The 9th annual edition of Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival technically begins tomorrow, Tuesday, July 30, and runs through Sunday, August 4, but “pre-festival” screenings have actually been taking place since Saturday afternoon. The festival offers its audiences the opportunity to experience a wide selection of “just great movies,” representing standouts from larger festivals like Sundance and SXSW, as well as a sampling of brand new films and some retrospectives. Among these are more than forty documentary features, including its Centerpiece slot, Chiemi Karasawa’s ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME, and the following:
Screening as part of the pre-fest “Friends Only” show was the world premiere of Ky Dickens’ SOLE SURVIVOR (pictured), recounting the experiences of people who miraculously survived plane crashes. Also exploring a tragic air accident is Kristina Borjesson’s TWA FLIGHT 800, which investigates claims made by whistleblowers of a cover-up. Robert Greenwald’s WAR ON WHISTLEBLOWERS: FREE PRESS AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE takes as its subject the fates facing those who would publicly reveal government wrongdoing.
Other newer or lesser-seen docs appearing at the festival are Ben Anderson’s THIS IS WHAT WINNING LOOKS LIKE (pictured), about the transition facing Afghanistan as US forces leave the war-torn country to its own security and defense forces; Shosh Shlam and Ada Ushpiz’s GOOD GARBAGE, following Palestinian men and boys as they attempt to support their families by picking through garbage at a Hebron dump; and Jane Gillooly’s SUITCASE OF LOVE AND SHAME, an auditeuristic exploration of a 1960s affair conducted through tape recordings. Finally, of special note is Traverse City’s tribute to Michael Apted with a retrospective screening of all the docs in the UP series.