Traverse City Film Festival

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The Traverse City Film Festival is an annual film festival held at the end of July in Traverse City, Michigan. The festival was created as an annual event in 2005 to help “save one of America's few indigenous art forms—the cinema."[1] The event was co-founded by Michael Moore, the Oscar-winning film director, well known for his anti-establishment films and documentaries such as Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine, and Roger & Me, along with author Doug Stanton and photographer John Robert Williams.

2015 TCFF Opening Night downtown Traverse City

The mission of the Festival is to show "Just Great Movies" that represent excellence in filmmaking, particularly those rare independent films and documentaries by both noted and new filmmakers, that do not receive mainstream distribution.

The Traverse City Film Festival is a non-profit organization, and is funded by businesses, community groups and individuals, in addition to ticket sales accumulated by various events. The Festival is headed by a board of directors of filmmakers, writers, and creative professionals. Traverse City Film Festival also showcases all volunteer music,[2] with over 60 regional artists featured in the 2016 event.[3]

Scene from outside the State Theatre

Official selections[edit]


Open Space film screening

The 2005 Traverse City Film Festival was held July 27–31. The 5-day event featured many independent films, plus four classic films. The independent films were shown in three indoor venues in downtown Traverse City: the State Theatre, the Old Town Playhouse, and the City Opera House. In addition, each night, a classic film was shown on a giant inflatable screen along West Grand Traverse Bay in the city's Open Space Park. Broken Flowers, a winner at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, was shown at the Traverse City Film Festival before being released to the general public. Other 2005 Traverse City Film Festival selections covered a gamut of film subjects ranging from period romances, unemployment, terrorism, among many other subjects.


The second annual Traverse City Film Festival was held July 31 – August 6, 2006.


The third annual festival was held July 31 – August 5, 2007.


The fourth annual festival: July 29 – August 3, 2008. Special appearance by Madonna, on August 2, 2008, introducing her film I Am Because We Are. Michigan Filmmaker Award went to Kurt Luedtke. Also world premiere for Religulous.


The fifth annual festival was held from July 28 – August 2, 2009.


The sixth annual festival was held from July 27 – August 1, 2010.


The seventh annual festival was held from July 26–31, 2011.


The eighth annual festival was held from July 31 - August 5, 2012.


The ninth annual festival was held from July 30 - August 4, 2013. Paul Feig was honored with the Michigan Filmmaker Award and Michael Apted with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Liana Liberato received the Discovery Award and Mark Cousins, Rob Epstein, and Jeffrey Friedman received the Visionary Award. The Festival added a new venue this year by renovating the former Con Foster Museum into a theater that was named Bijou by the Bay which opened in time for the 2013 Traverse City Film Festival.


The tenth anniversary festival was held from July 29 - August 3, 2014.


The eleventh annual festival was held from July 28 - August 2, 2015.


The twelfth annual Traverse City Film Festival was held from July 26 - July 31, 2016. This year’s festival celebrated the historic State Theatre’s centennial year and honored female filmmakers by featuring films directed by women for every selection in the Official US Documentary and Fiction sections.


The thirteenth annual Traverse City Film Festival was held from July 25 - July 30, 2017. This year’s festival celebrated works from filmmakers all around the world, especially those from countries targeted by the US travel ban. 19 directors could not attend the festival due to the ban, but Skyped into festival screenings to discuss their work.

Notable filmmakers and guests[edit]

Board members[edit]


  • Festival Co-Directors: Susan Fisher and Meg Weichman


  1. ^
  2. ^ "2016 Music". Traverse City Film Festival. 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2016-10-29.
  3. ^ "Traverse City Film Festival gets musical with Michigan bands". Local Spins. 2016-07-29. Retrieved 2016-10-29.

External links[edit]