Here’s hoping this note finds you healthy and well. And if not, then my warmest wishes and sincerest prayers for you and yours that all this will be over soon, and that we’ll see each other this summer somewhere on Front Street between the two fudge shops and the three bookstores. We will say once again with pride that, yes, we do live in America’s only town whose main street has more literature than sugar.

We’ve waited as long as we can, hoping against hope that this pandemic would disappear like a miracle someone once promised, but, you know me (especially if you listen to my podcast), I tend to sit up and listen when Mother Nature decides to give us a wake-up call, and I do fear what this pandemic portends for the future. Of course, it’s nothing we all can’t pull together and beat back — and then work to create an even better world than the one we had before.

But for now, I’m very, very sorry to announce that we cannot come together this summer to participate in our 16th Traverse City Film Festival. We doubt that the Governor’s order closing our theaters and the festival will be lifted any time soon — and we agree it shouldn’t.

So we’ll postpone our plans until next summer. We will hold our next Traverse City Film Festival on July 27-August 1, 2021. And I can guarantee you, with hope in my heart, it will be unlike any other film festival we’ve had.

So our main goal right now is to keep our theaters and the TCFF alive so they can return intact. Many organizations and businesses are desperately hurting right now in Northern Michigan. Some, sadly, will not make it. This is heartbreaking. We, too, have the same monthly bills and debts and we are seriously low on funds. We have not yet done a fundraising campaign, understanding that a lot of people made priority to give to health care organizations.

But we also know our responsibility — the one you’ve invested in us to be the stewards of these historic buildings and of one of the area’s most important cultural centers and events. Our responsibility is that we MUST make sure we don’t go under. That we come out on the other side of this crisis strong and vibrant, leading the way to bring our downtown back to life as we — all of us — once did some 15 years ago.  We’re more than willing to take on that challenge.

So we’re working up a ”Reboot and Re-Open” plan that we’ll present to you shortly.

In the meantime, please read the press release we’re distributing to the media this afternoon. And think about what you can do to help. In many ways, it will be a new day for the State and the Bijou and the festival. If you’d like to be part of that “new day,” this is the moment to get involved. Write to me personally at – I’d love to hear from you!

All my best to all of you.

From my 65th day of self-imposed isolation, reflection, and the longest spring-cleaning ever,

Michael Moore