Michael Moore Brings the Curtain Down on the 2010 Traverse City Festival

Caption: Oh Michael, we love your style.

It was bright lights in the little city last night at the Traverse City’s Park Place Dome where Michael Moore hosted the announcements of the 2010 Traverse City Film Festival Awards. White lights twinkled across the ceiling playing out the Closing Night party theme, starry night. Guests mingled and munched to the jazzy strains of the Windy Ridge Quartet. And what noshing it was—Traverse area restaurants and wineries outdid themselves with food and drink that lived up to the occasion. Certainly, the grand finale for a week in which Traverse City restaurants shined. New York City film director Larry Brand told me he’d never had a bad meal in Traverse City—pretty bold compliment from the Big Apple. When I pitched the question “What was your festival highlight?” to L.A. screenwriter, V. Prasada he told me “the restaurants.”

Caption: Tabbouleh cones from the Hagerty Center’s caterers.

My husband and I shared a stand-up table with a lively crowd that included restaurateur Phil Murray (Phil’s on Front Street) and his wife, Aurora. Phil told us that the festival had amped his receipts up 50 percent. One table paid $350 for a dinner and tipped their waitress $1000. The waitress Googled his name later, turns out he was an L.A. producer.

Caption: Aurora and Phil Murray

Later, several of the esteemed members of the fiction jury gathered round the table, among them the chair, Tracy (“Where else can you eat a sandwich in a movie?”) Kurtz, V. Prasad and Michael Middelstaedt. (Rebecca Reynolds, where were you mingling?) The fiction jury watched 21 movies during the course of the festival. It was a dirty job but somebody had to do it.

Caption: V. Prasad and Michael Middlestaedt

Caption: Jens and Tracy Kurtz

As the night wore on, we begged Tracy for a sneak preview of the fiction movie winners. Being Tracy, she held out for, um, several seconds.

Before we’d had time to play telephone with Tracy’s list, Michael Moore swept in a little late and very much adored, as is usual at this festival. Sssshing a buzzing, cheering crowd, he announced the jury chairs who delivered them, envelope please , winners. Among the highlights:

Best Film, Fiction Jury Award: In the Beginning
Best Film, Nonfiction Jury Award: The Miscreants of Taliwood
Best Nonfiction, Audience Award: The Most Dangerous Man in America

Caption: Michael Moore stops to chat with The Most Dangerous Man in America,” co-director and co-producer Rick Goldsmith.

I’ll close with a photo of the truly esteemed festival founders, Michael Moore, John Robert Williams and Doug Stanton. The three have done so much for Traverse City—not the least of which is freeing all men in Traverse City from suits forever. Well done gentlemen!

Caption r to l: Michael Moore, John Robert Williams and Doug Stanton

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