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Sunday July 21 2019

The Purity of Vengeance (Kartoteka 64)

Sun, Jul 21 7:00 PM (118 min)
A construction crew discovers three murder victims that have long been hidden behind a false wall in a seemingly abandoned apartment. The cold case is taken up by detective Carl Morck and his soon-to-be ex partner Assad, whose recent promotion to another department is a sore subject for the steely veteran cop. The investigation leads them to a now defunct institution for “troubled girls" and as the horrors of the past are revealed and the detectives push to find the truth, they uncover a monstrous doctor still practicing in ways that hit far too close to home for Assad. The final installment of the Department Q series, which has previously entralled TCFF audiences and produced the highest grossing Danish films ever (with this one surpassing them all), it’s a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller that checks all the boxes for fans of gritty mysteries.
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Monday July 22 2019

Tel Aviv on Fire

Interlochen
Mon, Jul 22 7:00 PM (97 min)
A hapless production assistant turned unexpected writer for his uncle’s Palestinian soap opera (the titular Tel Aviv on Fire, set during the Six Day War), Salam finds himself in an awkward situation when a border guard at a checkpoint he crosses daily learns of his profession and begins to not-so-subtley demand some pro-Israeli storyline changes be implemented to improve the show. With Salam caught in the middle between the show's Palestinian financiers and his unwanted new writing partner, what could possibly go wrong? Winning the Audience Award at the Seattle International Film Festival, this hilariously biting yet breezy satire from Palestinian director Sameh Zoabi, challenges our ideas about where comedy comes from and with its insight into the young Palestinian mindset, gives us more hope for peace that perhaps any Oslo Accord ever could.
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Tuesday July 23 2019

Walking on Water

Garden Theater - Frankfort
Tue, Jul 23 6:00 PM (105 min)
After the passing of his wife and collaborator Jean-Claude, inimitable environmental artist Christo (he of The Gates in Central Park) finally commences work on a long-gestating project that will invite visitors to Italy's picturesque Lake Iseo to experience the sensation of walking on water. An epic undertaking that involves building floating walkways spanning over 1.9 miles, the process of bringing this magnificent vision to life is chronicled in director Andrey Paounov's documentary that delightfully reveals an irascible genius at work—tantrums and all. Taking you behind the scenes of this daunting feat of logistics and planning, you'll enjoy a taste of what it was like to see this impermanent artwork in person—to not only behold the surreal and transfixing beauty of this remarkable achievement, but to also feel a bit of the joy. And it is the joy that will most stay with you—the joy of creation, of artistic expression, and of a dream realized.
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Walking on Water

Garden Theater - Frankfort
Tue, Jul 23 9:00 PM (105 min)
After the passing of his wife and collaborator Jean-Claude, inimitable environmental artist Christo (he of The Gates in Central Park) finally commences work on a long-gestating project that will invite visitors to Italy's picturesque Lake Iseo to experience the sensation of walking on water. An epic undertaking that involves building floating walkways spanning over 1.9 miles, the process of bringing this magnificent vision to life is chronicled in director Andrey Paounov's documentary that delightfully reveals an irascible genius at work—tantrums and all. Taking you behind the scenes of this daunting feat of logistics and planning, you'll enjoy a taste of what it was like to see this impermanent artwork in person—to not only behold the surreal and transfixing beauty of this remarkable achievement, but to also feel a bit of the joy. And it is the joy that will most stay with you—the joy of creation, of artistic expression, and of a dream realized.
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Thursday July 25 2019

C'est La Vie! (Le sens de la fête)

Elk Rapids Cinema
Thu, Jul 25 6:00 PM (115 min)
From the same absurdly talented writing and directing team that brought you the feel-good megahit The Intouchables (and by extension it's recent remake The Upside), comes an unabashedly crowdpleasing comedy full of hijinx, misunderstandings, and one spectacular mess of a wedding! Follow Max, the owner of a hospitality company in France, as he attempts to successfully mount a massive wedding reception at a 17th century chateau with the ragtag family of colorful characters (a showboating singer, a photographer on the hunt for food and not photos, and a waiter who dated the bride, to name only a few) that make up those in his employ. As a master planner, he's totally unfazed by the fact the lamb goes bad or that the power went out—but that his girlfriend may be breaking up with him, well, that's another story. With an impossibly satisfying ending, and more laugh-out-loud moments than you can count, this breezy romantic romp is a total joy to behold.
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C'est La Vie! (Le sens de la fête)

Elk Rapids Cinema
Thu, Jul 25 9:00 PM (115 min)
From the same absurdly talented writing and directing team that brought you the feel-good megahit The Intouchables (and by extension it's recent remake The Upside), comes an unabashedly crowdpleasing comedy full of hijinx, misunderstandings, and one spectacular mess of a wedding! Follow Max, the owner of a hospitality company in France, as he attempts to successfully mount a massive wedding reception at a 17th century chateau with the ragtag family of colorful characters (a showboating singer, a photographer on the hunt for food and not photos, and a waiter who dated the bride, to name only a few) that make up those in his employ. As a master planner, he's totally unfazed by the fact the lamb goes bad or that the power went out—but that his girlfriend may be breaking up with him, well, that's another story. With an impossibly satisfying ending, and more laugh-out-loud moments than you can count, this breezy romantic romp is a total joy to behold.
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Saturday July 27 2019

Ernie & Joe

Sat, Jul 27 12:00 PM (96 min)
A graceful and empathetic look at a new kind of police force, Ernie & Joe is a moving portrait of two Texas police officers who are helping change the way police respond to mental health calls. The film takes audiences on a personal journey, braiding together experiences during Ernie and Joe's daily encounters with people in crisis. These are not your everyday cops; dressed in polos and jeans, brandishing no weapons, they sit down with distraught and potentially violent people to talk. They listen. They take their time. Ernie and Joe are doing the work and walking the walk. Amid heightened scrutiny of police-community relations, and deepening understanding of mental health issues, Jenifer McShane's doc offers proof of an enlightened way forward and is testament to the profound impact of this unique approach. In Person: Director Jenifer McShane, Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro.
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Come As You Are

Sat, Jul 27 3:00 PM (106 min)
Based on a hit Belgian film, Richard Wong's heartfelt charmer Come as You Are is that rarest of remakes, a film actually improves upon its predecessor. Inspired by a true story, three young men with disabilities (Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto, Ravi Patel—Ravi of TCFF 2014's Meet the Patels fame) abscond from their overbearing and overprotective families to embark on a road trip to a brothel in Montreal that caters to people with special needs. Joining the trip is Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) as their nurse driver, who enables them to get a much needed taste of independence as their adventure takes some hilarious and poignant turns. A crowdpleasing buddy caper with lots of heart, this wonderfully compassionate dramedy travels refreshing new ground reminding us of the love we all need to get by. In Person: Dir. Richard Wong, Actor Grant Rosenmeyer.
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Ernie & Joe

Sat, Jul 27 6:00 PM (96 min)
A graceful and empathetic look at a new kind of police force, Ernie & Joe is a moving portrait of two Texas police officers who are helping change the way police respond to mental health calls. The film takes audiences on a personal journey, braiding together experiences during Ernie and Joe's daily encounters with people in crisis. These are not your everyday cops; dressed in polos and jeans, brandishing no weapons, they sit down with distraught and potentially violent people to talk. They listen. They take their time. Ernie and Joe are doing the work and walking the walk. Amid heightened scrutiny of police-community relations, and deepening understanding of mental health issues, Jenifer McShane's doc offers proof of an enlightened way forward and is testament to the profound impact of this unique approach. In Person: Director Jenifer McShane, Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro.
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Come As You Are

Sat, Jul 27 9:00 PM (106 min)
Based on a hit Belgian film, Richard Wong's heartfelt charmer Come as You Are is that rarest of remakes, a film actually improves upon its predecessor. Inspired by a true story, three young men with disabilities (Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto, Ravi Patel—Ravi of TCFF 2014's Meet the Patels fame) abscond from their overbearing and overprotective families to embark on a road trip to a brothel in Montreal that caters to people with special needs. Joining the trip is Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) as their nurse driver, who enables them to get a much needed taste of independence as their adventure takes some hilarious and poignant turns. A crowdpleasing buddy caper with lots of heart, this wonderfully compassionate dramedy travels refreshing new ground reminding us of the love we all need to get by. In Person: Dir. Richard Wong, Actor Grant Rosenmeyer.
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Sunday July 28 2019

Party - Founders Party

Sun, Jul 28 11:00 AM (120 min)
Our annual Founders Party is a celebration for our sponsors, a group who make the Traverse City Film Festival so uniquely spectacular. At the Open Space overlooking Grand Traverse Bay, our donors enjoy breathtaking views of beautiful Northern Michigan and partake in a tasty brunch complete with all the Sunday Funday essentials like mimosas and bloody marys. We will then travel to the State to watch a sneak of one of the very best films from the festival this year. Not a sponsor? It’s not too late! Our sponsors support the festival in a big way, while also enjoying benefits like early ticket purchase and priority entry.
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Monday July 29 2019

Picture Character

Mon, Jul 29 6:00 PM (81 min)
Like the pictographs in Lascaux, strange symbols populate our phone screens, transmitting mysterious messages from both strangers and loved ones. Sure, we all know what they mean, but do you ever wonder where they came from, or who designs them, chooses them, and why they’re even in our phones in the first place? Turns out the process of birthing a new emoji is more interesting than you thought (if you ever thought about it at all). Anyone can suggest a new emoji, but you have to lobby for your design in front of a shadowy cabal of multinational corporations and organizations, and only a select few are chosen each year. This delightfully entertaining film follows several new designs and the people who propose them (including a young woman fighting for an emoji depicting a person wearing a hijab and one group's quest to have menstruation representation), all while demonstrating the remarkable ways emojis are changing culture and language, and filling in the story of the designer who inv
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Stop Making Sense

Mon, Jul 29 9:00 PM (88 min)
Few films can be considered the best of their genre, and when you get to watch one of those films in a field filled with people dancing their asses off? Well, then you’ve hit the jackpot. New Wave rock band The Talking Heads and director Jonathan Demme teamed up to shoot this nearly perfect concert film over four nights in at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles in December, 1983. Not familiar with The Talking Heads? (First of all, the heck is wrong with you?) But secondly, that needn’t keep you away. The unstoppable, tireless joy of this film will have you on your feet dancing along whether you know your “Slippery People” from your “Life During War Time” or not. Big suits not required, but encouraged.
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Tuesday July 30 2019

