The Traverse City Film Festival's 2007 lineup, announced this past weekend, looks like programming you might find at any regional film festival. Many of the movies are indie films that populated the festival or arthouse circuit in the past year: Black Sheep, Sherrybaby, Away from Her.

Some are fun retro films, like Grease and Raiders of the Lost Ark. You might notice a slightly higher number than usual of politically oriented documentaries, such as Chicago 10, Everything's Cool, No End in Sight ... but even then, would this festival seem at all out of the ordinary if you didn't know that it was founded and programmed by Michael Moore? As soon as people hear that, they zoom toward titles like Blue State and Al Franken: God Spoke, with a triumphant "Ah-hah! This is a lefty festival with a subversive liberal agenda!" (You already started thinking that when you saw the title, didn't you?)

I admit I was one of the people who thought that this Michigan film fest might be a way for Moore to promote propaganda-like documentaries. But to be honest, the programming doesn't support that. One category of films at Traverse City is called "Dangerous Docs," and although it does include issue-driven films, it also includes selections like The King of Kong, probably the least political movie I've seen this year. If the festival is promoting anything, it is indie filmmaking -- my guess is that films like Waitress and Paprika don't usually get much theatrical time in that part of Michigan.

I'm also pleasantly surprised to see the 1950 film In a Lonely Place included -- that's something for film lovers, not activism. The festival's Mission page confirms the commitment to independent, non-mainstream films, although there is a line about "great movies that entertain and enlighten the audience." Events also will include a session with Borat director Larry Charles, whose untitled film about religion was just bought by Lionsgate ... and who incidentally is on the festival's board of directors. The festival takes place from July 31 through August 5.

[ via Green Cine Daily ]
categories Cinematical