Your Week at the Traverse City Film Festival (Must-See Movies + Restaurants)

The Traverse City Film Festival has an impressive lineup of cinematic creations for viewers of all ages. You won’t want to miss Northern Michigan’s movie event of the year. Here’s a look at day 4 of Traverse City’s highly touted film festival along with a few tips as to where you ought to eat and the films you’ve just got to see.

Pro tip: Did you know you can shuttle to movie venues and restaurants for free? Park your car and leave it!

(Your complete guide to Traverse City restaurants!)


Day 4: Friday, July 28

It’s Day 4 of the Traverse City Film Fest, but don’t fret! There are still plenty of amazing films left to be seen. Starting the day at 9 a.m., Shorts: Inside Flint will be playing at Central High Auditorium. It includes three short programs by Flint students, Michigan State students and award-winning journalists. Also at 9 a.m. is Manifesto playing at Bijou by the Bay, a foreign fiction with a single woman playing 13 different roles in this conceptual and artistic piece.

The centerpiece gala, Step, will be playing today at 6 p.m. at the State Theatre. It tells an inspiring story of a high school dance group climbing to the top while dealing with the day to day struggles of being black students in Baltimore. Unfortunately, this feature is already sold out. If this movie is a must-see for you, which it definitely deserves to be, still come out and get in the standby line. Many people are often able to get in without a reserved ticket. Don’t give up!

If you don’t feel like taking the standby line risk, head over to Bijou by the Bay for their 6 p.m. feature, The Chocolate CaseThis foreign documentary explores the realities of child slavery surrounding the chocolate business and follows journalists who fight against it. You might stop buying chocolate after watching this one.

At 9 p.m. at the Old Town Playhouse, Infinity Baby is sure to get some wows and some laughs. Starring Nick Offerman, the movie takes place in a time when affluent couples can purchase low-maintenance babies that never age.

At dusk, What About Bob? will be playing at the Open Space starring the hilarious Bill Murray.

Nearby Food Venues:

Old Time Playhouse

State Theatre, City Opera House, and Bijou By the Bay

You can find the entire film schedule for Friday, July 28 here!


Day 3: Thursday, July 27

Day 3 at the Traverse City Film Festival is perfect for kids. Starting at 9:30 a.m. Shorts For Kids 6+ will be screening 10 different short films at Bijou by the Bay. At the same time at Kirkbride, filmmakers and directors will be talking about their trials and tribulations at the What’s Up Doc? panel discussion.

Around noon, stick around Bijou for a screening of Farewell, the true story of an ex-KGB agent who leaked information to the west during the Cold War. Or, wander over to the NMC Scholars Hall for the film school’s Make it Weird: Experimental Audio and Video class where they’ll show you unique ways to craft and tweak sounds.

At 2:45 p.m. the film school will also be hosting their Young Filmmakers Workshop where they’ll help your kids create their own claymation animation films that will be shown on Saturday!

For the next few hours, the night is for you. Enjoy plenty of screenings at all of the film festival’s venues including a fan favorite, Doug Loves Movies Podcast at the Old Town Playhouse with comedian Doug Benson. But, they haven’t forgotten the kids! At the Nauti-Cat the screening of The Red Turtle will captivate your child’s imagination.

Catch Snow White and the Seven Doors at the Open Space.

Nearby Food Venues:

You can find the entire film schedule for Thursday, July 27 here!


Day 2: Wednesday, July 26

Day 2 of the Traverse City Film Festival begins bright and early with films screening at almost every venue starting at 9 a.m., including The Wedding Plan at the State Theater, Cause of Death: Unknown at Old Town Playhouse and Austerlitz at Dutmers. Along with films, Kirkbride Hall hosts the first director’s panel of the festival at 9:30 a.m, ONE GREAT MOVIELOVER CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. Look for more screenings at noon, like Ice Mother at the State Theater about a widowed mother who still finds her passion and love of life.

Want to be a filmmaker in Michigan? Head over to NMC Scholars Hall for a Film School discussion with professional filmmakers about how to legally protect your ideas and how to bring together a production team. At 3 p.m., Film School will also be hosting a discussion on how to develop your movie and take the next steps.

By 6 p.m. movies will have been screened all across the venues and a party is required! Hotel Indigo hosts The Woz Party celebrating a fantastic year for the new venue. Admission is free, and there will be apps, ‘zerts and a cash bar!

Several interesting films appear at 9 p.m., like The Young Karl Marx at Kirkbride about, you guessed it, the young life of the brilliant philosopher. Also showing at 9 p.m. will be the award winning La, La Land at the Open Space Outdoor Cinema for free!

The night isn’t over yet, there will be one more screening at the State Theater at 11:59 p.m. of Raw. If you like meat, mashing, gory horror films then you have to stay up for this.

Nearby Food Venues:

You can find the entire film schedule for Wednesday, July 26 here


Day 1: Tuesday, July 25

It’s opening night of the Film Festival, which means it’s time to roll out the red carpet and get ready for a night of dancing and good food under the Traverse City night sky. Grab your favorite guy or gal and head over to Front Street for a night of celebration and great movies.

Start your date night at the glowing State Theatre for a 6 p.m. showing of I, Daniel Blake also playing at the City Opera House at 7:30 p.m. (there’s another show at the State at 10 p.m). After the movie, stick around for the Opening Night Party. At 8:30 p.m. Front Street will shut down and the stars will come out. With your all-access passes, you and your date will share some of the best food, beer and wine Traverse City has to offer during this red carpet evening. Tickets are $50.

If the party isn’t your scene, the classic comedy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, will be screened at the Open-Space Outdoor Cinema for free at 9 p.m. (Find more free films here!)

Other Movies We Want to See:

  • Long Strange Trip,Dutmers at the Dennos Museum, 9 a.m., music documentary on the history and legacy of the Grateful Dead.
  • Gilbert, Nauti-cat, 9 p.m. the unknown life of Gilbert Gottfried, stand-up comic and voice of Iago in “Aladdin,” and the Aflack Duck.

Nearby Food Venues:


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