Saturday, July 26, 2008

Traverse City prepares for Film Festival

State Theater in downtown Traverse City, MI.

Today, I received an e-mail from Michael Moore asking that I make it clear that there are many films at the Traverse City Film Festival (29 July - 3 August) not sold out. Since documentary is his passion, he wants to recommend the section, "Movies from People Who Want to Kill Us." They are from Muslim countries and half of the directors are women. Surprised? However, Michael tells me he is concerned about the title of the section, because the people involved in these films definitely do not want to kill us. They want us to see their movies.

Chief among them is BUDDHA COLLAPSED OUT OF SHAME, a powerful documentary screening at the festival, and the debut of 18-year-old Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf. The movie is set in Bamian, a small town in Afghanistan where the Taliban destroyed giant Buddha statues in 2001. Michael says about this film, "A wonderful celebration of the human spirit. My second-favorite film of the festival." Hmmmm. Is he going to tell me his favorite?

Two others in the section are: BAGHDAD HIGH - A group of kids secretly record their life at a Baghdad high school; MY DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT - A [Pakistani] woman decides to invite a dictator to dinner. He accepts. She asks to film it. He agrees.

Michael is also concerned that people will stay away from the documentary ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, "because it is about a heavy metal band [Anvil], and perhaps there aren't that many metalheads among you. You do NOT need to like heavy metal to love this film. Anvil is the band that essentially invented heavy metal -- but they were a couple years too soon. . . . ANVIL is at times is hilarious (these guys are the real life Spinal Tap)."

ANVIL, the movie, directed by Sacha Gervasi, features Steven "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner, not the same as Rob Reiner, the actor known as "Meathead" from TV's All in the Family, director of the movie THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984), and son of the legendary Carl. After the movie on Friday and Saturday night, Anvil [the band] will take the stage and play a set live for the audience.

The historic State theatre in downtown Traverse City, MI, will be dark this weekend (July 25-28) in order to upgrade the already excellent sound system, install a bigger screen, and to permanently install the theater organ in time for the Traverse City Film Festival, mostly thanks to an anonymous donor. Yes, sir, the folks in Traverse City have reason to be excited.

There are some films sold out for the festival, which opens 29 July and runs through 3 August, but dozens are still available. They are available at the walk-up box office located downtown at 300 E Front Street in the Art Center, online, and by phone.
Among the exciting events, Singer / actress / and producer Madonna who, like Michael Moore, is a Michigan native, will appear during the festival for a screening of her documentary, I AM BECAUSE WE ARE, on 2 August. See previous post on this blog for more detail. The event is oversold, but they are trying to add additional screenings of the movie.

The opening movie, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, directed by Woody Allen, is sold out, and the party afterward may be as well. There are still some tickets for writer-director Andrew Fleming's closing movie, HAMLET.

You can read more, and view some video about the Traverse City Film Festival, a.k.a. Michael Moore's Film Festival, and order available tickets online by clicking the title of this post. There is more about the film in this post on my Film Festivals Page II (link on the right sidebar). On that page you will find more information about this festival, and many others. There is always a link to the official Web site for each festival covered on my Film Festivals Page, and you might find it a handy page to bookmark (favorite) for quick reference.

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