Film Fest too elitist?
Does the Traverse City Film Festival love the people of Traverse City? The festival has demonstrated tremendous potential, but is at risk of losing focus of its mission to “just show great movies.“
There were several moments throughout the 2008 festival -- like ushering the audience out of the theatre before the credits could roll -- that made it seem that maybe good films are no longer behind the excitement of the festival.
Although festivals like this rely on the generous support of the community, the motivation to become a Friend or an individual sponsor denotes a certain status that allows special access to the films rather than a desire to donate to the festival.
Rather than reserving tickets for sale to the general public, many movies were sold out prior to the opening of sales, and standby tickets for these films were not available. Failing to make the movies available to the people that love to go to the movies especially those in the community that may not be able to afford a generous donation taints the magic of the TC Film Festival.
In their mission, the Traverse City Film Festival pledges to enrich the human spirit and the art of filmmaking not the bottom line. And this mission is fulfilled when audiences are invited to engage in thoughtful discussion with the filmmakers after screening films like Captain Abu Raed and Body of War.
These films inspire and provoke, ask us to look beyond ourselves, and remind us of what success is really about. In these films, success is about giving hope and meaning, especially to those that need it the most. How can our Film Festival give hope and meaning to those that need it the most in our community?
Knowing all the good reasons to go see these films, many people waited in standby lines for hours and failed to receive tickets. This is deplorable.
Catering to the people who can afford the large fee to become a friend of the festival will ostracize many citizens who live in and around Traverse City. This system prevents a substantial population of working-class citizens from even having the hope that they can afford the money or the time in line to attend the festival.
In order to retain support and enthusiasm, tickets must be available to the people and continue to be affordable.
The Traverse City Film Festival was supposed to be a festival for the people; we do not think anyone would want to promote our film festival as one emulating the Sundance Film Festival.
The Traverse City Film Festival is unique because it is not exclusive and it is not about celebrities. Lets always strive for an egalitarian society where even just great films are for everyone, despite their friend status. A real friend supports the greater good of the festival and the community, and not by increasing their personal access to films by restricting it to others.
Kathryn & Frank Lepera
Quit knocking Madonna
As a fan of Madonna, I am tired of the ridicule, criticism, and negative attitudes towards her appearing at the film festival.
Michael Moore asked her to attend because he felt her documentary was a worthwhile experience for everyone in Traverse City, whether you were a Madonna fan or not.
The whole reason she was here was to make us more aware of how fortunate we are as a country, and how we can be a part of the big picture in changing the world. In my stance, if anyone can help save us, Madonna can. She does not limit herself to one perspective, but has many. She rarely judges others as we do, or puts people on pedestals.
I think if you have something important to say, say it, but if it is only to bash another celebrity for living their life, or doing their job in ways you find inappropriate, keep it to yourself.
Angela Crandall via email
The brain drain
I agree with Rick Coates articulate article about the youth of this state and the future need to have them stay (“Plugging the Brain Drain“ 8/11).
I must say that I was one of those fleeing the state; albeit decades ago. My reason: Growing up in suburban Detroit, everything was focused on the auto industry. I wanted to pursue an education and career in the arts -- either fine art or commercial. Michigan is not as encouraging to young people either today or yesterday. Yes, there are those that stayed to flourish and succeed. But there are others who just dont.
A couple of suggestions from someone who eventually came back to Michigan after a 20+ year absence:
- Improve the public school system;
- Offer more scholarships/grants;
- Expand industry sectors (thus creating a wider range of job opportunities);
- Spotlight innovation and think tanks;
- Open up small business lending and angel investing;
- Focus on quality of work/life balance.
As we pack up my eldest for her first year of college in Chicago, I dont in the slightest begrudge her the opportunity to attend college in such a vibrant and diverse environment. A city in which she spent the first 10 years of her life; how befitting that she regards it as somewhat of a homecoming.
Im generalizing here, but Michigans leadership in the political and industrial arenas have shunned the creative class. I find this contrary to our history. Been to Greenfield Village or Henry Ford Museum lately? Take a look at all the innovation that this great state was built upon.
Yes, Rick, you are right... we need our youth. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, business owners, researchers, designers, civic leadership and so much more so our state can start anew.
Joann Sondy via email