Brittany Runs a Marathon

Tue, Jul 30 6:00 PM (103 min)
It’s rare for a movie to be described as smart and edgy as well as genuine, feel-good, and inspirational, yet somehow this hilarious and heartfelt debut film by award winning playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo checks all those boxes and more. The long-overdue-for-star-status Jillian Bell (Workaholics) is the witty Brittany, a twenty-seven-year-old with a job that barely pays the rent and a New York party girl lifestyle that’s starting to take its toll. When she sees a doctor to help with her “focus,” she instead gets a wake up call about the damage she’s doing to her body. Determined to get in shape she starts to run the city streets literally one block at a time. It sucks, of course, but along the way she finds friendship with unlikely new running partners, who set their sights on running the 26.2 mile NYC Marathon, and begins to realize it may be more than just weight that’s dragging her down. Winner of the Audience Award at Sundance, this honest and affectionate comedy follows an
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Brittany Runs a Marathon

Tue, Jul 30 7:30 PM (103 min)
It’s rare for a movie to be described as smart and edgy as well as genuine, feel-good, and inspirational, yet somehow this hilarious and heartfelt debut film by award winning playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo checks all those boxes and more. The long-overdue-for-star-status Jillian Bell (Workaholics) is the witty Brittany, a twenty-seven-year-old with a job that barely pays the rent and a New York party girl lifestyle that’s starting to take its toll. When she sees a doctor to help with her “focus,” she instead gets a wake up call about the damage she’s doing to her body. Determined to get in shape she starts to run the city streets literally one block at a time. It sucks, of course, but along the way she finds friendship with unlikely new running partners, who set their sights on running the 26.2 mile NYC Marathon, and begins to realize it may be more than just weight that’s dragging her down. Winner of the Audience Award at Sundance, this honest and affectionate comedy follows an
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Party - Opening Night Party

Tue, Jul 30 8:30 PM
Celebrate the start of the best week of the summer when we shut down Front Street for our Opening Night Party! Join filmmakers and film lovers for live music, dancing, and food from our renowned local restaurants. A lively celebration beneath the twinkling lights of the State Theatre marquee, the atmosphere is nothing short of electric. NEW this year: visit the Base Tent for arcade games, bocce, cornhole and carb-heavy, salty snacks, which will come in handy as your all-access party pass also includes favorite local beers, wine, and specialty mixed drinks. The irresistible combination of Northern Michigan’s small-town charm and the glamour of Hollywood makes for an unforgettable event!
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Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

Tue, Jul 30 9:00 PM (131 min)
As an epic battle for the fate of the galaxy approaches, the Empire quickly finishes construction on another Death Star battle station, and the Emperor himself soon arrives to personally oversee the operation. Rescuing Han Solo from his captor Jabba the Hutt, Princess Leia helps organize the Rebel attack and Luke Skywalker prepares for final confrontation with Darth Vader to prove himself a Jedi and perhaps bring out the good within his father’s soul. As the Rebels launch their offensive, Skywalker is brought before the Emperor, and after a lightsaber duel with Vader refuses the Emperor’s temptations. In a fateful moment, Vader chooses to save his son, destroying the Emperor and sacrificing himself, a final redeeming act as Anakin Skywalker.
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Wednesday July 31 2019

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 AM (87 min)
It’s hard to disagree with the idea that humans aren’t the driving force behind the planet’s changing natural order when you’re presented with the imagery in this startling documentary. From the world’s largest excavating machines devouring farmland in Germany, to the flaming pyres of ivory tusks seized from poachers who slaughtered thousands of endangered elephants and rhinos in Nairobi, the human desire for conquest and acquisition has never been laid bare in such a visually stunning way before. Canadian filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and photographer Edward Burtynsky have assembled a film of startling beauty and quiet dread that will convince you that action must be taken to help our planet; that we can not go back to how things used to be, but we have to try our best nonetheless for the good of all.
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Photograph

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 AM (89 min)
Sometimes the largest cities are also the most difficult places to make genuine human connections, and this is especially true in Mumbai, where class divisions seemingly dictate everything. Enter Rafi, a poor street photographer whose chance meeting with the lonely, curious Miloni comes at the perfect time. For the sake of an impending visit from his frail grandmother, Rafi asks Miloni to pretend they’re in a relationship. She agrees to play along, intrigued for the opportunity to escape her own sense of isolation. But will this coupling remain a temporary ruse, or evolve into something more? Writer/director Ritesh Batra, whose film The Lunchbox was a 2014 TCFF favorite, returns to the festival with this beautiful, patient look at how love and connection can bloom in the most unexpected of situations, and bridge the space between us.
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Rams

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 AM (74 min)
“Less, but better” is the mantra of Dieter Rams, the iconic German product designer that you probably haven’t heard of by name but no doubt you've interacted with one of his designs. Ever use an Oral-B toothbrush or a Braun coffeemaker? That’s Rams. And not only has his eye for design and working philosophy influenced designers and companies for the past sixty years, his success has caused him to call into question the very nature of product design itself. Directed by Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, TCFF 2008), Rams offers a rare inside look at one of the people most influential to our daily lives, told with the same minimalism Rams himself championed.
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The Silent Revolution (Das schweigende Klassenzimmer)

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 AM (111 min)
In 1956, before the Berlin Wall was built, and passage between East and West Germany was less restrictive, two East Berlin teens decide to catch a movie on the other side of the city. When they see a western newsreel that has a decidedly different take on the Hungarian Revolution than the coverage on their state-sanctioned news agencies, it leads them to organize a moment of silence among their classmates as a tribute to those brutally put down by the Soviet regime. What they couldn’t know though was this act of teenage defiance has far-reaching consequences both inside and outside their classroom, empowering and endangering nearly everyone they know. Based on true events, this powerful film helps explain how every act (especially in a totalitarian society) is an inherently political one. And that courage is perhaps the greatest lesson of all.
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The Waldheim Waltz (Waldheims Walzer)

