The Traverse City Film Festival is the result of years of undying enthusiasm and devotion to the screen arts. It started with lunch meetings at restaurants around Traverse City between Michael Moore, Doug Stanton and John Robert Williams, who hatched a plan to host a world-class film festival in Traverse City and to renovate the State Theatre.

With the restored theater functioning as home plate, the first Traverse City Film Festival took place in 2005 with great success. Now, the Northern Michigan festival is hailed as one of the most highly-praised film festivals in the nation and continues to draw larger and larger crowds with each passing year.

The Main Event: Screenings at the Traverse City Film Festival

The festival hosts tons of screenings throughout Traverse City all week long. Free movies are shown outside at the Open Space, and other venues include City Opera House, Old Town Playhouse, State Theatre, the Bijou and more—all in or near downtown Traverse City.

Panels and Parties

The Film Festival allows the public to experience and celebrate film in an incredibly up-close and intimate way seldom found on any other platform. Make the most of this opportunity by attending film panels, which feature speakers ranging from local filmmakers to Hollywood icons, or by dressing up and heading to one of the parties hosted by the Traverse City Film Festival.

Learn Something

For those with aspirations of one day showing their own films on the big screen, the Traverse City Film Festival provides invaluable opportunities to learn from accomplished filmmakers in a classroom setting. Sponsored by Northwestern Michigan College, Film School is a can’t-miss event.

Volunteer or Donate

The festival is always looking for volunteers to help the event run smoothly. All volunteers are celebrated with their own party the Monday following the festival. It’s a great way to interact with the film community, as well as to gain special access to certain screenings and experiences. If you’d like to make a donation toward the future of the Traverse City Film Festival, you can either sponsor the festival or become a friend of the festival. Both include special showings and tickets to specific parties during the Northern Michigan event.

Traverse City Film Festival

Photo(s) by Kathryn Davis