TRAVERSE CITY —
Movies in this year's Traverse City Film Festival come from Germany, France, Sweden — and Detroit.
At least five films in this year's lineup have Detroit ties. The opening night movie "Searching for Sugar Man" is about a Detroit musician who never made it in his hometown, but years later became a hit in South Africa during the apartheid uprisings.
It's one of the movies festival founder Michael Moore thinks will stick with people.
"They'll still be thinking about it six months from now," Moore said from New York on Thursday. This year's festival is scheduled for July 31-Aug. 5. The lineup for the eighth year of the event is in a special section in today's Record-Eagle.
"Burn," about Detroit firefighters, also will be screened, as will "Detropia," about the rise, fall and — hopefully — resurgence of Detroit. A short film, "After the Factory," contrasts Detroit and Lodz, Poland. The premiere of "Hit and Run" features two Michigan natives — Dax Shepard and Kristin Bell — who will both be in Traverse City for the festival.
German filmmaker Wim Wenders also will be here. Wenders' movies being shown in Traverse City include "Wings of Desire" (1987), "Buena Vista Social Club" (1999) and a 55-minute collection of short films.
Open Space movies shown nightly at dusk include: "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" on Aug. 1; "Rebel Without a Cause" Aug. 2; "When Harry Met Sally ..." Aug. 3; and "Wall*E" on Aug. 4. The July 31 Open Space movie will be people's choice; vote at traversecityfilmfest.org. Nominees are "Across the Universe," "Beetlejuice," "Fantasic Mr. Fox," "Footloose" (1984), "From Russia with Love" and "Sixteen Candles." Write-ins also are welcome.
A big change with this year's lineup is that only four of the 101 films are on actual film, Moore said. The rest are digital.
"Film is dead," Moore said.
"It's bad for the art," he said. "We don't need to hurry things. It's too easy to hit the delete button." Plus, he said, only the "big blockbusters" will be preserved, meaning independent and foreign films and documentaries may become obsolete just a few years after they're made because the formats have changed.
That said, there are several films in this year's festival that are timely and relevant, mainly because they were able to be made quickly, including several about the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Other movies that could be sleeper hits, according to Moore, are "Don't Stop Believin'," a documentary about the band Journey, and two that will leave "searing images" with viewers — "5 Broken Cameras," about a Palestinian man and his peaceful resistance against Israelis, and "The Flat," about a filmmaker clearing out his grandmother's apartment.
Tickets for general admission movies are $10 each. Kids Fest movies are $1. Film school classes are $5. Panels, Open Space movies and the Kids Fest lawn party are free. Parties and special screenings are $25-$50.
The film festival box office is at 125 E. Park St. Tickets go on sale to Friends of the Film Festival at 11 a.m July 15 for walk-up and phone sales, and 6 p.m. for online sales. Public ticket sales begin at 11 a.m. on July 21.
The 2011 film festival had 128,000 admissions, both ticketed and free, executive director Deb Lake said. That was 20,000 more than the 2010 festival.