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 AM (93 min)
Don’t let the title fool you: this unsettling documentary may be as gracefully crafted as an elegant dance, but the story is a dark descent into a nation’s gruesome history and a warning of the dangers of nationalism. Following the controversial 1986 Austrian presidential campaign of Kurt Waldheim, the film explores the growing revelations not only of his Nazi past but of the country’s disturbing revisionist history and the rising anti-semitism that led to his election. Documentarian and activist Ruth Beckermann deftly weaves together archival materials along with her own footage from her time protesting his candidacy, delivering a deeply personal and frightening narrative that is as relevant today as it was then. A gripping and important film that is essential viewing for anyone that cares about the direction of our nation and the world.Screen reader support enabled.
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Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð)

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 AM (100 min)
In a near flawless followup to the sensational Of Horses and Men, Benedikt Erlingsson gives us a truly crowdpleasing, supremely satisfying, and wonderfully unexpected environmental fable. Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) is a beloved choir director by day, but in her free time she's the "Mountain Woman," an eco warrior who—with almost a Tom Cruise level of actioneering—employs guerrilla tactics to halt plans for a new aluminum smelter. And this unassuming middle-aged woman has been pretty effective at thwarting efforts to destroy her beautiful homeland, so much so that authorities are closing in, just as it looks like her long wait to adopt a Ukrainian child has come to end. A black comedy of untold warmth and whimsy, who knew climate change could be so rousing? All hail, Halla!
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Panel - ...and the Future of Film

Wed, Jul 31 9:30 AM (90 min)
Join special guest(s) and Michael Moore as we discuss the future of film in the age of streaming.
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3 Days 2 Nights

Wed, Jul 31 12:00 PM (100 min)
Mark and Andy Godfrey are linked by more than blood—the brothers were the sole survivors of a Colorado plane crash in 1974, when their plane flew into the mountains during a family ski trip. At ages 11 and 8, the two lost their mom, dad, and two siblings instantly. Alone, scared, and traumatized, the boys then survived in the wreckage for three hellish snow-bound days on a mountainside before a heroic and unbelievable rescue. For decades following the event, the brothers rarely discussed the experience with anyone, not even with each other. But as the 40th anniversary approaches, they embark on a cleansing journey to finally talk openly about their memories, their feelings, and the trauma that has haunted them for decades. Scheduled to Appear: Director John Breen and Mark Godfrey.
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Driveways

Wed, Jul 31 12:00 PM (83 min)
A story both modest and familiar, but of such gentle humanity that it feels anything but, Andrew Ahn's warm and inviting character drama is the cinematic embodiment of kindness. Cody and his mother Kathy (Hong Chau) are unexpectedly spending their summer away from home, cleaning out the house of his recently-deceased and reclusive aunt. Cody, a sensitive and sweet soul who doesn't always fit in, is unfazed by this turn of events, while his mother struggles to make sense of what's been left behind. Lonely in this strange new place, Cody strikes up an unexpected friendship with the widowed, bingo-playing veteran next door (a superb Brian Dennehy), and the film's many low-key charms unfold from there. A marvel of subtlety, detail, and characterization, this heartfelt tale is a true gem of the festival.
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Film School - "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."

Wed, Jul 31 12:00 PM (90 min)
Eric Limarenko, Central Michigan University, Associate Professor, School of Broadcast & Cinematic ArtsEver wonder why the Star Wars universe captured the imaginations of millions across generations and cultural divides? Discuss Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” and how that provided the template for the epic Skywalker saga. Discover proper composition, compelling color theory and good design, and learn about the inspiration behind some of the most iconic images in science fiction through the art of >Star Wars.
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Maiden

Wed, Jul 31 12:00 PM (97 min)
If you want to see what true perseverance looks like check out this inspiring, edge-of-your-seat adventure story that has all the makings of a Hollywood movie but is actually 100% true. Tracy Edwards grew up dreaming about working on sailboats, but the reality of the male-dominated sailing world in the 1980s was no one would hire her on deck except as a cook. Determined to prove she could do anything, she set her sights on assembling the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. Laughed at by professionals, seen by the media as a puff story (some yachting press even took bets on how quickly they’d fail), and deemed too much of a risk by potential sponsors (how would it look if they died?), Edwards and the crew of Maiden faced just as much adversity on land as they did on sea, but nevertheless they persisted. This expertly crafted documentary combines firsthand footage shot from the race, along with interviews with the women (and even some of jeering me
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Picture Character

Wed, Jul 31 12:00 PM (81 min)
Like the pictographs in Lascaux, strange symbols populate our phone screens, transmitting mysterious messages from both strangers and loved ones. Sure, we all know what they mean, but do you ever wonder where they came from, or who designs them, chooses them, and why they’re even in our phones in the first place? Turns out the process of birthing a new emoji is more interesting than you thought (if you ever thought about it at all). Anyone can suggest a new emoji, but you have to lobby for your design in front of a shadowy cabal of multinational corporations and organizations, and only a select few are chosen each year. This delightfully entertaining film follows several new designs and the people who propose them (including a young woman fighting for an emoji depicting a person wearing a hijab and one group's quest to have menstruation representation), all while demonstrating the remarkable ways emojis are changing culture and language, and filling in the story of the designer who inv
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Shorts by Interlochen Students

