Michael Moore revealed the complete lineup of over 200 movies selected to screen at the 12th Traverse City Film Festival taking place July 26 to 31, 2016.
The lineup includes a US section of the festival featuring, narrative and documentary films, Michiganders Make Movies, movies made by people from the hometown state of Michigan, and movies making their World, Midwest, and Michigan premieres.
Other sections include a festival-wide celebration of the State Theatre’s Centennial, with screenings of some of the greatest films to grace the silver screen in Traverse City over the past 100 years.
The festival will hold special events and screenings marking this year’s Presidential election and a worldwide live screening event of Michael Moore’s new film, “Where To Invade Next.”
The festival will also continue the popular offerings like Movies on a Boat, free morning filmmaker panels, Kids Fest, midnight movie interruptions with comedian Doug Benson, The Sidebar: Food on Film, and the TCFF Film School.
12th Traverse City Film Festival Lineup
Michiganders Make Movies
DO NOT RESIST
America has never been better-equipped to go to war with its own citizens. In cities and towns across America, police forces are acquiring military-grade weapons and vehicles to go along with rapidly improving surveillance and facial recognition technology. With incredible access, this eye-opening documentary from director Craig Atkinson (a Royal Oak, MI native) offers an on-the-ground look at the state of American policing—from protests in Ferguson, to heavily-armed SWAT teams issuing warrants, to drug raids in rural communities in the South. We also meet Dave Grossman, America’s number one trainer of US mili-tary and local law enforcement personnel, who specializes in “Killology.” This deeply disturbing film on the rapid militarization of our country’s police force, and the widening gap between citizens and those meant to protect us, impressed Tribeca’s audience so deeply that it won their Audience Award.
Entrepreneurship has reached an all-time low in America—and it’s particularly challenged in economically depressed communities. But as the six real-life stars of “Generation Startup” prove, places like Detroit are still attracting hardworking young people who are willing to risk everything to get their dreams off the ground. Follow six recent college graduates through their day-to-day hurdles, setbacks, successes, hopes, and despairs as they attempt to carve out a career path in Detroit’s growing startup industry. While documenting the would-be moguls’ uphill climbs, the directors also explore an intriguing new identity for Michigan’s struggling metropolis: an innovative launching pad for America’s next great economy-changing ideas. Do you have a business or product idea kicking around in the back of your head? This rousing documentary might just inspire you to take the leap.
MEN OF SPARTA
WALK WITH ME: THE TRIALS OF DAMON J. KEITH
No one can make quiet, small moments feel as cacophonously loud as American auteur Kelly Reichert. In her latest masterpiece, “Certain Women,” she makes them scream with emotion. Pulling you into the intersecting lives of three disparate Montana women—all yearning, all searching, all intoxicatingly complicated—we’re presented with a new vision of the American West, one told with refreshing elegance and grace. A morally-conflicted lawyer (Laura Dern) diffuses a hostage situation; a woman (Michelle Williams) struggles with marital discord unearthed by the process of building a new home; and an ambiguous relationship develops between a ranch hand (Lily Gladstone) and a lawyer (Kristen Stewart) who seems to be out of her league. Together these tales collide with the stark beauty of Reichert’s images, the depth of the phenomenal performances, and consciously low-key drama to form something uniquely marvelous. TCFF is delighted to present this Midwest premiere from one of America’s greatest directors.
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL
FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE
This quietly shattering drama follows Sherwin—played with understated perfection by “Selma” star David Oyelowo—as he reels from the sudden death of his wife. A sense of responsibility sends him to Maine for a visit with his estranged, cancer-ridden mother-in-law (Dianne Wiest). The icy reception he receives hints at a fraught history between mother, daughter, and son-in-law that is gradually revealed during the visit. Expertly handled by writer/ director Maris Curran, “Five Nights in Maine” is a nuanced and naturalistic study of the way we process grief, as well as the unspoken tension that seethes beneath the surface of people whose only connection is gone. Featuring a refreshing performance by Rosie Perez as Lucinda’s home nurse, this film is at once heartbreaking and beautifully full of life.
MY BLIND BROTHER
Starring a veritable who’s-who of comedy stars, Sophie Goodhart’s winning crowd-pleaser puts a refreshing female spin on the slacker-comedy genre that has been almost entirely dominated by male filmmakers. Self-effacing softie Bill (Nick Kroll) has spent his life living in the shadow of his blind brother Robbie (Adam Scott), an over-achiever doted on by his parents and celebrated in the community for his increasingly nutso athletic feats. But Bill sees something behind Robbie’s inspiring heroics that everyone else seems to miss: He’s actually a pompous, intolerable ass. Ever the also-ran, Bill doggedly stands by his brother, thanklessly assisting him even as his own life stays painfully stuck in neutral. But when Bill falls for kindred spirit Rose (Jenny Slate), and a bizarre love triangle begins to develop, his listless existence is given a shot in the arm, and he must decide if he will finally stand up to Robbie. Blending biting cynicism with unabashed sweetness, this quirky romantic comedy about the merits of selfishness is bound to be a festival favorite. It’s charming. It’s eccentric. It’s 86 minutes of thoughtful comic delight.
