One of the great joys of the Traverse City Film Festival is running into friends I don’t get to see that often during the rest of the year.
When I learned that Margaret Schaal, an old friend from high school, was first in line on Day One of Ticket Sales, we (with guidance from film fest staffer Tia Shuyler) came up with the idea to gather some notes from her film festival experience this year.
Margaret said this was her first year of getting in line early, and Karen Gardner was her “first in line” buddy and kept her company through the night.
They got there in the wee, wee hours of the morning, although we decided not to reveal the exact time, because then it sets the bar higher and higher every year!
But “it was a nice night to camp out,” said Margaret, adding that the woman who was eighth in line this year also had that spot last year.
Margaret also thought it was really fun to see the Mahjong ladies come and set up their table around 6 or 7 in the morning.
“And Horizon Books [full disclosure – Margaret works there!] serves GREAT breakfasts starting at 7 a.m. Had pancakes, REAL maple syrup and bacon. And the TCFF served coffee and scones. So a real party!!!”
Margaret was most excited about “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” and we actually ended up sitting next to each other for the screening (I took the above photo outside the theater after the film). Margaret looked so cute in her Stritch outfit with long white shirt and dapper hat.
Margaret also decided to devote part of her film festival experience to non-film events. “I finally got to a Film School class after wanting to do that for years,” she said. “I found the ‘Mistaken for Filmmakers‘ class to be interesting, informative and entertaining.”
A past member of the very first Midnight Screening at the Traverse City Film Festival (“Air Guitar Nation”), this year, Margaret saw the midnight screening of “Unhung Hero.”
“It delivered!” she said. “With some real LOL moment – and why were there more women than men at this screening???” The film also featured some poignant revelations by the star and filmmaker, Patrick Moote, who answered questions after the film. “I don’t know if he thought the SIZE of the audience mattered, since it was a shame that the place wasn’t packed,” she said.
Margaret also saw “56 Up,” followed by a Q&A with director Michael Apted and film subject Susan Davis. “I am a fan of the series having discovered it at college, and since these folks are just a little older than me, I’ve been interested in following their lives,” said Margaret.
“Susan talked about trust being key to letting the filmmakers into the lives of the subjects,” said Margaret. “I wonder if provisions are being made as to who the subjects will trust to continue filming and interviewing if/when Mr. Apted can no longer continue. I think it would be interesting to see ’83 Up.'”
Margaret also loved Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” “Cool adaptation,” she noted. “Song tunes are new with the Bard’s words. Strongest Leonato I’ve seen on stage or screen, and I loved the villains in this piece, as well. I think teachers will love to use this for their classes.”
On a final note, Margaret said she thought the short narratives this year were great and enjoyable. “Glad I didn’t miss them. These were solid, and a wide variety.”
Thank you, my friend, for sharing your film festival experience with us!