Upstate Community Enhancement Foundation - Friends of the Arts
Offcial Hotel of the Chico Silent Film Festival
Chico Silent Film Festival Champagne Brunch 10am Saturday, March 9 - prior to regular schedule
Fund-raiser in honor of the Chico Women's Club & its $40,000 restoration of its Steinway Grand Piano. Our goal is to raise $4,000 or 10% of the cost of the restoration. Please help us while enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! LIVE cinema up close and personal.
40 people (signifying the $40,000 restoration project of the grand piano)
$100 Tickets (signifying 100 years of operation for the Chico Women's Club)
YOUR TICKET INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Champagne Brunch - $17.50 value
- All-Festival Pass SPECIAL PASS - $49 value (includes 13 films)
- T-shirt - $10
- Private Screening of Charlie Chaplin's color-tinted "The Immigrant" accompanied by world-class jazz pianist Frederick Hodges
- Private Film Review by restorationist David Shepard of Black Hawk studios
Regular Festival EVENT
Friday, March 8 & Saturday, March 9
WELCOME BY DAVID SHEPARD
Actress Ruth Gordon appeared in her first feature film in 1915, and 53 years later, at the age of 72, won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her wonderfully sinister performance in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. “I can’t tell you how encouragin’ a thing like this is,” she said, accepting her Oscar.
It’s no less “encouragin’’ to welcome you to Chico’s second silent film festival. Silent film festivals such as ours have now spread to multiple venues throughout North America, Europe and Australia and are an important part of a world-wide resurgence of interest in this beautiful art of arranged images.
Of course silent films were never silent; they were talkless although visually resplendent. Accompanied by good music, as here, they can leave you speechless. The fantastic Frederick Hodges at the Women’s Club newly-restored Steinway brings love of silent cinema and deep understanding of period music and practice to his film scores. As one critic wrote, “passages that sound almost impossible to play seem to roll effortlessly off his fingers.”
Consider some films in this year’s program. Yasujiro Ozu’s Passing Fancy was once thought so marginal that it was preserved only in 16mm. Now it has not only delighted festival audiences worldwide but also has appeared on DVD. Lon Chaney in The Unknown was long believed lost; it turned up accidentally among hundreds of unidentified reels at the Cinematheque Francaise, all of them marked “inconnu” (unknown)! Ernst Lubitsch’s beautiful Old Heidelberg was never lost, although it is not available on DVD. Laurel & Hardy’s admirable sound shorts are on DVD but their silent films are hard to see: we are showing one of the best.
Why do audiences for silent cinema not only increase, but also skew younger? The best, such as have been selected for this Festival, transcend time as human documents with undiminished impact. They demand that their audience respond to inference, visual metaphor, and musical suggestion. They captivate culturally diverse, multi-lingual, populations in ways that are emotionally compelling, yet ideologically representative of their origin. For these reasons, D. W. Griffith’s great actress Lillian Gish always spoke of silent cinema as a great means to promote international understanding. I envy the pleasure ahead for each of you who will discover these wonderful films for the first time.
Film Preservation Associates, California
This year’s event details:
Friday, March 8
Saturday, March 9
- $10 pre-sale, per film
- $12 Leave 'em Laughing comedy block
- $2 for children 12 and under
- $12 at the door, per film
- $49 for an all-festival pass
Chico Women’s Club
592 E. Third St.
Tickets available at:
Avenue 9 Gallery
180 E. Ninth Ave., #3
Upgraded Living Magazine
301 Broadway St.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER WILL-CALL TICKETS THROUGH A SAFE PayPal TRANSACTION! [coming soon]
Come be a part of Chico’s second Silent Film Festival! This fundraising event will be held on Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9.
The Chico Silent Film Festival will feature world-class pianist Frederick Hodges and David Shepard of Blackhawk Studios.
Proceeds from the festival will help finance the complete restoration of Steinway Concert Grand Piano owned by Chico Women's Club. Twelve women, including Annie Bidwell, were the original members of the club, Mrs. Margaret March was its first president. The piano, serial # 147550, which normally sits on the stage is being restored by Dale Erwin, a second generation piano restorer. It will be delivered on noon, March 8th, just in time for the Silent Film Festival, which will be its unofficial inauguration. Dale has agreed to relate details about the restoration process at the Festival.
Official records from the Steinway Company state that the CWC piano corresponds to a New York Grand Model B Ebonized model completed on August 18, 1911, and shipped to dealer Sherman Clay & Company of San Francisco, California, on November 4, 1911.
The Chico Women's Club began in 1913 as the Chico Art Club. The founding mothers included Annie Bidwell and Margaret March, the first president. Meetings were held in each other's homes until they built CWC present clubhouse in 1933. A fire in 1950 destroyed all of the Club's early records. The 1951 yearbook lists 242 members by their husband's first and last names! It also indicates that they were a part of the National Federation of Women which was known for its progressive agenda.
By the 1960's they called themselves the Chico Women's Club and used their own first names. In the 1970's they helped create Caper Acres and restore Bidwell Mansion. They also began hosting the mansion's Holiday Open House and still do today.
