Traverse City Film Festival Announces Panel Discussions

Includes Session Led by Michael Moore on Art And Politics in Film

Topics for panel discussions at the Traverse City Film Festival later this month have been announced. The discussions, which are free and open to the public, will present the views of Hollywood movers and shakers including the festival’s founder, Oscar-winning documentarian Michael Moore.

According to the Traverse City Record-Eagle, the panels will include:

Moore will lead the July 28 session titled, “Is it Art? Or Is it Politics? Traverse City Wants to Know.”

He said the idea for the session was hatched even before he went to the Traverse City Commission to seek permission to show nightly free films outdoors at Traverse City’s Open Space as part of the festival.

“There’s an interesting discussion of whether this film festival is political,” he said. “You have to recognize that if you are going to be a filmmaker, you have to do the filmmaking first – not the politics. Because you’ll lose people on the politics.”

“Is Fiction Dead? The Rise of Documentary Films” is the title of the July 29 panel. Those participating include Marilyn Agrelo, director of “Mad, Hot Ballroom,” and Alex Gibney, director of “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” both of which are showing during the festival; Ethan Canin, author of “Emperor of the Air”; and mystery writer Robert Sloan.

“They’ll be discussing why it is that Hollywood movies are getting worse and worse – the fiction movies … and why it is that the one type of film where the attendance is up are documentaries,” Moore said.

July 30 brings “Hollywood Confidential: Stories We Will Only Tell in Traverse City.” Rob Tappert, producer of both recent “Spiderman” movies, will be joined by producer Rebecca Reynolds, who lives in Leelanau County and whose latest project is a pilot for HBO; screenwriter Larry Brand (“Halloween: Resurrection”), whose first job was as personal assistant to Orson Welles; screenwriter Chuck Pfarrer (“The Jackal” and “Navy Seals”); and Ari Emanuel, cofounder of the Endeavor Agency and after whom the lead character of an agent by the same name is modeled in HBO’s “Entourage.”

On July 31, the topic is “How to Make a Great Movie for $30,000.” Andrew Wagner, director of “The Talent Given Us,” one of the films showcased during the festival, will be featured. Jonathan Caouette, director of another festival film, “Tarnation,” is also expected. Jeff Gibbs, co-producer on Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9-11” and “Bowling for Columbine,” will moderate.

“This one’s especially for students and young people interested in filmmaking,” Moore said. “You don’t have to wait until you have the multimillion dollar Hollywood deal to make your own movie.”

The events will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, July 28-31, at the Traverse City Opera House, free of charge.

More info: Traverse City Film Festival


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