Upstate Community Enhancement Foundation - Friends of the Arts
5th Annual Chico Silent Film Festival
Saturday, February 6 - Sunday, February 7, 2016
Featuring THE IRON HORSE and the original BEN HUR plus 12 other very special 16mm films - many restored by David Shepard who will run the projectors and introduce the films. Comedy, drama and more!
REEL Film. REAL music, provided by Frederick Hodges who will play the original 1924 score for THE IRON HORSE composed and arranged by Erno Rapee. Selected for the National Film Registry, 2011.
- $10 - per film block (Blocks include multiple films - see timeframes below)
- $2 - children 12 & under
- $25 - all-festival pass
- FREE for children 5 & under
Chico Women’s Club
592 E. Third St.
SATURDAY, February 6, 2016
12:00 FILM BLOCK - HAL ROACH COMEDIES “THE LOT OF FUN”
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL? - These four comedies from Hal Roach Studios, known as “The Lot of Fun,” showcase his top stars and series of the 1920s.
1. Derby Days (1923) - presents the troupe of children known as “Our Gang” in a real charmer: with 50 cents in borrowed capital, the kids set up a lemonade and hot dog stand outside a race track, and inspired by the horses, they organize their own race: one boy rides a cow, another a mule, the third a cart pulled by a goat, another a dog cart; little Farina is on a tricycle.
2. His Wooden Wedding (1925) - Charley Chase is about to get married and the best man, a rejected suitor, wants both the bride and the heirloom diamond Charley has given her as a wedding present. He writes Charley an anonymous note that the girl he is about to marry has a wooden leg. It works: we have a perfect little farce that will leave you breathless.
3. Anything Once (1927) - is one of the last films of Mabel Normand, a legendary comedienne (and alas, the template for the Celebrity Meltdown syndrome). Expert assistance was on hand, however, and Mabel is surrounded by top professionals on both sides of the camera for a surprisingly good comedy considering the circumstances of its production.
4. Bacon Grabbers (1929) - Finally, Laurel & Hardy in their penultimate silent: they’re repo men charged with getting a console radio from uncooperative Edgar Kennedy, who hasn’t made a payment since 1921! Stan and Ollie are at their peak, as was silent cinema in its final days.
2:00 FILM BLOCK - COMEDY DOUBLE FEATURE
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL? - Both films will screen in vintage original tinted prints AND as usual, all will be accompanied by LIVE music by pianist and virtuoso Frederick Hodges of San Francisco.
1. Are Parents People (1925) - The teenage daughter (Betty Bronson) of a wealthy couple is horrified to learn that her parents (Adolphe Menjou and Florence Vidor), who spend most of their time fighting with each other, are planning to divorce. She schemes to get them back together by pretending to fall for a dim-witted actor (André Beranger), hoping that her parents will unite to prevent the "romance". Director Malcolm St. Clair wastes not one shot and is here the equal of Lubitsch.
2. Hands Up! (1926) - stars the undeservedly forgotten Raymond Griffith, “The Top Hat Comedian,” as a Confederate spy charged with keeping Nevada gold from reaching the Union Army. One brilliant set piece follows another with the final gag one of the great laughs in silent cinema. Selected for the National Film Registry, 2005.
4:30 FILM BLOCK - DESTINY (DER MUDE TOD - 1921)
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL? - This beautiful Gothic fantasy was inspired by a childhood dream of its writer/director Fritz Lang, who first gained world recognition with this German film’s triumph.
7:30 FILM BLOCK - THE IRON HORSE (DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD - 1924)
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL? - Frederick Hodges will play the original 1924 score composed and arranged by Erno Rapee. Selected for the National Film Registry, 2011.
NOT TO BE MISSED! “Historically faithful in every particular,” John Ford’s celebrated film places a tale of double-dealing, adventure and romance against the building of the transcontinental railroad. The sheer scale of the film surpassed all other Westerns of the silent era and established Ford at the age of 29 as a leading director. Its themes of enterprise and achievement, its open-air production under extremely difficult conditions, and the placing of personal stories against the sweep of historical events remained characteristic of Ford’s best work. It’s a deeply moving film.
