Traverse City Film Festival Postpones 16th Annual Event Until Next Year
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic event cancelations continue to roll in around the country as well as locally here in Northern Michigan.
The Traverse City Film Festival announced Monday they will postpone their 16th annual gathering until next year due to the precautions being taken around the coronavirus pandemic.
Next year’s festival will be held July 27-August 1, 2021 and plans for this year’s fest will be transferred to next summer.
The festival’s year-round theaters — the historic State Theatre and the Bijou by the Bay — were shut down with all other theaters in Michigan on March 16th by order of the Governor Gretchen Whitmer, causing all TCFF employees to be furloughed.
Since the Governor has not indicated when the theaters will be able to open TCFF believes theaters, arenas, and other facilities where large numbers of people gather indoors in a confined space will be the last areas to go back to “normal.”
TCFF says the festival and its theaters are committed to being a part of the solution to curb the spread of COVID-19, as well as remaining committed to the safety of staff, volunteers, and community.
“We know that the Traverse City community loves the movies, and we are determined to bring back films once the order is lifted and our own local health officials deem it to be safe,” said TCFF founder and president, Michael Moore. “We want to assure our community that we will work with medical professionals to open our theaters when we are allowed to do so and will follow all safety and sanitation measures, including reconfiguring our ticketing and seating to conform to the social distancing protocols. First and foremost, we will work together to keep our community safe.”
TCFF relies on ticket sales for its income and every month that the theaters are closed, TCFF faces staggering losses and mounting debts. ”We have cut back everywhere we can,” said TCFF Managing Director Susan Fisher. “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 Traverse City community has always shown its support for our theaters and festival,” added TCFF Development Director Debbie Hershey. “Since 1916, the State Theatre has been an icon in Traverse City where people gather to enjoy the art of film. Our community also knows that throughout the year the TCFF organization provides over $600,000 in free or low-cost community and school events. We now must turn to this same community for help. There are easy ways to continue to support the theaters and festival. For now you can go online and become a member or donate. Soon we will present a plan for how we will reboot our theaters and festival and how you can join the movement to help us make that happen.”
”We’re trying to be creative with options to bring the State and Bijou cinema experience into people’s homes,” Moore added. “But even with those initiatives the organization will soon deplete its resources.”
The festival is keeping some virtual activities alive, fans can purchase exclusive streaming rentals, including some TCFF 2019 favorites, through the State and Bijou website where a small portion of the proceeds benefits the theaters.