Today we announce 150+ films that will appear at this summer’s 9th annual Traverse City Film Festival. It’s an incredible list of new American and foreign movies plus the best documentaries of the coming year. And we’ve got great classics and tributes and lots of surprises. There’s something for everyone here in Traverse City, with one guaranteed promise: we’re the people who show just great movies! I can’t wait for you to see what we’ve found from our cinematic travels around the world.
This year you’ll find a range of movies that will take you from a hilarious romantic comedy in Spain and a harrowing World War II drama in Amsterdam to a woman who wants to be the Madonna of Korea and a man who wants to play OJ in a musical. And we have an abundance of documentaries that will turn your head, make it spin, drive you crazy and then inspire you to get up and dance.
Joining us in person will be the great British filmmaker Michael Apted, the Broadway legend Elaine Stritch, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and the groundbreaking director Rob Epstein. Other surprise guests and films will be announced in the next two weeks.
Most importantly, we will have the opening of our second brand new indie theater here in Traverse City, operated year-round by the TCFF. It’s called the Bijou by the Bay and it sits behind the State (on the Bay!). I encourage you to catch a film in this beautifully-restored Traverse City landmark that was originally built in the 1930s as part of the Roosevelt Administration’s New Deal.
You’ll notice other new additions to the Traverse City Film Festival this year: select FREE Compliments of the Festival screenings at the Bijou and at Dutmers Theater, evening panels at the Cinema Salon in Clinch Park and a newbie program for first-time festival attendees.
So go online now (or pick up today’s Traverse City Record-Eagle for a full-color printed guide) and see the amazing line up we have for you this year. Ticketing starts next Sunday, July 14 for Friends of the Film Festival (public sales begin Saturday, July 20), so take the week to make your list, and try to see as many of these great movies as you can.
Looking forward to seeing all of you here in Traverse City!
President and Founder
Traverse City Film Festival
P.S. As always, I want to point out some special films that I fear many may make the mistake of over-looking because they may seem too “different” or “hard” or “foreign.” While each film in this guide is exceptional, please don’t miss these “Under the Radar” movies which you’ll only see in TC.
“Propaganda” - No film festival has had the courage – or been crazy enough – to show this “North Korean Propaganda Film.” But we will. Be the first American to say you saw it!
“56 Up” - The latest in the series of documentaries about the lives of a half-dozen British children. They were 7 years old when the series started in 1964, and every seven years since, acclaimed director Michael Apted has made a movie about where they are at in their lives. It is nothing short of fascinating. Roger Ebert called the combined series “one of the 10 best films of all time.” See the latest in the series at the State with the director in person – and watch the entire series over at Dutmers Theater this week!
“Wadjda” - Some believe this will be the guaranteed hit of our festival this year, like “Searching for Sugar Man” was last year. This is the first ever feature-length movie made by a woman Saudi director, and it’s a great movie! You’ll fall in love with this 11-year-old girl growing up in Riyadh, and her pursuit of freedom in the form of a bicycle.
“The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology” - Every year I bring at least one film for very smart people. As that includes most of you, please don’t fight in line over the tickets to this movie. If you love philosophy, psychology and the movies, and have wondered why capitalism is the beast that just won’t die, this mind-f*** of a movie has been brought here just for you. (Note: there are no perverts in this film.)
“Fanie Fourie’s Lobola” - Huh? What’s this title say? I dunno. But it’s maybe the sweetest romantic film in the fest. Set in South Africa, a white boy and a black girl fall in love – and it’s funny. Go see it. (While watching it recently, with Nelson Mandela clinging to life as we go to press, I was truly moved by this story from a country that was the poster child for racism not too long ago.)
“The First Movie” - Oh man, what a beaut of a film! The great Mark Cousins (maker of the 16-hour “The Story of Film,” TCFF’12) returns to TCFF with a documentary about his attempt to set up the first (outdoor) movie theater in a small village in the Kurdish section of northern Iraq. The power of film and its effects on people is front and center in this moving documentary.
“Citizen Koch” - The most important film no American should miss. Find out why the Citizens United decision that lets corporations buy elections poses the single greatest threat to our democracy. A must.
“Orenthal: The Musical” - Orenthal, as in OJ Simpson? Yup. The film I wish I woulda made, and one of the best comedies in the festival.
“The Act of Killing” - They were the torturers and murderers who ran the genocide in Indonesia back in the 20th century. Now they are old men, still in power in their country. The director of this documentary asked them to show him how they did their killing, and they agree, and then proceed to do so with frightening glee. Think Goebbels giving you a tour of how the German ovens ran, and how the gas showers worked even better! Shocking. Weird. Real.
Afghanistan War Films - Oh yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “I just can’t get ENOUGH of more movies about America’s longest war ever!” Yeah, me too. But just when other filmmakers and I felt we’d said everything that needs to be said about this mess, along came new films this year that blew my mind and took me to places I didn’t expect to go. From the esoteric, experimental genius of a film “Far From Afghanistan,” to the sarcastically blunt “This Is What Winning Looks Like,” to the damning expose of this war’s “My Lai” massacre, “Dirty Wars,” all I can say – in the words of Arthur Miller in “Death of a Salesman” – is “attention must be paid.” Don’t miss these powerful films!
“Much Ado About Nothing” - Best Shakespeare Film of the last decade.