There is a new way to enjoy several of this year's entries at the Traverse City Film Festival. You can sit back and relax, and enjoy a movie while sailing on West Grand Traverse Bay.
Last fall, festival founder Michael Moore made public his idea of showing movies on the water. One person who heard that was Captain Chien Nowland, owner of the Nauti-Cat, a sailboat based in Traverse City. Chein told the film festival's execturive director he was interested in helping Moore's idea become a reality, and this past spring, measurements were taken, custom screens were installed, and now the Nauti-Cat is a floating movie theatre.
"Our first, initial image was, I think she talked about an LCD-TV, like a big TV or something, and I thought that would be just a little too small" says Chien. "And then we talked about a big projector and then found out the mast would be in the way. So we have two screens to cover each side of the ship."
Organizers of the Film Festival say the response to the floating films was overwhelming. Each night is sold out, although the festival's Jen Fenton says there may be one or two seats available on each cruise. If you don't already have tickets, Fenton says you can show up at 8:45pm and if there's room on the boat, you can buy a ticket. The ship leaves each night, tonight through Sunday night, at 9pm from the gas dock at Clinch Marina, near the open space in Traverse City.
Capt. Chien of the Nauti-Cat says he is donating his boat and staff to the film festival for these cruises, and because of all of the interest in seeing movies on the water, he's already thinking about continuing to show movies after the film festival.