Online Bo'ness Hippodrome Silent Film Festival is a big screen success

The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival, organised by Falkirk Community Trust, is celebrating the success of its 10th festival and its first online.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 1:00 pm
Silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.

Since its launch in 2011 the festival, which is usually housed in the Hippodrome in Bo’ness, has showcased over 220 films, and welcomed over 80 musicians to participate in its five day programme celebrating silent film with live music.

This year from March 17-21, HippFest went online for the first time. Working in partnership with film industry partner INDY on Demand, the festival presented nine silent film titles, including the world premiere of the Mary Pickford Foundation’s new restoration of Sparrows (1926) accompanied by jazz, hip-hop artists Taylor and Cameron Graves aka The Graves Brothers; and the premiere of a new score by Frame Ensemble to accompany The Woman Men Yearn For (1929) starring Marlene Dietrich.

Audience members watched from across the UK, Europe, and North America. Usually restricted to the modest capacity of the Hippodrome, the festival programme attracted over five and a half thousand views, with more than double the seating capacity tuning in for the opening night film Body and Soul (1925).

David White, chairman at Falkirk Community Trust said: “We are delighted that so many people took the opportunity to enjoy HippFest’s silent film programme online.

"After last year’s cancellation, we were very keen for the festival to go ahead and we are very grateful to all the festival’s funders, local businesses, and all the film archivists, artists and musicians for working with the teams at Falkirk Community Trust who pulled out all the stops to make this happen.”

Alison Strauss, festival director said: “HippFest 2021 has been an absolute triumph, exceeding our targets and garnering a deluge of appreciation and praise from our audiences and partners.

"The team did a phenomenal job in a very short time of learning an entirely new way to present film virtually and in such a way as to capture the most treasured elements of our ‘in real life’ festival.

"I could never have imagined how many positives we would find in going online and I am confident that we have won multitudes of new fans who will join us in the Hippodrome next year.”