Traverse City Film Festival to Feature The Zen of Bennett, Compliance, West of Memphis, We Are Wisconsin

Dax Shepard and real-life girlfriend Kristen Bell embark on a crazy road trip in ‘Hit and Run’ | Open Road Films

Here in Traverse City, Michigan, film fans wait impatiently to learn what films will be featured at the Traverse City Film Festival each summer. The list for the 8th Annual Film Fest, July 31 – Aug. 5, 2012, was released on Friday, sparking much excitement on the @TCFF Twitter account. I’ll be tweeting at both the film fest account and my own account (@reellifejane), so be sure to follow me on both for all the film fest buzz and breaking news.

@ThomPowers immediately posted his top ten picks, including Scenes of a Crime (@ScenesofaCrime), Sexy Baby (@SexyBabyMovie), An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (@OfHerBeauty), The Story of Film (@TheStoryofFilm), and the opening night film, Searching for Sugar Man.

[blackbirdpie id=”219120642644131842″]

A Few Film Highlights:

Beasts of the Southern Wild, a darling on the film festival circuit that tells the story of six-year-old Hushpuppy, who lives with her father in “the Bathtub” in Louisiana’s hurricane-ripped southern Delta.

The Zen of Bennett, Danny Bennett’s tribute to his 85-year-old father Tony Bennett.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey (@TheStoryofFilm), Mark Cousins’ 15-part love letter to the history of cinema.

We Are Wisconsin (@wearewithefilm), a documentary from the front lines of the Wisconsin protests after Governor Scott Walker cut benefits and collective bargaining rights for most public workers.

Compliance, a startling film that examines the nation’s security protocols and the public’s willingness to go along with body scans and police presence.

Hit and Run (@HitandRunMovie), a feature from Michiganders Dax Shepherd and real-life girlfriend Kristen Bell about a hectic, high-stakes road trip.

West of Memphis, a documentary from producer Peter Jackson and director Amy Berg about the miscarriage of justice of wrongfully-accused Damian Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelly in the gruesome murders of three eight-year-old boys. Reel Life With Jane writer Melanie Votaw (@melanievotaw) and I have been closely following this case chronicled in the Paradise Lost documentary trilogy.

Check out the full film list here. Tickets go on sale to the Friends of the Film Festival on July 15, and to the general public on July 21.

Other Festival Highlights:

By Women, About Women, For Everyone. TCFF continues an eight-year tradition of featuring numerous movies written and directed by women. In the programs Growing up Female and Films from the Early Women’s Health Movement, filmmaker Julia Reichert will show audiences how it looked and felt when women captured on film the battle waged over women’s reproductive rights in the early 1970s.

Michigan Filmmakers Bring Their Talent Home. In addition to Hit and Run, we’ll have Detropia, the stories of a half dozen stalwart Motor City natives, including artists, business owners and laid off autoworkers who are given a voice by Oscar-nominated, Michigan-born filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady; Louder Than Love, Detroit natives’ Tony D’Annunzio and Karl Rausch’s all-access pass to the legendary gritty rock scene in 1960s Detroit that tells the story of the hallowed halls of the Grande Ballroom, a venue that started it all, featuring footage never before seen and interviews with BB King, Alice Cooper and Roger Daltrey.

Legendary Director Wim Wenders in Attendance. Germany’s world-renowned filmmaker brings two of his classic films, Wings of Desire and Buena Vista Social Club, plus four of his short films, to this year’s festival.

State Theatre Centennial Celebration. TCFF is celebrating the upcoming 100th birthday of the State Theatre, the festival’s anchor venue, by showing the oldest surviving American feature film in existence, Richard III, made 100 years ago. The festival is also proud to welcome filmmaker and scholar Mark Cousins with his epic film, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, an amazing journey through the history of cinema.

Free Open Space Movies on Grand Traverse Bay. Voting is underway now for Tuesday’s People’s Choice Open Space film. The choices are Across the Universe, Beetlejuice, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Footloose (1984), From Russia with Love, and Sixteen Candles. Visit to vote now before voting closes Friday, July 6. Other Open Space films: Wednesday – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Thursday – Rebel Without a Cause; Friday – When Harry Met Sally (RIP Nora Ephron!); and Saturday – WALL-E.

Dreama Walker in Compliance | Magnolia Pictures

Admission prices to regular movies are $10. Opening and closing night films are $50 or $25, with opening night and filmmaker parties ticketed separately at $50. Friends of the Film Festival benefits include discounts on party tickets. Family films are $1. Film school tickets are $5, and daily industry panels are free.

Founder Michael Moore (@mmflint) promises this batch of movies to be the best yet. “I’ll stake my name that these are all fantastic movies,” he wrote in a press release. “I’ve been very, very careful to pick really good movies … not all out on the fringe or for niche audiences, but really, every movie is worth taking a leap of faith to go and see … I wanted to create a filmmaker-friendly festival, one that celebrates our art and inspires audiences in any number of exhilarating ways.”

What movies are YOU looking forward to seeing? Tell us in the comments below! 


2 responses to “Traverse City Film Festival to Feature The Zen of Bennett, Compliance, West of Memphis, We Are Wisconsin”

  1. Diane Avatar

    Lucky, lucky me!  I’m a TC native, living in the Cincinnat Metro area, and I’m coming home the very week of the TCFF!  I’ve spent my study time scoping out movies and have chosen several, including Hysteria, Freedom, Jackpot, Margaret, Revisionaries, Whole Lotta Sole, and On the Ice.  I’m especially partial to those showing @ the State; sentimental journey!

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Yay! Glad you’re getting home for the Film Fest! Those are all on my list, too. Really, it’s almost impossible to make a bad choice during the film festival. They’re ALL fantastic movies. And I know what you mean about the State. Such fun memories watching movies there as a kid. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *