MSU to Have Its Biggest Presence Ever at TC Film Fest

traverse city film festival banner hanging over street

As the main educational sponsor for the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), Michigan State University is contributing to the international film fest in more ways than one.

This year’s TCFF will feature MSU student-produced films, an MSU interactive multimedia gallery, MSU film school presentation, and even a Spartan Headquarters!

New to the festival, the Spartan Headquarters, located at 333 E. State Street in Traverse City, will offer free Spartan gear, MSU and TCFF information, and MSU students can get four free tickets to the festival when they present their student ID. The public is invited to stop by the Spartan Headquarters Tuesday-Friday, July 26-29, from 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, July 30, from 9 a.m. to noon.

MSU Student Films

Five MSU student-produced films will be screened at this year’s TCFF. These films feature the work of MSU’s College of Arts & Letters,College of Communication Arts & Sciences, and College of Music and include:

Sorta Late

image of a man in a suit talking to an audience with the words "Sorta Late" behind him

This full-length feature film, performed first as an original student play that was adapted for the screen, follows a late-night talk show in Detroit that hires new interns who get their first taste of the chaotic and unpredictable world of the entertainment industry. The Theatre 2 Film project is a collaboration between the College of Arts & Letters, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, and College of Music. More than 100 students from all three colleges were involved in every aspect of the production, serving as writers, actors, directors, editors, composers, producers and art directors.

The 85-minute film will be shown Wednesday, July 27, at noon at the Old Town Playhouse, 148 E. Eighth Street.

Shorts by MSU Students

A collection of four short films by students and faculty in the College of Arts & Letters and College of Communication Arts & Sciences will be shown together on Friday, July 29, at 3 p.m. at The Buzz, 301 Seventh Street. The films include:

a man with facial hair wearing a black shirt


An overworked, mentally exhausted paramedic happens upon a mysterious woman whose guidance spirals his troubled mind towards a sense of peace after he is unable to save the life of a young boy.

a women holding two water bottles filled with disgusting water

From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City

The story of the Flint water crisis as told by those who have experienced the tragedy firsthand and from activists working through grassroots organizations to make a difference.

the back of a person wearing a shirt with "LendMIHand" on it and water bottles in the background


This film follows MSU Media Sandbox students as they mentor homeless youth in Lansing while working for the charity, Pictures of Hope.

three panels that say "run" "jump" and "paddle" with images of those respectively

Run, Jump, Paddle

The environmental aspects of what athletes experience during extreme sports is the focus of this film featuring an ultra-runner, water athlete, and first-time skydivers. 

The Woz

Go beyond traditional screens to the place where film and technology intersect and become part of the story at “The Woz,” located in the Hotel Indigo, 263 W. Grandview Parkway.

The Game Design and Development program in MSU’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences is once again partnering with TCFF to offer this hands-on, interactive media and gaming showcase where festivalgoers may explore the future of storytelling and experience virtual worlds beyond their imagination in ways never before possible.

man holding arm up to whale

This multimedia gallery will feature the latest in gaming and virtual reality technology, including the recently released HTC Vive, which combines a virtual reality headset with motion tracked handheld controllers that allow users to move around and interact within immersive virtual environments. Visitors to The Woz will be among the first to try this new technology.

The diverse collection of games created by the next generation of game developers in MSU’s Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab also will be featured. Visitors to The Woz can play the games and meet the students who created them. 

Other games that will be available include the physics-based vehicle/soccer video game “Rocket League,” multiplayer virtual reality game “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes,” the interactive movie video game “Her Story,” and the independent, autobiographical game “That Dragon, Cancer.”

“Our game design program is one of the best in the nation,” said Prabu David, Dean of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences. “We are excited to showcase at The Woz some of their work along with some new virtual reality gear and applications. I am also excited about our film students, who will be debuting their work on the big screen.”

The Woz will be open to the public for free Wednesday-Saturday, July 27-30, from noon to 9 p.m. and on Sunday, July 31, from noon to 5 p.m. A free welcome party is scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, from 6 to 9 p.m.

MSU Film School

Associate Professor of Journalism and documentary filmmaker Geri Alumit Zeldes, along with Bill Withem, Composer and Instructor of Music at Mott Community College, will dissect the collaborative process between composers and documentary filmmakers in “Striking the Right Chords,” a TCFF Film School presentation scheduled for Friday, July 29, at 3 p.m. in Scholars Hall on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

Having collaborated on nearly a half-dozen documentary films, Zeldes and Withem will share their best practices for combining emotion and science to underscore silence, ideas, and action in film projects and the importance of clear communication for striking the right chords and achieving the right feel.

Educational Sponsor

As an educational sponsor for TCFF, MSU supports and inspires new talent from across Michigan. SEEDS, a nonprofit organization funded in part by Michigan State University, will support future generations behind the scenes at the festival, giving low-income youth the opportunity to work with some of the best production people in the world and helping to set up screens and audio for the festival the week before.

More Information

For more information on Michigan State University at the Traverse City Film Festival, see the MSU at TCFF website. On social, follow the hashtags #MSUTCFF and #TCFF for the latest updates.