Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Film Preservation Fridays

Hello everybody. My name is Sean Kilcoyne and I am the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s 2011 Silent Film Preservation Fellow.  As many readers are undoubtedly aware, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival has emerged as one of film preservation’s most distinguished supporters.  Because archival work is ultimately justified by providing the public with access to our collective cultural heritage - cinematic and otherwise - archivists are especially fortunate to enjoy such a relationship.  Since 2006, the Amazing Tales from the Archives program has provided film preservationists with an invaluable opportunity to share their work and to enhance public appreciation for film archives.  Classic modes of providing access to archival films - screenings at festivals, making prints available to other venues through loan, creating home video versions of films - are all essential activities, but ultimately, nothing is more important than cultivating an informed and appreciative audience to sustain preservation activities now and in decades to come.

By partnering with The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in offering the Silent Film Preservation Fellowship, the SFSFF has also provided the necessary opportunity and funding to enable recent graduates of The Selznick School to preserve several significant silent films. In 2008, the first year of the Silent Film Preservation Fellowship, Anne Smatla preserved Screen Snapshots (7th series). She was followed by Kyle Westphal in 2009, with McCall's Fashion News.  Now, over the past year, Ken Fox has recreated the intertitles for the Douglas Fairbanks comedy Mr. Fix-It.  Attendees of this year’s Festival will have the opportunity to see the world premier of the recently restored Mr. Fix-It on Saturday, July 16, at 6:30 pm.  

As the 2011 Silent Film Preservation Fellow, one of my projects involves posting a regular blog every Friday between now and July 14, 2011, when the 16th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival officially begins. My entries will discuss some of the specific types of work that film archives do under the larger heading of preservation.  I will also be focusing on the technical preservation backgrounds of several films in this year’s festival.  If you are interested in learning more about these topics, please keep the SFSFF’s blog on your radar, and look for my posts every Friday between now and the 16th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival.  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More on the 2011 San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Here it is - the program announcement for the 16th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival! The eighteen programs coming to the Castro this July 14 - 17 feature beautiful new restorations, original commissioned scores, dispatches from the preservation front, masterpieces from the canon, and rarely screened gems. There's not one to be missed. Some highlights of this year's festival include:

What better way to begin than with the presentation of an amazing discovery: Upstream. For Opening Night, we celebrate the repatriation of this film to the U.S. after decades in New Zealand, and - most incredibly - the return of an early film from one of the great American directors, John Ford. This droll backstage comedy will play with another film from the New Zealand collection, Why Husbands Flirt, both accompanied by the Sosin Ensemble.

No matter how many times you may have seen Sunrise, this masterpiece is always a revelation. This July, we bring you F.W. Murnau's exquisite film in association with world-renowned silent film preservationist Paolo Cherchi Usai. Usai has worked with electric guitarist Giovanni Spinelli to create the exciting original score that Spinelli will perform in accompaniment.

Last year's "Variations on a Theme" panel set off hours of lively discussion and debate about approaches to silent film accompaniment. This summer's panel, moderated by Bay Area musician Jill Tracy and featuring all of the festival musicians, will continue and expand the conversation.

The Matti Bye Ensemble returns! In a collaboration between the Silent Film Festival and the Headlands Center for the Arts, the ensemble has been composing three original scores since their residency at the Headlands this spring. This summer, they will unveil their work in their accompaniment of The Blizzard, The Great White Silence, and closing night film He Who Gets Slapped.

And more, of course. The precision and quiet profundity of Yasujiro Ozu's work is in full form for I Was Born, But..., accompanied by Stephen Horne. Marlene Dietrich is entirely the Dietrich we know and love in The Woman Men Yearn For, with accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. An agitprop film condemned for its artistry, Mikhail Kalatozov's The Nail in the Boot, accompanied by Stephen Horne, is a rarely seen film that truly deserves the big screen. And for the program Wild and Weird, Alloy Orchestra accompanies an eclectic mix of fantastical shorts.

Tickets and Passes are now on sale. Look for more news and updates - about special programs, guests, and awards - in the weeks to come.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Line-up for 16th annual Silent Film Festival announced

The line-up of films for this summer's San Francisco Silent Film Festival has been announced! The event will take place July 14-17 at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. 

The 16th Annual SF Silent Film Festival features eighteen wonderful programs of new discoveries and restorations, with extraordinary live musical accompaniment by top musicians in the field, including Alloy Orchestra, Stephen Horne, Dennis James, the Matti Bye Ensemble, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and Donald Sosin. The Festival begins with John Ford's recently found Upstream and concludes with Victor Seastron's He Who Gets Slapped.

Some of the many special guests already set to attend include Academy Award winner Kevin Brownlow, Paolo Cherchi Usai, Leonard Maltin, David Shepard and others. The schedule of films can be found here; there are also links to program notes, musician bios, images and more. Here is the schedule in short.

July 14
7:00 pmUpstream
9:15 pmSunrise
July 15
11:00 amAmazing Tales from
the Archives I
2:00 pmHuckleberry Finn
4:15 pmI Was Born, But…
7:00 pmThe Great White Silence
9:30 pmIl Fuoco
July 16
10:00 amDisney’s Laugh-O-Grams
12:00 noonVariations on a Theme
2:00 pmThe Blizzard
4:00 pmThe Goose Woman
6:30 pmMr. Fix-It
8:30 pmThe Woman Men Yearn For
July 17
10:00 amAmazing Tales from
the Archives II
12 noonShoes
2:00 pmWild and Weird
4:30 pmThe Nail in the Boot
7:30 pmHe Who Gets Slapped

And, as in past years, there will also be a book table (featuring all the new releases and DVDs), author booksingings, special surprises, special guests, and more.Don't miss this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Festival Passes Now on Sale

Special Early Bird Discounts Until May 20
He Who Gets Slapped_2
Lon Chaney joins the circus in He Who Gets Slapped (1924)  

Festival Passes at Specially Discounted General and Member Prices 
Available Online For a Limited Time

General: $190 ($200 starting May 20)
Member: $165 ($175 starting May 20)

Buy yours on the Silent Film Festival website today!

Your Festival Pass admits you to all of this year's eighteen programs, 
including the Opening and Closing Night Films. 
At more than 15% savings, plus the extra discount
it's by far the best and least expensive way to see every film at the festival!

Look for the full festival lineup on May 20, when individual tickets go on sale.

For more information and to purchase, visit the Festival Page on our website.
To become a member, please visit our Membership and Donation Page.