Make some noise for Bo’ness celebration of the silent screen

050213 Launch of silent film festival at the hippodrome, boness. Andy Cannon and Jane Gardner.
050213 Launch of silent film festival at the hippodrome, boness. Andy Cannon and Jane Gardner.

PROVING it definitely has the ‘Hipp’ factor, Scotland’s only silent film festival launched its biggest-yet programme in Bo’ness on Tuesday.

Gala events and new commissions will light up the Hippodrome from March 13-17, with almost 40 musicians creating the live soundtrack for this third annual festival.

In a mere snapshot of what’s in store:

*The ‘doyen’ of silent film pianists, Neil Brand, accompanies glamorous Stage Struck, starring Gloria Swanson in Friday’s red carpet movie, preceded by a drinks reception.

*Leading electronic ensemble Minima perform their distinctive, haunting score for Jujiro, one of the first Japanese films shown in the west.

*The Dodge Brothers, a lively rockabilly and country blues band featuring film critic Mark Kermode, make their Scottish debut to Russian drama The Ghost That Never Returns.

Expanded to five days by popular demand, key funders for the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Film are Falkirk Community Trust, Falkirk Council, Creative Scotland and VisitFalkirk.

Thanks to new funding partnerships, Bo’ness world premieres include storyteller Andy Cannon interpreting rare Scottish Screen Archive footage with traditional folk musicians.

Virtuoso Gunter Buchwald – known to play piano and violin at the same time – accompanies comedy The Oyster Princess, directed by Ernst ‘The Shop Around The Corner’ Lubitsch. And unsolved real-life murder tale The Goose Woman will bring the curtain down on the festival, complete with a full score by Jane Gardner.

In other festival picks, primary school kids will be working with the Glasgow Improvisors Orchestra and there’s a Chaplin and Keaton jeely jar children’s double bill (swap a clean jam jar for two-for-one tickets).

Festival director Alison Strauss said: “I can honestly say that every ticket is a hot ticket and the prospect of all these musicians, composers and storytellers converging on Bo’ness to breathe new life into the films is absolutely brilliant.”

Pointing to the loyal audience attracted by the festival in the short space of two years, FCT chairman Ian Scott said: “This is thanks to such an exceptional venue at the heart of the local community and the calibre of performers and films, exemplifying the high quality programming the Hippodrome offers all year round.”

The packed programme also boasts leading beatboxer Jason Singh flexing his vocal chords in a Caledonian Produce-sponsored Fusion youth club session.

Learn the Charleston and other early jazz steps at a Bo’net-backed ‘roaring twenties’ public dance workshop at the town hall, and catch the Hippodrome 100 exhibition on tour at Kinneil House.

*Get full programme details at or pick up a brochure at the Hippodrome or Bo’ness Library.

Tickets are now on sale: call 01324 506850, visit the Hippodrome box office or go online at

An early bird discount offers 10 per cent off bookings made before February 25 (excludes schools workshop and jeely jar screening).