Monday, July 13, 2009

Traverse City Film Festival

Celebrating its fifth year, the Traverse City Film Festival will run from July 28 through August 2. From the opening night film "Troubled Water" to the closing with "Julie & Julia” this year’s films will feature both national and international films of all genres. In addition to the regular panel discussions with industry professionals and internships, this year the festival will be offering film classes. To read the list of movies being shown during the festival Tickets go on sale to the public Saturday July 18 and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 231-946-3731. Those wishing to volunteer for the festival can sign up at

To learn more about the internships available to apply go to

Panel Discussions

Wednesday, July 29
40 Years of Documentary Filmmaking
It's been 40 years since Woodstock, 20 years since "Roger & Me," and great documentaries continue to be made. Again this year, some of the best films in the festival are documentaries -- and you should see the great docs we couldn't fit onto the festival schedule! We are fortunate to have with us here in Traverse City some of the world's top documentary filmmakers. They will talk about the history of their craft and the world and times in which they work.
Aung Htun ("Burma VJ")
Joe Berlinger ("Crude")
Cathal Black ("Learning Gravity")
Jim Czarnecki ("Soundtrack for a Revolution")
Michelle Esrick ("Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie")
Emily Kunstler ("William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe")
Kevin McMahon ("Waterlife")
Michael Moore ("Roger & Me")

Thursday, July 30
Palestine and Vine
There's a whole new crop of films coming out of the West Bank and Gaza, and we are proud to have two of the best films of the year on this festival's schedule: "Rachel" and "Salt of This Sea." Palestinian film had a watershed year in 2009, sending the world cinematic voices we rarely get to hear in the US. Rachel Corrie's parents, Craig and Cindy, and Palestinian filmmakers Annemarie Jacir and Ossama Bawardi ("Salt of This Sea") will talk about making great art out of hard stuff.

Friday, July 31
Michigan Film Office Advisory Council Meeting
Interested in the Michigan Film Industry? Want to learn more about how the incentives are working to bring film development in Michigan? We're bringing the bi-monthly meeting of the Governor's Michigan Film Office Advisory Council right into the City Opera House so that you can take a look at how government moves. The Council will conduct their business in a public session, and then take questions from the audience at the meeting's conclusion. See some of the brightest stars in Michigan's film world in action and find out if they can make a governmental meeting dramatic.
Emery C. King, Chair
Bill Black
Bob Brown
Jim Burnstein
Xenia E. Castillo-Hunter
Hopwood DePree
Marcia Fishman
Cory Jacobson
Danialle Karmanos
Sue Marx
Tim Magee
Michael Moore
William P. O'Reilly
Marc L. Prey
Janet Lockwood, Director of the Michigan Film Office

Saturday, August 1
Comedy, American Style
Most years we have to struggle to find great comedies to include in the festival line up. Although it initially looked grim, we ended up with more than our fair share of great funny films for our Firefighter Jury to judge. Enjoy an hour or two talking about laughing with some of the filmmakers who lift us out of our national malaise and kick us in the keister.
Robert Byington ("Harmony and Me," "Registered Sex Offender")
Larry Charles ("Bruno")
Jeff Garlin ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
Ben Steinbauer ("Winnebago Man")
Wavy Gravy

Sunday, August 2
Paul Mazursky Talks
The Traverse City Film Festival is deeply honored to have the great filmmaker Paul Mazursky in person at the festival this year. After screenings of some of his best films at the festival this year ("Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," "An Unmarried Woman," "Enemies, A Love Story"), Paul Mazursky will talk with Jeff Garlin about a life in the movies.

TCFF Film School 2009
Announcing our first "TCFF Film School" to be held Wednesday through Sunday during film fest week from 1 to 4 pm in the CenterPointe building's fourth floor 100-seat auditorium at 12935 S West Bay Shore Drive (2.5 miles NW of the State Theatre on the water, free and easy parking). Admission is only $3 a day, and students of all ages (from junior high to the golden years) are welcome. Tickets for the film school are on sale now. (Students, if you have a problem with transportation, just email

Wednesday, July 29
Session 1: Screenwriting
Jim Burnstein ("Ruffian," "Renaissance Man") is one of the few working Hollywood screenwriters living in Michigan. Burnstein heads the Screenwriting Program at the University of Michigan Department of Screen Arts & Cultures, and will share his stories about working in the loneliest area of the filmmaking biz.

Thursday, July 30
Session 2: Documentary 101
Kevin McMahon, Director, "Waterlife"Canadian director Kevin McMahon edited two hundred hours of footage that he shot all over the Midwest to create his TCFF09 documentary about the state of our Great Lakes. He will take time during his stay in Traverse City to share his experiences with students, covering all of the stages of filmmaking. One third of the class will be left open so that Kevin can work with student questions, giving students time to talk about their own projects and quandaries.

Friday, July 31
Session 3: Women in Film
Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza ("Entre nos")
Between the two of them, Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza had a hand in almost every aspect of the making of their film "Entre nos" -- they worked together to get funding, collaborated to write and direct, Gloria edited the film and Paola played the lead character. These two filmmakers will share their knowledge of what it's like to get a movie made outside of the studio system, and what it's like to be a woman working in what is still, for the most part, a boy's club industry.

Saturday, August 1
Session 4: Making Shorts
Anny Slater ("The Ball"), Aaron Jaffe ("Trim"), Sarah Klegman ("Home Cooked Meal"), and others
For the first time this year, the Traverse City Film Festival has scheduled four shorts programs to play as part of the festival schedule. From animation to live action, from middle school and post-grad students to professional filmmakers, many of the directors and producers behind this year's 50 short films will be in attendance to talk about their films -- one of them all of the way from Australia! They'll tell you about their films, how they made they, why they made them, what distribution has been like, what they plan to do from here, and they'll take questions from the audience.

Sunday, August 2
Session 5: Very American Comedy
Robert Byington ("Harmony and Me," "Registered Sex Offender"), Ben Steinbauer ("Winnebago Man")
The filmmakers behind three of the funniest films in the festival this year, Straight Outta Austin, will present a special class to wrap up our inaugural TCFF Film School. Taking as their subject one of the greatest American comedies of all time, the Coen Brothers' "Raising Arizona," they will lead a lively class about funny business in the movies. This session is rated PG-13 by the Austin Filmmakers Association of America.

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