Wed, Jul 31 12:00 PM (113 min)
Interlochen Arts Academy Motion Picture Arts is pleased to present a program of some of the finest short films from over its past 15 years. The following are student thesis films created solely by students collaborating on the campus of Interlochen; each is an original work written, directed, edited, performed, and scored by outstanding young artists from all over the world. Graduates go on to study at the finest schools and many are now working professionally for Apple, Dreamworks, Netflix, Ken Burns Florentine Films, and Skywalker Ranch. Q&A to follow with Director of Motion Picture Arts Michael Mittelstaedt and students.
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Slay the Dragon

Wed, Jul 31 12:00 PM (101 min)
This chilling political doc is not only one of the most important films to see at the fest, it's also somehow one of the most invigorating, especially for us Michiganders. The dragon here is the crazy shapes made on maps by the corrupt practice of gerrymandering, when one political party draws redistricting lines to help ensure future elections go in their favor. Beginning with a dive into the (still ongoing) Flint water crisis, Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance trace how “packing” and “cracking” leads to marginalized communities, discriminatory laws, state-wide emergencies, and politicians who no longer work for the people. Why would they when they are guaranteed re-election? But the film also features the slayers, ordinary folks working to put the power back in the hands of the people, such as Michigan’s Katie Fahey, whose grassroots Voters Not Politicians won the battle with Prop 2, and could help set us on a path to win the war. Whether or not you are already familiar with this para
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The Etruscan Smile

Wed, Jul 31 12:00 PM (107 min)
This marvelously charming drama concerns curmudgeonly Scottsman Rory McNeil, who is forced to leave his home on the isolated Hebridean islands to seek medical treatment and reconnect with his estranged son in America. Now faced with the culture shock of San Francisco, and softened by meeting his adorable redheaded grandchild (one of the cutest but not cutesy onscreen babies), Rory takes a few last stabs making the most out of life, when he’s not cracking wise, confusing people with Gaelic, or locating a good stiff drink. Outstanding performances from Brian Cox as Rory, JJ Feild as his son, Thora Birch as the daughter-in-law, Rosanna Arquette as a beguiling museum curator, make this an absolutely winning story about second chances and family bonds.
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Film School - Young Filmmakers Workshop: Claymation Animation

Wed, Jul 31 1:45 PM (180 min)
Stephan Leeper, Central Michigan University Associate Professor of Animation, Department of Art and Design with assistance from CMU animation students and in collaboration with Clayspace TCDesign, sculpt, and animate your own clay creations! We'll begin the workshop by brainstorming the stories behind our characters. From there we'll build them in clay and cast them in their own short films that will be shown on the big screen on Saturday before the Kids Fest shorts program! In this two-day workshop, students will learn a broad range of stop-motion tips and tricks that they will be able to use in their own animated productions at home. Ages 10 - 14. Limit 15 students. Tickets $20.
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American Factory

Wed, Jul 31 3:00 PM (115 min)
In 2014 a shuttered GM factory in Dayton, Ohio became the home of the Chinese billionaire-owned Fayou Glass America. Suddenly American factory workers deeply rooted in the Rust Belt found themselves hopeful for a chance to pull their community out of financial despair, but challenged by the seemingly insurmountable cultural differences of the Chinese counterparts now working alongside them. With surprising access to the humanity and xenophobia on both sides, this fascinating and masterful documentary reveals the complicated nature of global endeavors. Culture clashes go from humorous to tense, especially when the dirty word “union” is uttered, and an even grimmer fate looms over all of those on the factory floor: automation. A powerful reminder of the values that connect us—the need to provide, the desire to feel useful, the struggle to change—as well as the ideals that drive us apart, this must-see film sits at a crossroads of so many key issues it is bound to spark important conversa
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Cold Case Hammarskjöld

Wed, Jul 31 3:00 PM (128 min)
As any good detective knows, when you go to solve a mystery you usually end up uncovering more questions than answers, which is exactly the case for Danish journalist and filmmaker Mads Brügger in this fascinating and provocative documentary. The subject of his investigation is the mysterious 1961 plane crash carrying United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, a landmark event that has been dogged by conspiracy theories ever since. Intent on finding the truth, the charismatic Brügger manages to dig up compelling evidence, from witnesses to photographs, that point to a far-reaching assassination plot directed at a man who advocated for the Congo’s independence against the wishes of powerful Western governments. A deviously intriguing and sometimes disturbing trip down a rabbit hole, it will have you questioning the truth until the very last frame.
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Crimes and Misdemeanors

Wed, Jul 31 3:00 PM (104 min)
As Hollywood legend has it, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall was originally supposed to be a murder mystery, but the murder plot was eventually cut in favor of just focusing on the relationship in the film. Twelve years later, Allen finally got around to making his murder film, and it became one of his most enduring classics. The ideas Allen first explored here—which involve a wealthy man overcome with guilt after murdering his mistress to hide his infidelity—proved fruitful, and he returned to them several times over the years (most notably with 2005's acclaimed Match Point). But Crimes and Misdemeanors is still unsurpassed. With an all-star cast including Alan Alda, Mia Farrow, Anjelica Huston, Martin Landau, and Jerry Orbach, this three-time Oscar nominee remains a must-see. This special screening is $5.
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Film School - U-M Pilot Production: Behind the Scenes

