Michael Moore Plans Future Traverse City Film Festivals

by Edwin L. Carpenter – Associate Editor, The Dove Foundation

Editors Note:  Many of the films referenced in this article have not received Dove’s “Family-Approved” Seal.  We are in no way encouraging people to see these films.

Michael Moore was deeply involved in the recent second annual Traverse City Film Festival. The festival included such diverse films as “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures,” to “Son of Man,” a modern film set in Southern Africa. The films ranged in time periods from 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz,” to 2006’s “Scoop.” Moore spoke from the State Theatre in Traverse City where he announced the festival might run over a period of two weekends next summer.

Moore introduced the film “L’America,” and he answered questions for approximately ten minutes beforehand. The Dove Foundation was on hand to hear from the man who has brought this hugely popular film festival to Michigan.

As he bounded toward the microphone someone yelled out, “How ya doing?” “I’ve lost ten pounds!” he said and he was greeted with cheers and applause. Moore comes across as a funny but intelligent man, and he took the time to thank the Traverse City Fire Department, which had helped out in dealing with the large numbers of people attending the theatre.

Moore, famous for his documentary films such as “Roger and Me,” and “Bowling for Columbine,” as well as the controversial “Farenheit 9/11,” is not resting on his laurels.  “My next film will be called ‘Sicko’ and it’s a comedy about the health care system,” he said, and the audience cheered once more. He broke up the audience again as he mentioned that the film, another documentary, “will be in color and in English.” A lot of the films at the festival were black and white and NOT in English. Films such as the modern gospel story “Son of Man,” had subtitles.

When Moore mentioned there had been discussions about going back to the format of the first festival, which ran over a period of four days, the comment was greeted with groans. His comment that the festival might run over a period of two weekends was met with clapping. He added that another auditorium might be made available next year for the various screenings. There were three theatres and an open space used for the screenings this year. The State Theatre, the City Opera House, and the Old Town Playhouse were the theatres used to host the various movies at the film festival.

The tentative date for the third annual Traverse City Film Festival is July 27 and lasting to August 5, 2007. Moore plans for it to be a ten-day event. “We’ll talk about it,” he said, and then added, “No talking really, because I plan to control everything!” When he was asked if he planned to enlarge the boundary of where the films are shown, he said, “Yes, we might even expand it as far north as Petoskey!” Most people there recognized this as Moore’s humor kicking in once more and laughter filled the theatre again. “Right now we like the small town, home town feel of this and we want you to be able to walk to all of the movies and park your car for the day.” More cheers and clapping erupted as the audience seemed to very much embrace this characteristic of the film festival.”

It was pointed out by one audience member that some of the film discussion panels take place during the times of the morning films and she asked if this could be changed. “Yes, we have decided to change the time to 7 am!” Moore joked. He then seriously said that the panel discussions might be changed to 11 am so people who watch late films the night before have more time to rest the following morning. “Even though we schedule some of the movies at the same time as the panels, you’ll have other chances to see those movies as we expand them by extra venues for an extra day or two.”

In fact, several of the films which screened at this year’s festival were available to view twice at different times and on different days. Included in this lot was “Son of Man,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Moore gladly offered a few titles of films which he recommended for others to see which opened this year, films which he liked himself. “V for Vendetta,” “Flight 93,” and every film that’s in this film festival!” he said. Speaking of films he likes, Moore added that it is his goal to get copies of the films which are shown at the festival into public libraries.

He was publicly thanked for creating the Traverse City Film Festival, and he said he was pleased to bring films he had enjoyed to the festival for others to be able to see. He said he has always enjoyed going to the movies and his favorite film is “A Clockwork Orange,” which screened at the festival.

Set against the beautiful background of Traverse City, the film festival seems to have ingrained itself in the public eye and the community. People who wish to become “friends” of the festival can donate as little as $25 to the festival and will be allowed to purchase tickets to next year’s festival a full week early. The website is found at www.traversecityfilmfest.org

The Dove Foundation’s newest Board member, Rich Brauer, is also on the Board of the Traverse City Film Festival.  Dove is currently working with Mr. Brauer on the possibility of adding a family category or Dove Family-Approved category to the Traverse City Film Festival.  We will keep you posted on the progress as it develops.