Crowds celebrate film festival with music, food and drinks

Front Street is shut down in front of the State Theatre for hundreds of people to celebrate with food, drinks, and music.

Hundreds of people are celebrated the official start to the tenth annual Traverse City Film Festival Tuesday night.

The Opening Night Party got underway at 8:30 p.m. While the week is all about movies, the party is more about food and drinks.

Many people say they always try to come out for the opening night party because it's a fun way to kick off the festival.

â??I came to Traverse Cityâ??my wife and Iâ??seven years ago for the film festival and we've been coming ever since,â?? said Anthony Wilgus from Finley, Ohio.

It's a common theme among festival-goers: they keep coming back for "just great movies."

â??It's a different quality of movie for one,â?? said Mark Burt from Midland. â??It's a whole different thing than your action-packed, shoot them up movies. These are good movies.â??

Burt's family used to come for the weekend, but now, going on their eighth year visiting the festival, they take time off to spend the entire week in Traverse City.

â??I think we have eight movies planned. Maybe a couple more,â?? Burt joked.

Preparations started early in the day for the Opening Night Party.

Front Street is shut down in front of the State Theatre for hundreds of people to celebrate with food, drinks, and music.

Joe Thatcher and his wife were first in line for the big party.

â??What's not to be excited about?â?? posed Joe Thatcher from Suttons Bay. â??Oh my gosh, look at all these people all over the place and weâ??re in Traverse City.â??

Festival volunteers were treated to a special screening of â??The Volcanoâ?? the night before.

â??It was awesome,â?? said Laura Kalchik, a film festival volunteer from Suttons Bay. â??Foreign, it was French. Funny, comedy, on the road trip type and it was funny.â??

â??I absolutely loved it, said Wilgus. â??I haven't laughed so hard in my life.â??

So what kinds of movies do people look forward to the most?

â??Adventure, drama...â?? said Wilgus.

â??Romantic comedies,â?? said Kalchik.

â??Horror,â?? said Tracy West from Lumberton, North Carolina.

â??I like the French films where nobody wins. Everybody loses in the end,â?? said Burt.

â??I like romantic comedies. Theyâ??re fun. I like movies with lots of explosions in them,â?? said Thatcher.

Festival founder Michael Moore announced Tuesday a donation of $250,000 to bring the film festival to hundreds of theaters.

The money comes from the "Roger and Me Foundation."

The fun continued at the Open Space with the first movie by the bay of the week.

Movie-goers enjoyed â??Jawsâ?? on the big outdoor screen and got to take free pictures with jaws.

Hundreds gathered, some in their pajamas, to enjoy snacks and live music beforehand the free movie started.

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