Wed, Jul 31 3:00 PM (90 min)
Robert Rayher and Oliver Thornton, University of Michigan Film, Television and Media LecturersYou don’t need a big budget to produce your own pilot. Learn how U-M’s filmmakers have turned their attention to the small screen. Having already produced notable TV industry showrunners, U-M is teaching students how to break into the biz by creating a show of their own—from pilot presentation and script to finished project. Instructors and students from the pilot class (incl. the area's own Mario Cassem) answer questions and give tips on what it takes to bring your own pitch to life.
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Funke

Wed, Jul 31 3:00 PM (89 min)
Calling all pasta lovers: let us tantalize you with this sizzling foodie doc about the highs and lows of following your passion. Finding himself in hot water when his LA restaurant goes under, Chef Evan Funke seeks solace in his obsession: the dying art of handmade pasta. Immersing himself in authentic pasta making (did you know there’s over 300 varieties?), Funke builds enough steam to open a new spot on one of the most competitive streets in the US. Insisting that handmade noodles are front and center (literally with a windowed view for diners) the question becomes: will he whip the place into shape, or does it all go down the drain? Capturing the heat of the restaurant world and with plentiful helpings of food porn, we know you’ll agree that this film is al dente.
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Long Story Shorts

Wed, Jul 31 3:00 PM (130 min)
Our favorite award-winning documentary shorts from around the world are packed into this exhilarating program. In Lazarus, we follow Lazarus Chigawandali, an inspiring Malawi street musician with Albinism, as he prepares to record his debut album. In Ghosts of Sugar Land, a group of young Muslim-American men question the disappearance of their friend who is suspected of joining ISIS. The Changing Same remembers the life of a 34 year-old African-American man who was brutally murdered by a mob of white men in 1934. And on the 70th anniversary of the lynching, Poet Lamar Wilson publicly commemorates the horrific act by running the 13-mile route over which the crime was committed. And finally in All On A Mardi Gras Day, a secret culture known as Mardi Gras Indians, a group of African-American men in gentrifying New Orleans, spend all year sewing feather suits in preparation for Mardi Gras. Each one of these shorts is a masterclass in empathetic filmmaking by giving voice to those who socie
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Troop Zero

Wed, Jul 31 3:00 PM (97 min)
You will be instantly enchanted by this quirky and delightful tale about the power of dreaming and the triumph of the underdog. Nine-year-old Christmas Flint (played with panache by Mckenna Grace) is a girl who revels in her nerdy love for all things space and alien related. When she discovers the prize for the 1977 Birdie Jamboree is getting to be a part of a voice recording that will be sent to space as part of NASA's Golden Record initiative, she sets her sights on winning that intergalactic immortality. The problem is there’s no way the Birdie leader at her school, Miss Massey (Oscar-winner Allison Janney), would let her join the annoyingly perfect troop. With the help of her dad (Jim Gaffigan) and his assistant (Oscar-winner Viola Davis), Christmas forms her own misfit troop of outcasts who’ll stop at nothing to be the best Birdies they can be. With a screenplay by Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and direction by the dynamic duo Bert & Bertie, you’ll want to grab
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We Are the Radical Monarchs

Wed, Jul 31 3:00 PM (97 min)
Finding a vacuum in traditional girls' leadership-development organizations (Brownies, Girl Scouts, etc.), a group of women in the Bay Area took matters into their own hands, founding a troop that addressed the interests and needs of their community. What they established became the Radical Monarchs, reaching out to young girls of color to learn about self-acceptance, body positivity, inclusion, intersectionality, and more. Together they instill urgency for activism and social justice and provide a safe space for these often overlooked young women to come together. Not without some growing pains (and unkind words from trolls) the film follows the Radical Monarchs as they fight the power and inspire us all. In Person: Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton; subjects Anayvette and Lupita Martinez.
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Almost Home

Wed, Jul 31 5:30 PM (90 min)
The struggles of homeless youth in America takes center stage in this heartbreaking and empowering story based on the novel by Jessica Blank. After Tracy sticks up for bullied girl Elly, the two embark on a harrowing journey amongst the homeless youth on the streets of Los Angeles as they form an unlikely family while trying to survive the harsh, unforgiving realities of the city. After the screening, stick around for a community discussion and an acoustic performance from hometown heroes The Accidentals -- who wrote a song for the film. Tickets are $20, and $5 of each ticket will be donated to TCAPS’ Students in Transition Empowerment Program (STEP).
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Ask Dr. Ruth

Wed, Jul 31 6:00 PM (100 min)
A controversial, pint-sized, Holocaust-surviving woman who once embarrassed David Letterman by saying “penis” and “vagina” on air—who could that be? Why Dr. Ruth Westheimer, of course, America’s most famous sex therapist! Director Ryan White takes this already very popular and deeply loved figure and shows us just how much more there is to know about our favorite nonagenarian dispenser of carnal knowledge. White reveals the multiple stories that make up her life, just one of which would be worthy of a feature length film (from fleeing the Nazis, studying at the Sorbonne, training as a sniper in the Israeli Defense Force, and working for Planned Parenthood... this woman really has done it all). No wonder so many value her opinion and life advice, the most potent of which might just be the frank phrase: “There’s no such thing as normal.” Timely and comforting, this film is a must-see. Scheduled to Appear: Director Ryan White.
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C'est La Vie! (Le sens de la fête)