If you’ve ever tried to pay a bill or get tech support over the phone, then you know: Automated answering systems are the absolute worst. “Operator” asks: What if humans could create one that works perfectly? That’s the task facing Joe (Martin Starr, HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) when he is charged with programming the algorithm for a health care company’s answering system. Joe struggles to find the perfect voice for the program—until he realizes that the soothing tones of his wife Emily (Mae Whitman, TV’s “Parenthood”), a hotel desk clerk, are an ideal match. But as he builds the system, his interactions with the automated “Emily”—always agreeable, always right there when he needs her—start to replace his real marriage. A film that will appeal to anyone who loved “Her,” Login Kibens’ “Operator” is a brilliant, funny, and painfully timely skewering of our tech-dependent world.
WOMEN WHO KILL
ALL THIS PANIC
What’s it like to come of age in the city that never sleeps? Shot over the course of three years, this warm and intimate documentary follows teenage sisters Ginger and Dusty and their friends as they navigate New York City during the tenuous time surrounding the high school to college transition. The film’s dreamy cinematography perfectly captures the beauty and truth of these young women, who candidly and vulnerably discuss struggles with family, identity, friendship, and everything that inspires panic—from what to wear on the first day of junior year to mentally unstable parents who lose their jobs. The strength, resilience, and strange wisdom of these brave teens will instill you with new hope for the next generation.
AUDRIE & DAISY
Audrie and Daisy are like most teenage American girls: They come from loving families, go to good schools, spend time on social media. And sometimes, at parties with their friends, they drink. After nights of binge drinking, both Audrie and Daisy were assaulted by boys they knew—assaults that continued the morning after on social media, where they were accused of having somehow been responsible for the crimes. Sadly, the similarities between Audrie and Daisy end here. This alltoo- common nightmarish scenario drove Audrie to hang herself, while Daisy survived her suicide attempt. The film’s unpacking of the complexities surrounding cases like these is required viewing for parents of teenagers, and may inspire open conversations about tough issues and safe havens in dire circumstances.
BY SIDNEY LUMET
THE C WORD
Acclaimed documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson has spent her entire career behind the camera, unseen but ever present, making decisions to frame a shot a certain way in “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” or to zoom in on a subject at a particular moment in “Citizenfour” or “Fahrenheit 9/11.” For “Cameraperson,” Johnson assembled footage from her 25-year career to create a visual memoir collage that raises complicated questions about the nature and ethics of documentary filmmaking. While filming a Bosnian toddler who is trying to play with an ax, Johnson is heard muttering a terrified “Oh Jesus!” when his hands get perilously close to the blade—but she doesn’t interfere. She records what happens, good or bad. The balance between compassionately telling the stories of others and becoming part of the stories is explored with bracing intensity and insight in one of the year’s most buzzed-about films.
DEATH BY DESIGN
EQUAL MEANS EQUAL
THE LAST LAUGH
Is there such a thing as a good joke about the Holocaust? Is it okay to laugh about 9/11 or the AIDS epidemic? Too soon? Ferne Pearlstein seamlessly weaves together film clips, stand-up performances, interviews with notable Jewish comedians— including Rob Reiner, Sarah Silverman, and Mel Brooks—as well as incredible archival footage of cabarets inside concentration camps to make a smart, provocative, and often hilarious documentary about the way laughter can be lifesaving when we’re in the midst of our darkest hours. “The Last Laugh” features an unforgettable cameo by Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone, who describes life under Nazi occupation and finds humor in her horrific past. This brilliantly crafted film will force you to think while you laugh out loud.
NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU
OLYMPIC PRIDE, AMERICAN PREJUDICE
Imagine spending 23 hours a day in an 8’x10’ cell, completely alone and deprived of all human or outside contact. It’s a torturous reality experienced by more than 100,000 American prisoners every single day—often with devastating psychological consequences. To create this essential, provocative documentary, Kristi Jacobson spent over a year capturing the profoundly moving stories of those on both sides of the bars in Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison, one of America’s toughest supermax prisons. Delivering a staggering account of the mental anguish—and often violent effects—wreaked by solitary confinement, not only on prisoners but on guards as well, this gripping doc is mandatory viewing that will challenge your thinking and prompt much-needed discussion about punishment in today’s America.