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August 01, 2011 - Image 2

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-08-01

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Monday, August1, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

University renews partnership with Traverse
City Film Festival in quest to expand the arts

Event aims to
teach students and
residents about the
art of filmmaking
ByJESSICA TREPKA
For the Daily
Film enthusiasts from around
the country and beyond gathered
in Traverse City, Mich. this past
week to experience the art of film
at the seventh annual Traverse
City Film Festival.
The festival, which was
held from July 26 to July 31, was
developed in 2005 by Michael
Moore, a native Michigander and
renowned political filmmaker.
The University decided to renew
its educational affiliation with the
festival for a second year by invit-
ing University professors from the
department of Screen Arts & Cul-
tures to serve as jurors for many
of the films previewed at the fes-
tival.
Lee Doyle, director of the Uni-
versity's Film Office, said the film
festival's popularity has increased
substantially since its inception,
noting that admission has dou-
bled since its first year, and last
year's festival offered more than
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135 screenings and received more
than 106,000 submissions.
Doyle added that Moore's
vision and enthusiasm for film
has served as the festival's lasting
legacy.
"(The) imprint of Michael
Moore has enthusiasts of the film
industry gathering together,"
Doyle said. "He has created an
atmosphere for film fans of all
sorts of interests."
Moore chooses which films
are shown and often decides on
content that pushes boundaries
in order to open the public's eyes
to serious issues, according to the
festival's online mission state-
ment.
"Aspecial emphasis isgiven to
foreign films, American indepen-
dents, documentaries, and films
which have been overlooked but
deserve the attention of a public
starved to see a good movie," the
festival's website said.
However, the festival is not
limited to film viewings. There is
also an onsite film school where
the public can take classes to
enrich their knowledge of sub-
jects like directing, screenwriting
and how to break into the indus-
try, many of which are taught by
University professors, Doyle said.
"One of the main purposes
is to teach people to view film as

an art," he said. "The film festival
helps people take film more seri-
ously."
Doyle added that by partak-
ing in the festival, the University
aims to elevate the role of the arts
in public life and to show that it is
more than just a research institu-
tion.
"It is always important for the
University to reach out," Doyle
said. "We take our role as a pub-
lic University very seriously. We
have a strong alumni base, and we
enjoy bringing a part of the Uni-
versity to them."
Two short films - "Work/
Study," written by Ben Ellmann
and directed by Joey Bergren as
well as "Shark Tank," written
by Kelci Parker and directed by
Barbara Twist - were created by
students from SAC and viewed at
the festival by a wide array of film
fans, experts and industry mem-
bers.
Festival juror and University
SAC Prof. Colin Gunckel said the
chance to have student works
shown at a popular festival pro-
vides immense opportunities for
film students and also serves as a
forum to showcase the University
and its SAC program.
"Our participation allows
festival attendees to understand
what our department is all about,

and provides us as faculty with an
opportunity to share our knowl-
edge and expertise beyond a
purely academic setting," Gunckel
said.
Additionally he said the fes-
tival provides students with both
internship opportunities and the
ability to network with profes-
sionals.
"(The students are) certainly
gratified to hear a large audi-
ence react to their films, espe-
cially when they laugh at the right
parts," Gunckel said. "It's also an
excellent chance for them to net-
work. A number of our students
also work as interns for the fes-
tival - a great way for them to
get experience beyond the class-
room."
He added he was excited to
take part in the festival because
it draws attendees from around
the world who become immersed
in the culture and community
of Traverse City by partaking in
activities like screening films on
the lakeshore.
"The festival also gener-
ates a great deal of enthusiasm
among the residents of Traverse
City," Gunckel said. "Screenings
are frequently sold out and the
entire town is truly energized and
excited about cinema. It's really a
unique environment to witness."

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An Ann Arbor resident picks out a book during the Ann Arbor District Library used book sale on July 30.

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