TRAVERSE CITY — The 9th Annual Traverse City Film Festival was the “biggest and best festival” ever, breaking all records.
A total 123 of 188 screenings sold out. Admissions over the six-day festival totaled 119,000, up 28,000 from last year.
About 1,500 volunteers worked more than 20,000 hours, including 250 volunteer managers who worked full-time during festival week.
“This year we worked harder than ever to provide a fun and affordable festival for everyone, no matter their budget,” said Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning filmmaker and festival founder. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy just great movies in one of the most beautiful areas of the country.”
The festival presented 102 feature films, 52 shorts in seven program 10 film school sessions, 10 cinema salon outdoor movie discussions, seven free industry panels, seven parties and a podcast with comedian Doug Benson. Ninety filmmakers from four continents also accompanied from four continents to northern Michigan.
More than 80 musicians from the United States, Israel, Argentina, Australia and Canada performed 250 different sets before screenings at theater venues, parties, and the new Clinch Park Music stage.
A combination on 150 American and foreign films, mostly sunny and moderate weather, helpful volunteers and BATA drivers, and the festival’s growing reputation made for a great week, according to film-goers Sunday as they stood in lines at downtown venues.
They had few suggestions when asked what they would do to improve the festival, even those who mentioned the ticket ordering process.
In fact, the question mostly generated praise for volunteers, the shuttle buses, and Moore and Deb Lake, the festival’s executive director.
“I’ve thought about it at times, but they do a such a good job of making it all work,” said David Manthei as he and wife Karen stood in line at the City Opera House. They had volunteered at the Filmmaker’s Party the night before.