Traverse City Film Festival canceled — will resume summer of 2021

May 11, 2020


The Traverse City Film Festival has been canceled for 2020.
Credit State Theater / Courtesy

The Traverse City Film Festival is officially canceled. 

Film Festival Founder and President Michael Moore made the announcement Monday, saying there was no way around it amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I’m very, very sorry to announce that we cannot come together this summer to participate in our 16th Traverse City Film Festival,” Moore said in a statement. “We doubt the governor’s order closing our theaters and the festival will be lifted any time soon — and we agree it shouldn’t.”

The festival will not be rescheduled this year, but Moore says it will be back in 2021. 

This year’s event was scheduled to run July 27 to August 1. 

“So we’ll postpone our plans until next summer… And I can guarantee you, with hope in my heart, it will be unlike any other film festival we’ve had,” Moore said. 

The state’s theaters were shut down March 16 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer amid fears of spreading the coronavirus.

Due to the closures of the festival’s year-round theaters, the historic State Theater and the Bijou at the Bay, the Traverse City Film Festival has major financial woes to face. 

“We have cut back everywhere we can,” TCFF Managing Director Susan Fisher said in a statement. “Even with the theaters closed there are still the bare bones monthly costs in the thousands just to maintain the buildings, equipment and organization. The loss of year-round theater revenue and the significant loss of proceeds from this summer’s now-canceled film festival leave us in a precarious financial position.”

The festival will maintain some online, virtual activities, and is also looking at doing a pop-up drive-in mini festival.