TC Film Festival Announces Free Discussion Panel Topics, Lineup of Celebrity Guests

Over 50 directors, producers, actors scheduled to accompany films to festival; stars to appear on free discussion panels each morning

Over 50 directors, producers, actors scheduled to accompany films to festival; stars to appear on free discussion panels each morning


Traverse City, Mich. (July 25, 2008) – Over 50 filmmakers, actors and industry insiders will appear at next week's Traverse City Film Festival, festival organizers announced today.

Highlights of the 2008 festival include appearances by Madonna, who will be introducing her new documentary "I Am Because We Are" to two sold-out venues, and media personality Phil Donahue, who will be screening his new film, "Body of War," alongside co-director Ellen Spiro. Legendary filmmaker Stanley Donen ("Funny Face," "Singin' in the Rain") will also appear at the festival as part of a special in-person tribute to the director's body of work.


TCFF board member and acclaimed "Borat" director Larry Charles has announced that he will also show a sneak peak of his new film, "Religulous," at this year's festival. The title of the film comes from the combination of the words "religion" and "ridiculous" and is a satirical look at the concept of organized religion, as seen through the eyes of comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher.


"We are thrilled to once again offer attendees of the Traverse City Film Festival the first chance to see a new Larry Charles film," said festival president Michael Moore. "Audience response was overwhelmingly positive to the first sneak preview of 'Borat' in 2006, and we look forward to giving moviegoers that opportunity again this year with 'Religulous.'"

Also scheduled to attend the festival is Eric Eisner, son of Disney CEO Michael Eisner and producer of the festival's closing night film, "Hamlet 2." Moore called the film "one of the funniest movies I've seen all year" and noted that one of its screenings had already sold out, with the second screening nearly sold out.


Over 20 other films chosen for the fourth annual festival will have their directors and/or producers accompanying them to Traverse City, including the first independent film from Jordan, "Captain Abu Raed," whose director Amin Matalqa will introduce the movie at festival screenings. Other films with visiting filmmakers attached include:


"Flash of Genius" – Marc Abraham, Director

 "Younkers Joe" – Robert Celestino, Director, and Christine Lahti, Actress

"Theater of War" – John Walter, Director, and Adriane Giebel, Line Producer

"Bigger, Stronger, Faster" – Chris Bell, Writer/Director

"Trouble the Water" – Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, Directors

"Anvil! The Story of Anvil" – Sacha Gervasi, Director, and Members of Anvil

"Sympathy for the Lobster" – Sabina Guzzanti, Director

"Man in the Chair" – Michael Schroeder, Director

"Baghdad High" – Lauren Winter, Director, and Ali Shadman, Subject

"Pray the Devil Back to Hell" – Gini Reticker, Director

"The Pope's Toilet" – Cesar Charlone, Writer/Director

"The Youngest Candidate" – Jason Pollock, Director

"Trumbo" – Christopher Trumbo, Writer

"War, Love, God & Madness" – Danny Evans, Producer

"Older Than America" – Georgina Lightning, Director/Actor, Christine Walker, Producer, and Aaron Schloer, AD

"Song Sung Blue" – Greg Kohs, Writer/Director

"Profit Motive" – John Gianvito, Director


"We are proud to have so many directors and stars coming to our festival," said Moore. "From Uruguay to Italy to Pakistan, this diverse group of filmmakers will give moviegoers in Traverse City an incredible opportunity to interact with industry insiders and see great works of art from all over the world."


Moore indicated that many of the guests will be participating in the festival's popular morning discussion panels, held daily Wednesday-Sunday at 10 a.m. at the City Opera House in downtown Traverse City. Panel tickets are free to the public and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 9 a.m. each morning. The complete list of panel topics and guests for the 2008 Traverse City Film Festival is as follows*:



"Front and Vine: Showing Movies at the State, Making Movies in Michigan"

Rich Brauer (Brauer Productions), Russ Collins (Michigan Theater), Sean Fine ("War Dance"), Christine Lahti ("Yonkers Joe"), Gretchen Mol ("3:10 to Yuma"), Michael Moore, Janet Lockwood of the Michigan Film Office, Andrea Nix-Fine, special guests

Sponsored by Warner Norcross & Judd LLP



"Who Are These Terrorists, and Why Do They Make Movies?"

Daniel Evans ("War, Love, God & Madness"), Amin Matalqa ("Captain Abu Raed"), David Pritchard ("Captain Abu Raed"), Laura J. Winter ("Baghdad High"), Christopher Trumbo ("Trumbo")

Sponsored by the U & I Lounge



"The Phil Donahue Show, Live in Traverse City!"

Phil Donahue with guests Michael Moore and Stanley Donen

Sponsored by Ungaretti & Harris LLP



"Saturday All-Star Comedy Panel"

Larry Charles ("Religulous"), Stanley Donen, Sabina Guzzanti ("Sympathy for the Lobster"), Elaine May ("The Birdcage"), John Lyons (Focus Features), special guests

Sponsored by Longview Winery



"I Worked with Michael Moore and Lived to Make This Movie"

Carl Deal ("Trouble the Water"), Tia Lessin ("Trouble the Water"), Jason Pollock ("The Youngest Candidate"), Gini Reticker ("Pray the Devil Back to Hell")

Sponsored by Bay Bread Company and Bob & Carol Goff


*Panelist schedule subject to change


Tickets to the Traverse City Film Festival can be purchased online at, by phone at 231-929-1627 or at the TCFF Box Office located at 300 E. Front St. in Radio Centre in downtown Traverse City. Tickets for all regular screenings are $9; opening and closing night films are $25. Opening and closing night party tickets are $50.


The fourth annual Traverse City Film Festival will be held from July 29 to August 3, 2008. For more information, please contact the Traverse City Film Festival office at 231-392-1134 or visit


About the Traverse City Film Festival


The Traverse City Film Festival is a charitable, educational, nonprofit organization committed to showing "Just Great Movies" and helping to save one of America's few indigenous art forms – the cinema. The festival also owns and operates a year-round, community-based, mission-driven art house movie theater, the State Theatre. Founded by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore and co-founders local photographer John Robert Williams and New York Times best-selling author Doug Stanton, with filmmakers Larry Charles and Terry George rounding out the Board of Directors, the festival brings films and filmmakers from around the world to northern Michigan.



Tags: Michael Moore, Traverse City