Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Michael Moore‘s sneak...
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Michael Moore‘s sneak preview

Rick Coates - July 26th, 2010
Michael Moore’s Sneak Preview
By Rick Coates
Academy Award-winning film producer Michael Moore is never at a loss
of words. The co-founder of the Traverse City Film Festival took time
out in the wee hours of the morning to sit down for a two-hour
interview, sharing his insights on not only the Film Festival but also
President Obama, the future of Michigan, the state of Downtown
Traverse City and the new Comedy Festival. Moore also discussed his
own future and how he almost threw in the towel on living here in
Northern Michigan to move to Ann Arbor.
Here is a synopsis on the interview. To read the complete
transcript go to the feature archive at www.northernexpress.com

Northern Express: There are just over 80 films at this year’s Festival
and you watched 500 to make your selections. How do you find the time?
Michael Moore: I started right after last year’s Film Festival and try
and watch one film a day. If the film sucks so bad after a half hour,
I am not going to watch another half an hour. But also I don’t stop
after three minutes -- I always give a film 30 minutes. I have a
theory about opening credits and the first song, it is like the first
date. This is the very first thing they are offering the audience, if
they don’t take the time to make this great in the first 10 minutes
then you know the rest of the date probably isn’t going to be the

NE: Okay, some films have sold right out, others have been slow to
sell. What in your opinion should have sold out right away and has
Moore: There are a few, some of it has to do with timing of great
films going against other great films. But if one stands out it is
Rush: Behind The Lighted Stage. This is a great film about a great
band. If you are a Rush fan this is a must, but even if you have never
heard of this band you will like this film. Also, the shorts films
have not been selling as well as they should be. I think people do
not understand the concept; these are great films. Also the John
Lennon film on opening night didn’t sell out and The Kids Are All
Right did. The Lennon film is excellent. I chose two opening films
this year and I think some people think this is a second film, but it
is equal billing and a lot of festivals have two or more opening night

NE: What has surprised you most about this Festival after six years?
Moore: That a rural area like Northern Michigan -- a fairly
conservative area -- has been excited and open to trying something
new, like watching a film from Vietnam or Iran. To meeting filmmakers
from 10,000 miles away, to being willing to watch films with
subtitles. To watching non-fiction films. Hollywood has no interest in
shipping films to places like Traverse City of a foreign or
non-fiction nature. Now, they believe people in the flyover area
between NY and LA are not sophisticated enough and are not interested
in films that treat cinema as an art form. What this festival has
proven is there is a market for these types of films, not only here
but in all the Traverse Cities of the country.

NE: What has disappointed you the most since starting the Festival?
Moore: I am still trying to break through a value system that is
different from where I come from. Much of it has to do with money. For
instance, I asked Deb Lake (Film Festival Manager) why do you think
the quality of trailers (the homemade submissions shown before films)
is better this year than last year? ‘She responded because we are
offering prize money this year.’ That sat with me all day. I have
never made a film for the money. When I made my first film, Roger &
Me, I was unemployed, collecting $96 a week, and made that film to
make a difference for my community. Okay, a radio station sent me a
letter saying they were happy to be a part of the Festival and had
provided a donation of $23,000 in air time and they were essentially
looking for what the Film Festival was going to give them in exchange.
I thought wow, wait a minute: this Film Festival is what we are giving
you, this is a gift to the community that is making this a better
place to live for us and our kids. So that is my biggest
disappointment that after six years not everyone gets what this is all
about. Fortunately that is just the minority.

NE: In this economy, how has the sponsorship for the Festival been for
this year?
Moore: There has been no drop; in fact we sold out of $1,000 film
sponsorships right away. People have come to me because of these tough
economic times concerned about the Festival and wanting to make sure
that it is not in jeopardy. So people have stepped up. What has
dropped has been the working people who a couple of years ago could
afford the $50 Friends of the Festival membership can’t now. I am
looking to change this. One of the things I said in the first year is
we do not believe in the principle of the velvet  rope of keeping the
proletariat back and letting only the wealthy to have access to this

NE: Has there been any sort of study to show the economic impact the
Festival has on the region?
Moore: No, not an official study, but based on industry standards the
State Theatre is bringing in $5 million a year. I think that when you
equate that formula to the Film Festival we are somewhere in the
neighborhood of $10 million annually. I am hesitant to put a number on
this -- I don’t have to sell this to the community -- everyone knows
what this Festival does. What I am most proud of is that we have kept
tickets affordable at $9.50 a ticket. Everyone can at least afford a
couple of movies.

NE: Okay let’s change direction and give us your assessment of Obama’s
first two years in office and how do you think the country is handling
his presidency?
Moore: Well he and his administration have broken faith with that
massive energized base that he had. He got caught up with ‘can’t we
all get along?’ and trying to be bipartisan and the people didn’t
elect a bipartisan anything -- they elected a Democratic president,
Senate and House and made it very clear that they wanted Democrats
running things, not Republicans or a Republican/Democrat blend. He won
by over 10 million votes, not the 500,000 Gore won by in 2000. What
part of victory did Obama not understand?
Don’t give us health care lite, Wall Street reform lite. We sent him
there to fix it now; if he doesn’t, he and the Democrats are not going
to return to office. People are not going to keep blaming Bush for the
next four years. Okay, people have said Bush sucked, but we brought
you in to fix it, so fix it.
But I am standing by him; he has been under such crazy attacks from
the other side, racist attacks. My advice to him is to listen to your
heart and do what the voters elected you to do.

NE: Okay, primary next week in Michigan -- any comments?
Moore: I think the mayor of Lansing (Virg Bennero) will bring a new
perspective. Governor Granholm inherited such a mess from Governor
Engler. No one person was going to fix that mess. The economy got
worse. The problem in this state is much larger than one person can
The problem is this: Michigan is sinking fast down the toilet and we
need leadership, we need bold fresh ideas, new thinking, and we all
need to quit deluding ourselves into thinking that the rescue party is
coming. They are not on their way -- they rode on their horses past
Michigan. They are not coming here ever, so we have to save ourselves.
You know what? We have been pretty good at doing that in the past.
When you think what this state has given this world, we put the world
on wheels, it had been invented 50,000 years earlier but we figured
out how to put people on them: guys like Thomas Edison changed the
world. Berry Gordy, Kellogg and other inventors changed the world. I
believe that Henry Fords are still with us today but we do not have a
system in place to nurture them. This is not just the Great Lakes
State, this is the Great State. We are the state that gave the country
the good Republican party; yes the Republican party was started in
Jackson to free the slaves. I believe we can do that again and we just
need people to step up and be bold.

NE: What are you working on now?
Moore: Not saying.

NE: A clue?
Moore: Not saying, just that I am working on some things is all that
you are going to get.

NE: How is the Traverse City Comedy Festival coming for this winter?
Moore: I’ve got a couple of problems. I don’t have enough room for all
the comedians that want to come in. Last year’s Festival was so
successful that the comedians went back and told everyone; now all
these great comedians want to come to Traverse City in the middle of
winter. It is unbelievable. I can’t announce anything yet, but we are
taking it to the next level with some big names. Look for details in a

For a complete transcript of the two-hour Michael Moore interview go
to www.northernexpress.com.  Moore describes how he almost moved from
Northern Michigan because of hateful attacks, he weighs in on the USDA
firing of an employee for a sound bite on FOX News that misrepresented
her. He talks about John Hughes, this year’s Michigan Filmmaker of the
Year, and answers the question if he is the money behind the new
complex on the corner of Front and Park Street in Downtown Traverse

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