Monday, August 1, 2011

Traverse City's organization impressive

The Traverse City Film Festival was great. I was able to catch the last three days of it. What was amazing was the degree of community participation. There were upwards of 1500 volunteers for a city with a metropolitan population of just over 140,000. All the volunteers I saw were eminently helpful and friendly. In fact they went out of their way. For example, when I arrived to collect media credentials and a volunteer did not have them at her disposal she quickly phoned the festival office. Five minutes later two smiling interns arrived having walked (it wouldn’t have surprised me if they had run) from two or three blocks away with my media kit and tickets.....This is not just the friendliest festival I’ve attended but it’s also one that seems the most well thought out. For example, screens in auditoriums are placed high so that even in traditional theatres with relatively flat floors few audience members had obstructed views because someone tall was sitting in front of them. There was also on-screen notices informing ticket holders to be quiet when leaving theatres at night in residential neighbourhoods so as not to disturb area residents. Volunteers also passed out blue festival umbrellas for temporary use for ticket holders as they were waited in line under a blistering summer sun. Staff even made it easy to clean up after yourself when movies were over. You didn’t have to put your plastic bottles in a recycling bin though there were plenty of them. You just had to place garbage on a table outside the theatre and staff would collect and dispose of it. The bus shuttle system also seemed efficient though we didn’t make use of it. All the theatres are clustered in the relatively small downtown - and therefore easily walkable from one to the other - with the exception of Milliken Auditorium at Northwestern Michigan College on the city's eastern outskirts.....In fact the festival was so good naturedly friendly it made you feel it would be rude to not respond in kind. Now that’s what human relations should be all about!.....More on the TCFF tomorrow including festival founder and movie director Michael Moore’s “surprise.”

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