Just like a fine and flavorful wine, the Traverse City Film Festival (or the Michael Moore Film Festival experience) continues to ripen and mature with each passing year.

The festival’s fifth year was not only a challenging and thought provoking social/political film experience, the coordinators also added a film school for emerging directors. Raucous parties for the many film goers celebrated the final festival evening.

Fun and funny panels with writers such as Jeff Garlin and Larry Charles (“CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM”) as well as a dialogue with unparalleled American filmmaker Paul Mazursky enthralled the many film goers.

A festival’s most vibrant feature was its generosity of spirit, especially in its highlighting of women voices in films, scripts, philosophy, and activism.

Annemarie Jacir”s “SALT OF THE SEA”, a Palestinian film which boldly shows the frustrations of the abused Palestinian people, is a brilliant, intense, and soul-searching drama which stresses the ongoing peoples’ personal struggle for justice.

Paul Mazursky, director of such films as “UNMARRIED WOMAN,” “PAUL, CAROL, TED, AND ALICE, AND “ALEX IN WONDERLAND,” conveyed a sensitivity, fairness, and creativity in his cinematic philosophy. He describes his films as “ human comedies ” and Mazursky’s caring comments and tone demonstrated his understanding of human nature, especially from a feminine perspective.

The festival‘s final film featured the Michigan premiere of “ JULIE AND JULIA”, a culinary adventure written by Nora Ephron (“WHEN HARRY MET SALLY”). Writer Ephron showcased the legendary chef Julia Child contrasted with Julie, the blogging, millennial cook who devotes her time to re-creating all 500+ Julia Child recipes in 365 days.

Nora Ephron’s screen play of “JULIE AND JULIA” celebrates the sensuality, savor-faire, and strengths of chef Julia Child and the support of her loving husband. Julie, the modern cook and blogger is also a complex character who displays the persistence of a woman who may not be as brilliant as Julia Child but nevertheless succeeds in accomplishing such feats as” boning a duck.” Julie’s husband also showed a tactile caring for the dreams of his often frustrated wife/writer/cook.

The Traverse City Film Festival reflects the populist dreams, ideals, and commitment of America’s documentary dramatist Michael Moore. Not only is he bringing wonderful films, filmmakers, and writers to the Midwest, he is highlighting the best and the brightest in America . The festival also supports the Michigan economy at a time when the state’s people are creating a new identity.