Traverse City Film Festival 2012: Susan Sarandon didn’t know our lakes had sand and she’s jonesing for one of our pies. Michael Moore quipped about having a man-crush on Clint Eastwood. 

Oh yeah, and the pair of friends/activists/film celebrities moved from chatting about 9/11, gun control, gender roles, our fear-based culture, who controls the media, drone missiles and mourning for Gore Vidal for nearly two hours at the City Opera House in Traverse City.  At one point Sarandon teared recalling how someone once walked past her as she was nursing her baby and called her a communist **** for her political views. The occasion was the first panel discussion of the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival. Sarandon is in Traverse City to receive the Traverse City Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.

Every seat in the Opera House was filled and still over 200 people lined up around the block of Front and Union since early morning had to be turned away. They didn’t leave completely disappointed however: Sarandon and Moore took time to meet and greet before their onstage appearance. “I give good alley,” Sarandon joked.

Inside the Opera House the Ping-Pong discussion eventually meandered to Sarandon’s movies, particularly Thelma and Louise (she’s never been able to drive slowly since) and Dead Man Walking (the real Sister Helen recently officiated at Sarandon’s daughter’s wedding). By the time the audience was invited to ask questions the event had turned lovefest-ish with one man standing to tell Sarandon that he’d brought a mug a potter friend of his (and fan of hers) had made for her years before but was never able to deliver it to her.

But then again:  In line waiting for the event, Traverse City retiree Brian Amato reiterated a stance becoming popular with people who have come to love the Traverse City Film Festival, despite Moore’s politics: “Even though lots of us don’t necessarily believe in his politics we appreciate what you’ve done,” he’d said.  Amato left the event early.

Find out more about the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival at!