When the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF) kicks off its sixth annual presentation of “just great movies,” faculty members from the University of Michigan will have a major impact on the proceedings. U-M representatives will lend their skills and insights as jurors, panelists, and moderators, and their participation this year marks the beginning of what both the school and festival organizers hope is a long-term relationship.
Documentary and narrative films will unspool before audiences from Tuesday, July 27 through Sunday, August 1. Michael Moore founded TCFF in 2005 and the award-winning filmmaker and Flint native has seen his creation quickly garner plenty of attention inside and outside the United States. Moore says he welcomes this new partnership with U-M. “Along with our goal of becoming a major international film festival, we can now draw on the educational support of the University of Michigan to lend its support to our educational initiatives. We celebrate great filmmaking,” adds Moore, “but also want to offer opportunities for the general public to deepen its appreciation of film.”
Picturesque downtown Traverse City is the backdrop for TCFF, whose broad mix of independent cinema has played a significant role in brightening the spotlight on Michigan as a place to make and exhibit films. That momentum built steadily ever since the state passed major tax incentives in 2008, with numerous film and TV productions currently shooting, or coming soon.
The city of Ann Arbor and U-M itself have played host to eight feature films over the past two years, and the university wants more filmmakers to set up their gear on campus. Lee Doyle directs the school’s film office, and says TCFF has helped filmmakers around the world understand why the Great Lake State is a natural setting for their creative vision. “With the university’s participation,” says Doyle, “we can set our sights on providing a ‘gateway experience’ to our students, and foster the further development of the state’s fledgling film industry.” The general public also can become immersed in the art of filmmaking at the festival’s on-location film school, where U-M faculty will provide training in acting and screenwriting. At future TCFF events, the school will help with an international student short film competition and will set up its own camp for aspiring filmmakers.
Peruse the Traverse City Film Festival schedule, how to purchase tickets, ways of getting to Traverse City, and other helpful information by visiting the TCFF website.