Monday, July 18, 2011

Traverse City announces films

The seventh annual Traverse City Film Festival has announced its list of films, and it looks wide-ranging with a strong mix of domestic, foreign, classic, documentaries, shorts and animations. This will be my first visit to the festival running July 26 - 31 in Michigan’s vacation heartland the beautiful Traverse City and environs.....There will be a solid 150 films screened, the most ever. New this year is an experimental film venue in the Dutmers Theatre. This will also be the first of five TC festivals in which a 100-year-old film will be shown, an Italian feature L’Inferno (1911) based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. There will be a special tribute to Roy Rogers who would have turned 100 years old this year. Some of his family have been invited and two of his classics Under Western Stars and Don’t Fence Me In will be screened.....This fest is Michigan native and filmmaker Michael Moore’s baby so expect some degree of films veering to the political. Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi will be honorary chair and perhaps his most famous film The White Balloon will be screened. Panahi is under house arrest in Iran so couldn’t attend Traverse City......This is the silver anniversary of the Great Flint Sit Down Strike and there will be tributes including the documentary Brothers on the Line about the Reuther Brothers and the UAW. And organizers have literally doubled the outdoor screen in the Open Space to 100 feet (about ten stories high and wide) where there will be free nightly screenings on Grand Traverse Bay and up to 15,000 can attend. I can’t think of a better outdoor location - talk about starry nights in more ways than one. The screenings include a rare outdoor showing of George Lucas’s The Empire Strikes Back.....Otherwise there are five theatres and a shuttle bus system to carry you from one to another.....The entire event looks like a well-oiled logistical machine located in a great vacation city and served-up in a general feel good atmosphere. I can’t wait to attend if only for a few days.....I’ll have more about the festival in coming days. Meanwhile check out TCFF’s web site

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