In the 1980's membership began to decline as women became employed, single mothers, and literally on the move. By the millennium only a small group of older women remained. In 2004 a group of younger women joined the club and membership has risen again to over 100. These ninety plus years have seen an expansion of the Club's goals from self-enrichment, to community service and a focus on national and global concerns.
The Club Today
CWC programs run from September to June and begin with the tradition of a September Tea at which the Club welcomes new members and celebrates Club's birthday.
They sponsor periodic lectures of interest to thier membership which includes the annual filmed speakers from the current year’s Bioneers conferences. CWC has joined with five other local women's groups to form a Micro-finance Collaborative which provides loans to women in developing areas of the world.
The Club's annual fundraisers include Works in the Works, Poetry and Prose, Champagne and Chocolate,and Quilt raffle. All proceeds fund scholarships and grants to community or global agencies.
Every year the Chico Women's Club awards two scholarships to graduating senior girls. Any senior wishing to apply for the scholarship is encouraged to contact the Chico Scholarship Association through their high school counseling offices
CWC encourages all Chico area women who share their values, vision and mission to become members of the Club. The Club maintains contact with each other through their programs, social gatherings, and a weekly e-mail newsletter.
Board members are elected each spring. The Board meets the first Tuesday of each month and all members are welcome to attend. CWC is a non-profit corporation.
A career saving early American cinema masterpieces
Well-known internationally in film circles, Shepard has spent the major part of his career restoring early cinema for DVD and video editions. Recent projects include Abel Gance's "La Roue" (1922), "Chaplin at Keystone" (1914) and C. B. DeMille's 1927 production of "Chicago." The list of other cinema restoration projects completed by Shepard throughout his career is considerable and significant.
Shepard taught cinema for 34 years at the University of Southern California, where he was also director of the Louis B. Mayer Film & Television Study Center; UCLA, where he was honored in 1983 as "the outstanding teacher in performing and integrated arts;" Claremont Men's College; the University of Iowa; and Pennsylvania State University. He has also co-authored or edited more than a dozen books.
Shepard currently lives in Northern rural California and works in a hand-made log house of his own design with eight dogs. He is also active in community affairs and continues to work nationally with various archives and laboratories to preserve rare films.
In the words of Mike Mashon, Head, Moving Image Section, Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress, "David is a giant in the field of film preservation, one of those rare talents who exemplifies the scholar's rigorous research, the archivist's attention to detail and the fan's unabashed love and enthusiasm for movies."
In 2011, David Shepard received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters - for his tireless efforts to preserve and restore many of the treasures of our American film heritage. Shepard received the degree from the College of Arts and Media at the University of Colorado.
The virtuoso who loved silence
Hailed by the press as one of the best ragtime pianists in the world, Frederick Hodges is sought after by today's foremost orchestras, festivals, conductors, and collaborative musicians.
His absolute artistry, virtuosity and charisma have brought him to the world's most renowned stages numerous times, leaving audiences around the globe repeatedly captivated. Mr. Hodges has made regular appearances at major ragtime and jazz festivals throughout the US as well as world tours with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra under the baton of conductor Don Neely.
Renowned as a pianist and singer, Frederick Hodges is recognized by audiences around the world for his mastery of diverse repertoire from Liszt to Gershwin. He has established a reputation as a truly versatile artist equally sought after as soloist, singer, guest soloist with the California Pops Orchestra, and dance band pianist. He has appeared on national television, radio, and in several Hollywood films. He is also a sought-after silent film accompanist for both live performances and on DVD. He performs regularly at the Niles Essanay Silent FilmMuseum.
'One of my most cherished musical pleasures is accompanying silent films. My drive for complete authenticity when creating silent films scores is motivated by my deep love, appreciation, and commitment to the artistic and musical culture of the silent film era.
There are many ways to provide musical accompaniment to silent films, but I have adopted the following philosophy: The experience of watching a silent film today is enhanced when the accompaniment reproduces to the greatest extent possible the style of accompaniment that the film in question would have received in its day by the best cinema musicians.
Accordingly, a film that was released in December 1926, for instance, deserves to have a musical accompaniment that is exactly like the accompaniment that a fine cinema pianist or organist would have given it in December 1926. This means that all the music used in compiling the score will have been published prior to December 1926. I find this approach deeply satisfying because it honors the silent film and shows the deepest respect for the era in which the film was produced. This approach enables modern audiences to imagine that they have been transported back in time. Thus, not only can they enjoy the film on its own merits, but they can experience the added richness of a live musical recreation.
I compile scores for silent films exactly the same way that cinema pianists and organists compiled scores back in the days of silent films. There is really no mystery to it. Movie studios frequently hired composers and arrangers to produce thematic cue sheets, which were issued with each film and distributed to cinema musicians. These thematic cue sheets told the pianist what to play and when to play it. The "cue" in "cue sheet" was a point in the film that signaled the musician that it was time to change the music in order to support effectively the shifting action on the screen. I am very fortunate to have a large collection of original cue sheets for silent films. In those instances where I do not have an original thematic cue sheet for a film that I have been hired to accompany, I create my own cue sheet modeled on the same pattern used for published sheets, using a mixture of classical music, semi-classical, and popular songs.'
Friends of the Arts brings the Chico community together by hosting events such as the Silent Film Festival and assisting in community fundraising efforts.