Friday, April 23, 2010

Our special guests

Today, we thought we might take a peak at a few of the special guests and authors who are set to attend this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Not only is our annual event a swell opportunity to see some great films, it is also a great opportunity to meet some of the many key individuals involved in helping keep silent film before the public eye.

The hugely successful free program, Amazing Tales from the Archives, has been so popular over the past four years that the festival has decided to have two presentations this year - ­with special guests and speakers for each  to be announced next month. . . . 

(The complete program for the July event will be announced on May 19th.)

However, we can tell you at this time that among the special guests set to attend the Festival are the distinguished archivists Paula Felix Didier and Fernando Peña from Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are ­ the team responsible for bringing the lost Metropolis footage to light. [Image courtesy of the Deutsche Kinemathek.]

And, as mentioned earlier this week, film preservationists David Shepard and Serge Bromberg will be on hand to curate a selection of short films by the French fantasist George Méliès.

Festival regular and film historian Leonard Maltin will be on hand to introduce films, as will television writer and director Frank Buxton. Maltin is also the author of a new book, Leonard Maltin's 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen (HarperStudio).

Along with Ira Resnick, whose book Starstruck: Vintage Movie Posters from Classic Hollywood (Abbeville) we wrote about earlier this week, some of the other film historians and film biographers whose books we've also highlighted on this blog will be in attendance. Among them are Anthony Slide, Sarah Baker, Lucy Autrey Wilson and David Keihn. Each will be signing books sometime during the Festival.

Anthony Slide is the author of recently profiled Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers (University Press of Mississippi), as well as other notable books. He has attended past Festivals.

Sarah Baker is the author of  Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell (BearManor), which tells the story of one-time Castro theater usherette Janet Gaynor and her on and off screen relationship with frequent co-star Charles Farrell.

Lucy Autrey Wilson is the co-editor of George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success (IT Books / HarperCollins). David Keihn is a local film historian and contributor to the just mentioned book, as well as the author of Broncho Billy and the Essanay Film Company (Farwell Books).

Also coming to the Festival are actor and author Robert Dix. He is the author of Out of Hollywood (Ernest Publishing), which tells his own story and that of his father, silent film great Richard Dix. L.A. screenwriter and playwright Samuel Bernstein will also be in attendence, signing copies of his new novel about Louise Brooks, Lulu - A Novel (Walford Press). As will Gregory Paul Williams, author of the lavish, must-have pictorial, The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History (BL Press). Williams is a Hollywood designer whose credits include Men in Black and Pee-wee's Playhouse.

Elaine Mae Woo, the director and producer of the documentary Anna May Wong ~ Frosted Yellow Willows: Her Life, Times, and Legend, will also be on hand. Her acclaimed documentary has just been made available as a limited edition DVD. 

A half dozen other author appearances and booksignings are also in the works - including a few with some really big names in the world of silent movies. Put them all together, and you won't want to miss this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival is set to take place July 15th - 18th at the Castro Theater. For more info, be sure and visit the SFSFF website at


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