The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable, educational, nonprofit organization committed to the idea that “One Great Movie Can Change You” and to helping save one of America’s few indigenous art forms — the cinema. The festival brings films and filmmakers from around the world to Northern Michigan for the annual film festival in late July to early August.

The festival also presents classic movies free of charge on a giant, inflatable outdoor screen overlooking Grand Traverse Bay in the Open Space at dusk. Free panel discussions with directors, writers, actors, and other members of the film industry are offered daily. And an affordable film school runs throughout the festival, offering twice daily classes for film students and film lovers.

It was instrumental in renovating a shuttered historic downtown movie house, the State Theatre, which it continues to own and operate as a year-round, community-based, and volunteer-staffed art house movie theater. The festival also renovated the historic Con Foster Museum building in Clinch Park and turned it into a sister screen for the State Theatre, the Bijou by the Bay.

The festival was founded by Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore who makes his home here, runs the festival, and serves as president of the board of directors. Other board members are filmmakers Rod Birleson (producer, “Capitalism: A Love Story”), Larry Charles (director, “Borat”), Terry George (director, “Hotel Rwanda”), Jeff Daniels (actor, “The Newsroom”), Tom Morello (musician, Rage Against the Machine), Christine Lahti (actor, “Running on Empty”), and Mark Cousins (director, “The Story of Film: An Odyssey”).

Founders & Audience Awards.

The Traverse City Film Festival is primarily by invitation only, but we’d love to see your films and suggestions. Filmmakers may submit their films and they will be passed on to the programmer. There is a small submission fee, but there is no feedback mechanism — due to limited staff resources we cannot guarantee that your film will be viewed.

Overall Rating
  • Brendan Egan

    So happy to have had my film 'Red' screen at TCFF! Very professional, great communication, and super friendly! Highly recommend submitting!

    September 2019