State Theatre

State Theatre hero image

About State Theatre


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 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. The festival brings films and filmmakers from around the world to northern Michigan for the annual film festival in late July to early August. The festival hopes to open minds and hearts by bringing great films from all over the world about topics of all kinds to people of all ages and income levels. The State Theatre expands the festival’s mission year-round and serves as the festival’s anchor and downtown Traverse City’s town hall.

The TCFF was founded by Academy Award-winning Director Michael Moore, who runs the festival and State Theater and serves as president of the board of directors. Other board members are photographer John Robert Williams and New York Times best-selling author Doug Stanton, both Traverse Citians, and filmmakers Larry Charles (director, “Borat”), Terry George (director, “Hotel Rwanda”), Sabina Guzzanti (director, “Viva Zapatero!”), and Christine Lahti (actor, “Running on Empty”). All of the board members are volunteers. None of them receives any compensation for their work on behalf of the TCFF and the State Theatre.


The State Theatre shows the best in new movies, plus enough special films that we end up showing an average of 365 different films each year on our single screen. Academy Award winner Michael Moore is our volunteer programmer, and he brings the best available movies to the State’s 50′ screen with 16,000 watt state-of-the-art Dolby Digital sound. Plus, we have the most comfortable seats available anywhere — and they were made in Michigan!

The State wants everyone to be able to attend the movies — our doors are open to everyone. We show films for kids on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. and great classic films for seniors at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays, both for just 25 cents. We have the least expensive concessions around — you can get popcorn and soda for $2.00, candy for $3.00, and $1.00 candy during 25 cent shows.

Our single screen runs at least four films daily, and volunteers help our visitors enjoy Doc Night Mondays, $3 Friday Night Flicks, live events via satellite like the Metropolitan Opera, Baby Days for caregivers, holiday specials, and regular screenings in partnership with area non-profits. School groups regularly come in the mornings to screen films, and we do lots of other free events open to the public — open house week during spring break, student films, big games for our state and local high school teams. And we love to bring premieres and special films.