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Local News / Entertainment

Sunday, 12 August, 2012 7:52 PM

Traverse City Film Fest Holds Past and Future equal in focus during the Present

Photo credit: www.traversecityfilmfest.org

A still photo from "Detropia," which was screened at the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival.

 

by Pete Bublitz
petblitz@yahoo.com

 

 

|

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The weekend of the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival certainly spread out the celebration of past cinema and the anticipation of new releases, with films like "Detropia" and "Red Flag" representing the latter and retrospective series on German director Wim Wenders and pioneer animator Winsor McCay affiliated with the former. Both stages of movie achievement, however, received their most definitive focus in two major presentations that Saturday.

On the morning of August 4, the upstairs area of the City Opera House played host to a discussion panel moderated by Director and Festival Organizer Michael Moore about a fast approaching transition in filmmaking being finalized. As the event moved forward through to its final acquisitions during the Q&A sessions, it became surprising how star-studded in terms of film industry representation the audience was also. You had commercial directors from Hollywood all the way to the Head Film Archivist of the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Titled as Film is Dead! Long Live Floppy Disks!, the panel discussed the possible effects of digital movie-making finally making film a defunct print format and whether the overall outcome should be positive or negative. Filling out the panel was the Festival’s Presentation Director Bill Hill (though preview packet information listed Wenders as a panelist), Principal of Boston Light & Sound Chapin Cutler, "Red Flag" Director Alex Karpovsky, "Side by Side" Director Chris Kenneally, and "Belfast" Director Mark Cousins, who had the most expansive project of that week (but more on it in a bit).

Early concerns voiced by the more experienced in the panel were aimed toward who would be left in the dust when digital cinema becomes an absolute. “There are 10,000 theaters without a digital projector,” voiced Hill, saying that updating all of them by the end of the year would be extremely difficult.

Karpovsky, meanwhile, kept the evolution of quality in mind: “Some of the worst films I’ve seen are on film.” Another factor was that like the internet had done with writing, digital film made the art limited no more. Said Kenneally: “It used to be [only in] New York, L.A., Chicago that you could [make films].” Now, he added, it could be done anywhere.

In the end it was driven home by Cousins that while technology and style will forever change, the art at its core as of now remains the same. “I passionately believe that film is still young.” It’s this kind of progression and connection across the decades of the said art’s existence that comprised the editing theme of his created series showing at the Dennos Museum Center’s Dutmers Theater down the street.

Beginning at 9:00 a.m. that Saturday, his compilation documentary called "The Story of Film: an Odyssey" was extensive enough a narration on the art’s 1800s-to-now existence that it totals fifteen hours total and was split among fifteen parts over that day and the next.

In terms of the sections viewed, the topic flow theme was to cover movies released within the time frame of the part’s time range, while also squeezing in that gave or received a varying influence that created spontaneous unexpectedness on where I as a viewer would end up.

And the films referenced were not there as a visual claim to each period’s best work. What contributed to the series most was Cousins’ voiced background and analysis on what every film contributed through it captured details (though such analysis wasn’t perfect; I didn’t have the heart to tell Cousins in person my belief that a Seven Samurai character was matched with the wrong name several times).

Yet, for a length just nine short of a day, it does enough to merge the past, present and future in equaling the overall festival’s celebration of what cinema was, is, and can become.

For more information about the Traverse City Film Festival, visit www.traversecityfilmfest.org.

Related Stories: Friday night is an animated one for the 50th Ann Arbor Film Fest; Michael McCallum honored as Michigan Independent Filmmaker of the Year at 3rd Annual MI Film Awards

 

 

Photo credit: www.traversecityfilmfest.org

"Hit and Run" was also shown at the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival.

 

Photo credit: www.traversecityfilmfest.org

A screen shot from "Bernie," which was screened at the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival.

 

Photo credit: www.traversecityfilmfest.org

"The Story of Film: an Odyssey" was also shown at the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival.

 

Photo credit: www.traversecityfilmfest.org

A screen shot from "Robot and Frank," which was screened at the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival.

 

Photo credit: www.traversecityfilmfest.org

"Searching for Sugarman" was also shown at the 2012 Traverse City Film Festival.

 

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