Wed, Jul 31 6:00 PM (115 min)
From the same absurdly talented writing and directing team that brought you the feel-good megahit The Intouchables (and by extension it's recent remake The Upside), comes an unabashedly crowdpleasing comedy full of hijinx, misunderstandings, and one spectacular mess of a wedding! Follow Max, the owner of a hospitality company in France, as he attempts to successfully mount a massive wedding reception at a 17th century chateau with the ragtag family of colorful characters (a showboating singer, a photographer on the hunt for food and not photos, and a waiter who dated the bride, to name only a few) that make up those in his employ. As a master planner, he's totally unfazed by the fact the lamb goes bad or that the power went out—but that his girlfriend may be breaking up with him, well, that's another story. With an impossibly satisfying ending, and more laugh-out-loud moments than you can count, this breezy romantic romp is a total joy to behold.
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Capernaum (Capharnaüm)

Wed, Jul 31 6:00 PM (126 min)
The highest-grossing Middle Eastern film of all time, which earned both an Oscar nomination and a 15-minute standing ovation at Cannes (fifth-longest in the history of the festival, our founder holds the #2 spot), has now come to TCFF. This immensely powerful story opens with Zain, a 12-year-old boy serving a five-year sentence in a Beirut prison for stabbing someone. Zain has decided to sue his parents, and when a judge asks him to explain why, he says, “Because I was born.” Then in flashback, Zain’s stunning tale unfolds, showing his life of neglect in the Beirut slums, and his failed attempts to save his young sister from being given away in marriage to a much older man. Capernaum, which translates to “chaos” in Arabic, is not the easiest watch, but it is a captivating and unforgettable one, moving audiences to tears and applause all over the world.
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Circus of Books

Wed, Jul 31 6:00 PM (92 min)
All families have secrets, but as this endearingly sweet and wonderfully funny documentary proves, the Masons have a secret that is a little more shocking than most. Karen and Barry are an adorable, straight-as-an-arrow married couple raising three children, taking them to the synagogue on Sundays, and managing a small business known as Circus of Books. Thing is, their quaint bookstore just so happens to be one of the biggest distributors of gay porn in the country. Told through the loving but honest perspective of their daughter Rachel, the film unabashedly explores the evolution of not just the business, which began as a small venture and grew to become an LA epicenter for gay culture, but also of her parents themselves. Striving to compartmentalize her faith with her growing involvement in the LGBTQ community, Karen is a complex and often hilarious subject as she nonchalantly sorts through boxes of adult toys and intimate apparel. Capturing the bittersweet emotional strife and contr
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Planet of the Humans

Wed, Jul 31 6:00 PM (105 min)
Perhaps the most provocative film we’ve shown in our 15 years, Planet of the Humans dares to say what no one will—that we are losing the battle to stop climate change because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road—selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the so-called “environmental movement’s” answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It's too little, too late. Removed from the debate is the only thing that MIGHT save us: getting a grip on our out-of-control human presence and consumption. Why is this not THE issue? Because that would be bad for profits, bad for business. Have we environmentalists fallen for illusions, “green” illusions, that are anything but green, because we’re scared that this is the end—and we’ve pinned all our hopes on solar panels and wind turbines? No amount of batteri
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The Disappearance of My Mother

Wed, Jul 31 6:30 PM (96 min)
Iconic 1960s supermodel Benedetta—muse to the likes of Wahrol, Dali, and Avedon— spent her life in front of the camera. But now, at the age of 75, she wants nothing more than to disappear; the radical feminist has become fed up with all the roles and descriptions that were forced upon her. But her son Beniamino has other ideas in mind, wanting to make a movie about his mother despite his unwilling subject. Perhaps as a misguided act of love and affection, perhaps as an attempt at liberation, he continues to film his reluctant and poignantly relatable protagonist to tumultuous and revealing results. Engrossing and perplexing, this tender and poetic look at a mother and son gives us a complex portrait of a woman staring down, with unflinching resolve, the oppression of the male gaze.
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Chapo Trap House Democratic Debate Stream

Wed, Jul 31 8:30 PM (120 min)
In the lead up to the 2016 election, a small cadre of minor Twitter celebrities banded together to tell it like it is, resulting in this wildly successful and influential political podcast that tackles not only the doublespeak and proto-fascism of our current administration, but also addresses the anemic leftist movement in America. Using humor, honesty, courage, pedantry, and an unapologetically socialist stance, they’re the standard-bearers of the new “Dirtbag Left,” helping to ignite a growing outspoken activism among leftists in America and abroad. Join Chapo Trap House members Will Menaker, Matt Christman, and Virgil Texas, as they provide live running commentary for the second night of the Democratic Primary Debates on Wednesday, July 31. It’ll be like a Doug Benson interruption but with politics and swearing. Tickets are free.
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Eminent Monsters

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 PM (89 min)
This chilling investigative documentary into the true evils of mankind might make it hard to sleep at night, for good cause. Starting in the 1950s, renowned psychiatrist Dr. Ewen Cameron carried out experiments in mind control on unsuspecting patients, including sensory deprivation, electro-convulsive therapy, forced comas, and hallucinatory drugs, all at a quiet facility in Montréal. The bigger horror was that this work was funded by the CIA, with techniques used internationally by 29 countries from Northern Ireland to the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay. With compelling firsthand testimony from victims and their families, as well as interviews with senior military personnel and psychiatrists, it’s a disturbing reminder of how western governments continue to get away with torture under various "legitimized" guises. A shocking and visceral cinematic experience. In Person: Director Stephen Bennett.
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Extra Ordinary

