Freedom Festival

The funniest thing about the aforementioned Traverse City Film Festival is that some people in this part of Michigan hate Michael Moore so much that they had to organize an “alternative” film festival so that freedom-haters would not prevail. Hence, the Traverse Bay Freedom Film-Fest·.

I could sort of understand having an anti-Moore film festival if the Moore film festival featured only leftist propaganda. Check out the featured films·: free showings of Jaws, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Princess Bride, and Casablanca; documentaries such as Mad Hot Ballroom·; dramatic works like Italian for Beginners; and so on. Admittedly, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room· has a bit of an anti-criminal-corporation slant, but do the “freedom film-fest” organizers believe the Enron executives should instead be held up as patriotic examples?

In any case, there were a number of funny stories about the Freedom Film-Fest. Including this one — Glitch puts R-rated film onscreen·:

TRAVERSE CITY – The “family-friendly” Traverse Bay Freedom FilmFest turned R-rated briefly when the festival accidentally showed the wrong version of one of its films.

Festival organizers had planned to show “Michael Moore Hates America,” a documentary-style film by Michael Wilson that examines the filmmaking methods of director Michael Moore, at 7 p.m. Friday. But about 10 minutes into the film – one of the festival’s main attractions – organizers discovered they’d been sent the original R-rated version, containing profane language.

“We knew there were two versions out: one family version, edited for filth, and one potty version,” said festival co-founder Genie Aldrich. “Luckily, we had superior films in the hopper so we yanked it.”

Ann Laurence said she was in the audience at the Park Place Hotel when the film paused and the lights came on.

“Then they literally raced to the podium and started apologizing profusely for the horrible language,” said Laurence, a Traverse City resident.

Though Laurence and a handful of others left, Aldrich said most in the audience stayed and got free popcorn refills while organizers replaced the film with one about former President Ronald Reagan.

“The great thing about it was that people got the message in the audience,” she said. “People are not stupid. People can see films without the f-word.”

Also, Crowd is small, thankful at Freedom FilmFest·:

For Gerry Schichtel – who this weekend saw “Top Gun” for the first time – the alternative Freedom Film Festival wrapped its debut with “just the kind of movies I like.”


“I wouldn’t go to any of Michael Moore’s films; I don’t like his political views,” Schichtel said of the award-winning filmmaker and founder of the Traverse City Film Festival.


The alternative film festival’s crowds were meager compared to the thousands that attended Moore’s festival, but founder Genie Aldrich said she was happy with the turnout.

“There’s more than one of us,” she said.

Traverse City Film Festival

I’m in Traverse City, Michigan, for the weekend. Not only is Traverse City the Cherry Capitol of the Entire World, but this year they have for the first time a summer film festival·, organized in a hurry by Michael Moore· (who lives nearby) and friends. The festival has a great selection of films, including premier (or pre-American release) showings of Grizzly Man·, A Good Woman· (featuring Scarlett Johansson·) and Broken Flowers· (a Jim Jarmusch·film featuring Bill Murray· and — Julie Delpy·!).

Well, that’s enough linking for one day.