Q&A: Michael Moore Loves Movies. And Showing Them in Traverse City.

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Ia��m not surprised because I think people want to go to the movies and they want to go out and ita��s one of the few things now they can afford. They cana��t afford going to a concert, they cana��t afford going to major league sports. I kept the prices affordable, at $8, $8.50, $6 or $6.50 if youa��re a member, thata��s all it costs to go to a movie on a Friday night at one of my two theaters.

Is there something about the region that you think helped the festival work as well as it did?

We live on a peninsula, not just the peninsula that Traverse City is on, but also the peninsula that the state of Michigan is a�� nobody ever goes through Michigan. In a weird way wea��re kind of separated from America.

It has probably been hurt but I think mostly helped by the fact that we are left to kind of our own resources. On the one hand ita��s good to have contact with the outside world [laughs]. On the other hand by being separated, you dona��t have a lot of people saying to you that youa��re crazy for thinking you can create a carriage that doesna��t have a horse in front of it. A Berry Gordy whoa��s a used-car salesman can believe he can be a record company founder and executive. If we were part of the rest of the U.S., I think somebody would say, you cana��t really do that in Detroit a�� youa��ve got to be in New York or Los Angeles.

What sort of impact do you think the festival and theaters have had on Traverse City? purchase fincar

In the 14 years of the film festival and in the 11 years of the State Theater being open the town has changed. Other people have started other festivals a�� therea��s a writersa�� festival [the National Writers Series, co-founded by the nonfiction author Doug Stanton], therea��s lots of things that people on their own have started that have had the domino effect of what we began. At the beginning I just started telling people downstate that Traverse City was the Ann Arbor of the north. It wasna��t really that yet a�� that was more like a fantasy in my mind.

Therea��s two or three things I want to have in Traverse City that we dona��t have yet, and helping it be a college town is one thing but I want rail service from downstate and Chicago to go there. That Ia��m working on.

I love for people to come. They see in Traverse City the possibility of what this country could be a�� especially in a small town. A small town doesna��t have to be cut off, a small town can have what a New York or Boston or L.A. can have.