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 PM (94 min)
Following in our fathers’ footsteps isn’t necessarily what we all want to do with out lives, no matter how close the apple has fallen from the tree. Now imagine if your father was the preeminent ghost hunter in all of Ireland who also had a hit TV show, AND you’re sorta responsible for his death? That’s the premise of this delightfully quirky comedy (think Wes Anderson meets Wes Craven) about a woman (Irish comedian Maeve Higgins) who is trying her best to ignore her innate talents—and the ghosts who are constantly vying for her attention. She instead works as a lonely driving instructor, until a desperate man comes to her for help convincing his recently deceased wife to move on. Only the plans of a conniving one-hit-wonder New Age musician shacked up in a haunted castle (played by SNL’s Will Forte) can stop them from bringing peace to the spirit world and themselves.
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Frances Ferguson

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 PM (77 min)
Offbeat, peculiar, unconventional—these words not only describe the title character of this outlandish movie about a bored substitute teacher who goes off the rails, but also the work in general of one of our favorite fringe filmmakers, Bob Byington (Infinity Baby, TCFF 2017). A wife and mother of one, Frances (Kaley Wheless) has lost all joy in life when she steps in to sub in a high school biology class, and ends up sleeping with one of the students. Not surprisingly, the crime lands her in jail, but nothing can alter her hilariously nihilistic view on life. As usual Byington brings his off-kilter cinematic style as well as the help of some of his friends including Nick Offerman, who perfectly narrates in his signature dry and ironic tone. Sprinkle in a fantastic supporting cast including David Krumholtz as her square but well meaning counselor, Bob's best, and most accessible and mature work yet will make you laugh even as it makes you squirm.
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Mothers' Instinct (Duelles)

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 PM (97 min)
This taut psychological drama steeped in the lush 1960s world of suburbia delivers a refreshing new twist on the Hitchcockian-style thriller. Alice and Celine aren’t just neighbors: they’re best friends, sharing their joys and sorrows as well as a lovely villa that’s been turned into a duplex. Their lives are inseparable and perfect: their hard-working husbands get along swimmingly and even their little boys are best friends. But when tragedy befalls one of the children, the notion of love thy neighbor as thyself gets put to a grim test, as paranoia and guilt threatens both families. With exquisite production design, gorgeous costumes, and impeccable casting, this electrifying exploration of motherhood and friendship will have you on the edge of your seat, and possibly side-eyeing your neighbor.
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One Child Nation (Born in China)

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 PM (85 min)
China’s egregious population control measure that made it illegal for couples to have more than one child may have ended in 2015, but the process of dealing with the trauma of its merciless enforcement is only beginning. In her Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary One Child Nation, Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow, TCFF 2016) brilliantly takes a deeply personal approach of familial reckoning to the sweeping subject matter, returning home to investigate the generational effects of this destructive social experiment. Exposing one human rights violation after another, from abandoned newborns and forced sterilizations, to state-sponsored kidnappings, One Child Nation is a striking indictment of a government that sought to control women's bodies and reveals how persistent propaganda conditioned and coerced Chinese citizens into perpetrating shocking crimes against each other. It's brave, it's powerful, it's shocking, it's important, and it will stay with you long a
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The Little Mermaid

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 PM (83 min)
Treasures untold await you and your family at this special 30th Anniversary screening of the film that marked the beginning of Disney Animation's fabled Renaissance, restoring the House of Mouse's reputation as the ultimate purveyors of movie magic. This timeless fantasy follows Ariel, a headstrong mermaid who's fascination with the world up above leads her strike a Faustian bargain with a cephalopod sea witch after falling in love with a handsome (if not a bit dull, amirite?) prince. Losing her voice, but never her power, this bubbly and enchanting tale with some of the best songs in the Disney cannon will swim its way into your heart. So don't be such a guppy! Bring your whozits and whatsits galore and come be part of our world Wednesday night at the Open Space.
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The Purity of Vengeance (Kartoteka 64)

Wed, Jul 31 9:00 PM (118 min)
A construction crew discovers three murder victims that have long been hidden behind a false wall in a seemingly abandoned apartment. The cold case is taken up by detective Carl Morck and his soon-to-be ex partner Assad, whose recent promotion to another department is a sore subject for the steely veteran cop. The investigation leads them to a now defunct institution for “troubled girls" and as the horrors of the past are revealed and the detectives push to find the truth, they uncover a monstrous doctor still practicing in ways that hit far too close to home for Assad. The final installment of the Department Q series, which has previously entralled TCFF audiences and produced the highest grossing Danish films ever (with this one surpassing them all), it’s a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller that checks all the boxes for fans of gritty mysteries.
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Villains

Wed, Jul 31 11:59 PM (89 min)
In this inventive take on the home-invasion horror subgenre, it’s the invaders who find themselves endangered. Mickey and Jules, played by millennial horror mainstays Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise of It) and Maika Monroe (It Follows), are Bonnie and Clyde wannabes who make their “living" sporting animal masks and robbing convenience stores. After forgetting to fill the tank at their gas station mark, their car stalls in the middle of nowhere, leading them to decide to steal a car from up the road. Breaking into the home in search of keys, they instead find something much more sinister. And things get seriously demented with the return of the sweet-as-pie homeowners–Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) and Kyra Sedgwick (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)–in this deliriously fun, darkly comedic, and perversely twisted thriller.
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