submit a film? The Traverse City Film Festival is by invitation only, but we’d love to see your films and suggestions. Filmmakers may submit films unofficially by emailing a screener to, and they will be passed on to the programmer. There is no submission fee, and also no feedback mechanism — we cannot guarantee that your film will be viewed.

How can I get tickets? Tickets can be purchased both online and at the main box office in advance of the festival. And during the festival, tickets are also available at each individual indoor venue. Tickets will go on sale for Friends of the Festival on July 10 and for the general public on July 17.

How is the festival financially supported? The festival is funded by local and national businesses, community groups, and individuals. Sponsors are needed for each venue, film, filmmaker, and event. If you would like to contribute, please contact Development Director Terry Carrithers at The Traverse City Film Festival is a 501(c)3  non-profit organization with tax-exempt status.

Are there any free movies at the festival? Each night of the festival, classic films are shown on the waterfront in the city’s Open Space Park on a giant inflatable screen. No admission is charged. Seating is general admission, so be sure to bring chairs and blankets.

Are dogs allowed at the Open Space movies? Dogs are not allowed at the Open Space Outdoor Cinema. While we encourage you to bring blankets, chairs, and coolers, please leave your four-legged friends at home.

What other programming is at the festival beside films? We have a robust music scene at the festival including performances before many screenings, at parties, and more. Visitors can enjoy our free industry panels, enjoy our kids fest, attend official festival parties and after parties.

I’m a musician. How can I become one of your performers? Awesome! Email us at!

Who created the festival? The Traverse City Film Festival was founded by Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore in collaboration with photographer John Robert Williams and author Doug Stanton. Festival board members include filmmakers Larry Charles (“Borat”), Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda”), actor Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”), actress Christine Lahti (“Chicago Hope”), producer Rod Birleson (“Capitalism: A Love Story”), musician Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), and filmmaker Mark Cousins (“The Story of Film: An Odyssey”).

Are there any year-round festival activities? The Traverse City Film Festival operates two year-round movie houses, the historic State Theatre, and the Bijou by Bay, in downtown Traverse City. Visit the State and Bijou website for complete information and a schedule of upcoming screenings.

If I have more questions, how can I contact someone at the festival? We can be reached by phone at the festival office at 231-392-1134 and via email at