SUNDAY, February 7, 2016
12:00 FILM BLOCK D. W. GRIFFITH - A BIOGRAPH TREASURY
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL? - D. W. Griffith, a marginally successful actor, entered movies in 1907 and the following year became a director for the pioneering Biograph Company. During the next five years he made over 450 films. This two-hour selection from Griffith’s enormous output allows you to witness cinema at the moment of its discovery in work of extraordinary beauty. Films may include The Battle, A Girl and Her Trust, The Massacre, The Transformation of Mike, What Shall We Do With Our Old?, The Unchanging Sea.
2:30 FILM BLOCK CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION: CHAPLIN'S MUTUAL COMEDIES
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL? - When Charles Chaplin began his third year in films by signing with the Mutual Film Company to produce 12, two-reel comedies in return for an unprecedented salary of $670,000, he became the highest paid entertainer in history. He proved to be a bargain: many critics regard the resulting films as his best work, and they have entertained audiences for 100 years with no end in sight. We will show four of these outstanding comedies:
1. The Rink (December 4, 1916) - A waiter (Charles Chaplin) catches the eye of a socialite (Edna Purviance).
2. The Pawnshop (Oct. 2, 1916) - The Pawnshop was Charlie Chaplin's sixth film for Mutual Film Corporation. It stars Chaplin in the role of assistant to the pawnshop owner, played by Henry Bergman.
3. One A.M (August 7, 1916) - One A.M. was a unique Charlie Chaplin silent film. It was the first film he starred in alone, except for a brief scene of Albert Austin playing a cab driver.
4. Behind the Screen (November 13, 1916) - An overwhelmed set dresser (Charles Chaplin) at a film studio helps a young woman (Edna Purviance) find a job there, while his co-workers strike against the tyrannical boss.
4:30 SPARROWS WITH MARY PICKFORD
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL? - Mary Pickford is the cinema's true Peter Pan. She played spunky waifs and adolescent spitfires well into adulthood and remains best remembered as the crusading orphan raging against ruthless villains and natural disasters with pluck, courage, and hope. Here's your chance to see her in action.
Sparrows is quintessential Pickford, the tale of a ragtag collection of orphans made virtual slaves by a gnarled, swamp-dwelling Simon Legree (Gustav von Seyffertitz). As sister/mother hen of the grimy brood, she takes it upon herself to lead them out of this fetid hell through the alligator-infested swamp, with their vicious master in hot pursuit. It's Oliver Twist as pure melodrama, sentimental pulp that verges on mawkish but for Pickford's innocence and sincerity and William Beaudine's rousing direction. He turns the climactic chase into a thrilling escape, dodging alligators and leaping across muddy bogs (those are real alligators in the water, achieved with split screen photography) but transcends his entire career in one astounding scene.
7:30 Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL? - Religion. Politics. Chariot races. Pirates. Ben-Hur the novel has all the ingredients to make a great film. The 1959 version is the most famous but the 1925 film is the one that got it right. Big, beautiful and an epic’s epic, what’s not to love?
Ben-Hur is undeniably one of the most gorgeous creations ever to grace the movie screen. A fortune was splashed out to make the film. A lot of it was wasted but with four million dollars to spend, it’s not surprising that a lot of it ended up being spent making the thing exquisite. When silent film fans wax poetic about the sheer scale and beauty of silent productions, Ben-Hur is the perfect example of what they mean.
Tickets available now!
Call 530.228.2860 or buy here!
- $10 - per film block (Blocks include multiple films - see timeframes above)
- $2 - children 12 & under
- $25 - all-festival pass
- FREE for children 5 & under
Location: Chico Women’s Club - 592 E. 3rd St. in Chico
Our Chico Silent Film Festival Artists
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 Butte County community together by hosting events such as the Chico Silent Film Festival, Oroville Salmon Festival, Chico Palio, ARTOBERFEST and the Nor-Cal Jazz Festival to name a few of the arts council's primary activities. This partner to the California Arts Council also runs BCAC.tv - Chico's public access television station.