TRAVERSE CITY — Five films in, Joann Christensen and daughter Erin had a three-way tie for their favorite movie — “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” “After the Wedding” and “Guest Artist.”
And they still had two more to go, including the 2019 Traverse City Film Festival’s closing night gala, “Blinded by the Light.”
“This one, we’re kind of unfamiliar with, (but) just the Bruce Springsteen aspect, that’s exciting,” Erin said of the film while standing in line for its 6 p.m. Sunday showing.
Joann and Erin — from Davison and Ann Arbor respectively — attend Film Fest every other year. Four fests in, they’ve got their routine — of grabbing something from Brew and eating it in line — down pat, Erin said.
It’s the wonderful films that keep them coming back, Joann said.
“There’s so many films to choose from,” she said. “It’s just exciting.”
The only suggestion for a change the pair has is to dedicate more volunteers to line regulation at the busier venues, Joann and Erin said.
The Christensens weren’t the only ones to enjoy the films, though — Film Fest Creative Director Meg Weichman said average audience scores are up from last year.
“For Sama” — which won the Grand Prize for Best Film and was audience’s favorite nonfiction film — had scores that were “out of the park,” Weichman said.
“There were like three standing ovations,” she said. “It’s a very powerful film, highly recommended.”
This year’s Film Fest overall was successful, Weichman said. Everyone was really upbeat with great energy at the various venues, she said.
“It was happy and I think that was infectious,” she said.
There were two “Mike’s Surprise” this year — Saturday was a showing of “Booksmart,” while Sunday’s surprise remains a mystery except to those who attended.
The film’s title can’t be publicized because Film Fest was given a sneak peak preview by Sony Pictures Classics studio, Weichman said. It hasn’t yet premiered and attendees were asked to not post about it, “otherwise we can’t get things like this again,” she said.
Helping to close out the night was “Mary Poppins Returns” at the Open Space. The 130-minute movie coincided with Kids Fest, both free.
Weichman, when asked by the Record-Eagle about ticket sales, said Film Fest attendance numbers wouldn’t be available until Monday.