About Us The TC Film Festival and Its Theaters

The State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay present the very best new movies, with world-class picture, screen, and sound — right downtown. Plus, we bring so many classic and special films to our big screens with 16,000 watt Dolby Digital sound that we end up showing over 400 different films annually! Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore is our volunteer programmer, selecting the best of cinema's present and past for you to watch in the most comfortable seats you can find anywhere — and they were made right here in Michigan!

The State Theatre is owned and operated by the Traverse City Film Festival, which completely renovated the shuttered historic downtown movie house, and reopened it in November 2007. The festival also renovated a shuttered, City-owned historic building that sits in idyllic Clinch Park on Grand Traverse Bay, and in 2013 turned it into a sister screen for the State, the classic movie house we call the Bijou by the Bay.

Traverse City Film Festival

The festival is a charitable, educational, nonprofit organization committed to showing "Just Great Movies" and helping to save one of America’s few indigenous art forms — the cinema. We strive to make the great art of cinema accessible for everyone, and operate the State and Bijou as town centers for our great community. In addition to running the State and Bijou year round, we hold an annual film festival in late July, bringing 250 films and over 160 filmmakers from around the world to 12 venues in Northern Michigan for a week of movie magic. The theaters and the festival are run by the best volunteers this side of the Pacific Ocean.

Board of Directors

The Traverse City Film Festival was founded by Michael Moore, winner of an Oscar ("Bowling for Columbine"), an Emmy ("TV Nation"), a Palme d’Or at Cannes ("Fahrenheit 9/11"), and the British Book of the Year award ("Stupid White Men"). He runs and programs the festival and theaters, and serves as president of our volunteer board of directors.

Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Tia Lessin ("Trouble the Water") is the board vice president, serving along with writer, director, and producer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld," "Borat"); Emmy Award-winning Michigan born actor, musician, writer, and director Jeff Daniels ("The Newsroom"); Oscar-winning writer and director Terry George ("Hotel Rwanda"); Michigan-born Oscar and Emmy award- and two-time Golden Globe award-winning actress Christine Lahti ("Yonkers Joe"); Irish-born film critic and director Mark Cousins ("The Story of Film: An Odyssey"); Grammy Award-winning musician Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine); Traverse City native and Hollywood veteran Penny Milliken; Michigan educator and documentary filmmaker Rod Birleson; and Traverse City native and photographer John Robert Williams.