Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 14, 2012

Film Fest ticket frenzy begins early

BY JODEE TAYLOR
jtaylor@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — Marieta Braun will open her Eurostop café Sunday at 5:30 a.m.

"The last couple days I've been making scones like crazy," she said.

Beginning before dawn, a line is expected to form down Park Street past Braun's Eurostop. That's when Friends of the Traverse City Film Festival will gather to buy tickets that go on sale at 11 a.m.

"Before I was a volunteer I was there at 4:30," said Linda Koebert, State Theatre box office manager.

This year's box office staff — volunteers and interns — is "doubly trained," said Nancy Baker, the festival's communications director. Everyone spent two hours in a Skype session going through the movies with festival founder Michael Moore, "so they can actually act as consultants" and recommend films, she said.

In-person and phone sales begin Sunday at 11 a.m. and online ticket sales begin at 6 p.m. General public tickets go on sale July 21. Most movies cost $10; opening and closing night movies and parties are priced differently.

Movies with known stars tend to sell quickly, said Baker. "Bernie," starring Jack Black, may be a quick seller, but she's more excited about "The Alloy Orchestra presents Hitchcock's Blackmail," which features a live orchestra accompanying a silent thriller. "It's a historical experience," she said.

The phones are "friendlier," than in past years, the ticketing system is custom designed and online sales are more user-friendly, Baker said, all results of comments in multiple surveys conducted by film festival personnel.

"We look at every single response to blogs, surveys and spend painstaking hours going through them," Baker said.

The festival's box office is new this year, too. It's on Park Street halfway between State and Front. The line will head north, past Eurostop, with its scones, coffee, fresh orange juice and more. Ticket-buyers are welcome to use the restrooms and come in out of the heat, said owner Braun.

But those who sleep in won't be shut out, Baker said.

"If you come later, there will still be great movies," she said.