Michael Moore Talks About TCFF Lawsuit, Film Festival Future, And Finances

Director says that he believes the plaintiff will wind up being regretful for even bringing the issue of finances up.

director michael moore
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Director says that he believes the plaintiff will wind up being regretful for even bringing the issue of finances up.

Michael Moore, famous for his documentaries, is the Founder for Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF). Earlier this week, Moore addressed a handful of challenges facing the Film Festival at a public event in a town hall forum, and the Traverse Ticker cites him as having answered questions from festivalgoers on issues anywhere from the recent lawsuit filed against TCFF to the festival’s current financial situation, as well as the departure of former TCFF leaders.

He was not alone on stage, as Moore was joined by several other TCFF board and staff members at the Old Town Playhouse for what ended up being a two-hour audience question and answer event this past Thursday. The hot-button topic many were there to have answered revolved around the lawsuit against TCFF specifically. Former Vendor Boston Light & Sound has filed the suit for what is allegedly over a $159,055 of unpaid bills. TCFF and the plaintiff are scheduled to go before a jury trial early into 2019, according to Michael Moore. But he also said he believes the case will be settled before that trial date ever happens.

“It will never go to court. I can’t even imagine that. This is…personal on their end.”

Boston Light & Sound was dropped by TCFF for the 2018 film festival after what was a thirteen-year partnership and has also been dropped by several other film festivals outside of TCFF. Some would say this implies that the Boston Light & Sound company was not performing up to apparent industry standards. Moore said of this, “They didn’t sue until after we dropped them. They were upset.”

On the financial front, the documentarian stated that after board members probed into the internal finances of TCFF, they became concerned that “we may not owe [Boston Light & Sound] anything…they owe us,” remarked Moore, adding that responsible parties will wind up regretting even attempting to sue TCFF in the first place. He went on to give a bit more financial transparency after multiple audience members expressed their concerns about TCFF’s stability and long-term running. The festival is committed to becoming more open in all aspects of its business operations, according to Moore. He told the audience that “in a few months” TCFF will be issuing annual reports, which will be published on the website. The statements will include the 990s for nonprofit IRS statements as well as quarterly statements so that fans will basically be able to look at what the bank has and what is going on financially with TCFF. Moore also told fans that the festival has officially ordered a forensic audit for the 2018 finances.

The future of TCFF was addressed given a variety of questions on Thursday. They spoke on increased ticket prices from $12 to $15. To this, Moore promised ticket prices will remain the same for at least the foreseeable next two years. He also says there will be experiments with venue locations of panels.