Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF) founder and president Michael Moore announced dates for the 14th annual edition, running July 31 to August 5, along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay Traverse City, Michigan.

Joseph Beyer

Moore also announced that former Sundance Institute staff member and Michigan native Joseph Beyer has joined the nonprofit organization as its new executive director.

TCFF is one of the most popular events in Michigan, and the 2018 program is expected to bring more than 100,000 admissions from around the world.

Moore personally hosts and programs the festival every year, introducing screenings, moderating panels, and bringing the top talents in the world of film to this small lakeside community. His spirit of cinematic teamwork inspires the organization’s 2,000 volunteers who run the acclaimed State and Bijou Theaters year-round and have become the backbone of the festival’s success and growth.

On the announcement of his new pick and local partner as executive director, Moore said, “Joe brings a unique combination of experience, creativity, and passion to this position. We are lucky to have one of the people many of us have admired at the Sundance festival for many years. I’m looking forward to working with Joe as we continue to make Traverse City a premier destination for people from all over who value outstanding independent films and everything they bring to our lives.”

Beyer has relocated from Los Angeles, where he served the Sundance Institute for more than 14 years, most recently as director of digital initiatives, leading strategy, creative development, and operation of digital content, social media, and special institute projects including the launch of the #ArtistServices distribution think tank, the Short Film Challenge with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the first-ever collaboration with Kickstarter, which raised millions of dollars for filmmakers and their projects.

In 2016 he joined The Redford Center as director of marketing and distribution and previously worked at Warner Bros. and the MPRM agency in an early career almost exclusively devoted to film festivals and connecting audiences to new work. He was born and raised in West Michigan and spent summers in Leland during his youth.

He will report directly to Moore and the festival’s esteemed Board of Directors. He has already begun working with staff veterans Susan Fisher and Meg Weichman, who have been managing the organization since previous executive director Deb Lake’s departure late last year.

Tickets for the 14th annual edition will go on sale July 21 at and are expected to sell out, but TCFF Friends of the Festival will be able to beat the public with advance sales starting July 15. To become a Friend, sign up online, call 231-392-1134, or email 

On Sunday evening, April 22, Moore will introduce Beyer to the Traverse City community at a special event to raise funds for the State Theatre. In addition to a conversation on stage, Beyer will present a special sneak preview screening of one of the top documentaries from this year’s Sundance Film Festival. As it is also Moore’s birthday, everyone in attendance will get cake. Tickets for the event can be found here or at the State Theatre box office. 

—Press release provided by Traverse City Film Festival

Explore Traverse City

Photo(s) by Traverse City Film Festival