Sunday, July 24, 2011

Traverse City: my picks & more

I’m surprised by how quickly films have been selling out at the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF). By early last week there were already a substantial number of screenings sold out. And a tally today found more than 65 sell outs of the more than 175 screenings (some repeats) in the festival that opens tomorrow and runs until Sunday. This seems to be Michigan’s film fest alright! Perhaps I could venture to say it’s also Detroit’s film festival as southeastern Michigan doesn’t have a mainstream festival of this type. So let's all head north! (or "Up North" in the Michigan colloquial).....In any case, this isn’t necessarily a criticism. But there are few premiers at the TCFF. Rather this a collection of mostly recently made films many of which have been screened at art houses over the past 12 months. These include the Princess of Montpensier (Bertrand Tavernier), Made in Dagenham (Nigel Cole), Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog), Incendies (Denis Villeneuve), Bill Cunningham New York (Richard Press). The Trip (Michael Winterbottom), In a Better World (Susanne Bier) – well, you get the idea. But the festival’s original aim is “to bring often-undistributed national and international films to film lovers”..... There will in fact be world premieres of Habanastation (Ian Padron) and Brothers on the Line (Sasha Reuther) and there are a smattering of Michigan and “Midwest” premieres.....Several classics have been thrown into the mix including To Kill a Mockingbird (Robert Mulligan, 1962), Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936) and The Front (Martin Ritt, 1976).....Here are my festival picks: Young Goethe in Love (Philipp Stölz, 2010), Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog 2010), The Swell Season (Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins, Carlo Mirabella-Davis 2011), All Good Things (Andrew Jarecki 2010), The Women on the 6th Floor (Philippe Le Guay 2010), Project Nim (James Marsh 2011), Romantics Anonymous (Jean-Pierre Améris 2010),
Queen to Play (Caroline Bottaro 2009), My Piece of the Pie (Cédric Klapisch 2011).....And several documentaries  warrant attention: Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
(Mary Murphy 2010), An Encounter with Simone Weil (Julia Haslett 2010), PressPausePlay (David Dworsky, Victor Köhler 2011) and Visionaries (Chuck Workman 2010).....For more details on these films as well as assorted general info and – if you're thinking of attending – to purchase tickets go to

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