LA Producer Returns to Traverse City for Sold Out Showing of The Peanut Butter Falcon

“It’s a pretty big feat from where I was as a teenager skate rat here in Traverse City.”

This man is back where he grew up, right in Traverse City.

But now he’s sharing his film, The Peanut Butter Falcon with Northern Michigan.

Lije Sarki moved to Traverse City in middle school and stayed through his high school graduation.

Now he lives in LA, producing movies.

This year he has his first one in the Traverse City Film Festival.

“If you told my 15 or 16 year old self that this was an option, I would have signed up right there,” Sarki said.

For producer Lije Sarki, becoming a film maker was not always the plan.

“As a kid I didn’t know that this is really an option for like making movies. It was more  doctor, lawyer, engineer was the road to success,” he explained.

He moved to California and started pursing acting, but that’s when he fell in love with producing.

“Over the last 10 to 12 years I’ve been making independent films and documentaries and music videos.”

And now, his movie, “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” sold out the State Theatre.

It also won an audience award at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

“We’ve had a ton of screenings like word of mouth stuff and festival stuff, but we’ve never had a screening this big,” he said.

Sarki says the movie features two well-known celebrities, Shia Labeouf and Dakota Johnson, but the star of the show is Zach Gottsagen.

Sarki wants people to know Gottsagen’s disability is not the plot of his movie.

“There’s not really a difference between Zach and anybody else. He’s perfectly capable of playing the lead in the film. It’s not a movie about a guy with Down Syndrome, it’s a movie that happens to star a guy with down syndrome,” Sarki said.

Sarki says they’ve been working on the movie for five years, and now that it’s done..

“This feels great. People are responding really well to it. We are very excited about it,” he said.

Don’t worry if you couldn’t get a ticket to the showing Sunday, it will be in theaters nationwide on August 23 of this year.