Traverse City Events: 2013 Traverse City Film Festival Line Up


2012 | USA | PG-13 | 82 min.

In 2010, a SeaWorld trainer was killed while performing with notorious orca whale Tilikum, who was already responsible for two other human deaths since being captured nearly three decades earlier. In this searing documentary, filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite takes Tilikum’s tragic story as a case study in a larger examination of the practice of keeping killer whales in captivity, using testimony from animal behaviorists and numerous ex-SeaWorld trainers to launch an attack against the practice of keeping these creatures for entertainment. As suspenseful as any thriller, this mesmerizing film offers a harrowing but necessary look into the lives of uncommonly intelligent animals in captivity which challenges us to reconsider our relationship with nature.

Wed 3 pm Lars Hockstad Auditorium| Milliken Auditorium

The Central Park Five

2012 | USA | NR | 119 min.

On a spring night in 1989, a young white woman from New York’s Upper East Side was assaulted and raped in Central Park. With the city’s residents and media demanding swift justice, the NYPD was quick to round up a group of five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem, and after grueling interrogations, coerce confessions out of each of them – in spite of scant evidence to link the group to the crime. Masterfully directed by Ken Burns, along with his daughter Sarah and her husband David McMahon, this riveting documentary chronicles the Central Park Jogger case through archival footage and interviews with the Five following their eventual exoneration after years in prison, and offers a hard look at our system of justice in a city divided on race and class lines.

Wed 3 pm Old Town Playhouse | Fri 12 noon Bijou by the Bay

Citizen Koch 

2012 | USA | NR | 87 min.

In 2010, the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Citizens United v. FEC lifted a century-long restriction on corporate election spending, marking a new era in the ability of the wealthy – and immensely wealthy in particular – to cast their influence over the American political sphere, threatening democracy as we know it. Filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin (“Trouble the Water,” TCFF ‘08) shine a light on the aftermath of the ruling by following the standoff between Wisconsin state employees and Republican Governor Scott Walker, who was bankrolled by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch. This politically charged doc recently had its funding cut by PBS, who feared that by showing the film they would upset David Koch – one of PBS affiliate WNET’s largest contributors. In Person: Directors Carl Deal & Tia Lessin.

Sat 12 noon State Theatre | Sun 6 pm Old Town Playhouse

Dirty Wars

2012 | USA | NR | 86 min.

Equal parts political thriller and high-stakes investigation, this powerhouse documentary follows reporter Jeremy Scahill as he ventures into uncharted territory to uncover the rise of the JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command), a powerful wing of the US military engaged in operations in hidden corners of the globe. Scahill first caught wind of the JSOC while reporting on a night raid gone tragically wrong in a remote area of Afghanistan, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. As he digs deeper, a portrait of a far-reaching covert battle with a “kill list” that stretches over 45 countries emerges. This fearless and uncompromising exposé brings to light the chilling realities of modern war and its profound consequences for citizens around the world.

Wed 9 pm Bijou by the Bay | Sun 3 pm Milliken Auditorium 

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