Intrepid investigative journalist Richard Layne returns to the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival to report on the films and the glamour of Silent Cinema in Bo’Ness, a model of what place and event can do together: a site of scholarship, restoration, fandom and even the commission of aspects of production, bringing together a cultural intersection of the local and the international. An unmissable event that I unfortunately had to miss but, luckily for us, Richard was there and leaves no stone unturned.
Hippfest is how fans and admirers endearingly refer to the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival that takes place annually at Scotland’s oldest cinema – The Hippodrome, built in 1912, in Bo’ness. Under Alison Strauss’ guidance, the festival has become a force internationally, bringing to the UK newly discovered or newly restored silent classics, and presented in a varied and imaginative programme under the best conditions: with programme notes by leading scholars (Dina Iordanova, Charles Musser, David Cairns) with accompaniment by leading musicians (Neil Brand), sometimes with scores especially composed for the film (by the likes of John Sweeney and Dr. Chris Letcher), with introductions by specialists (Victor Fan), with an inclusive programme (this year including a strand on amateur filmmaking with a discussion lead by Melanie Selfe and Keith M. Johnston); guest speakers (Bryony Dixon, Lawrence Napper, Donald Smith); performers (Chris Letcher, Paul McGann, Meg Morley) and special events (Mark Kermode in Conversation with Neil Brand and Mike Hammond).
José has always wanted to go. This year was Richard’s second year at the event. We wanted to find out more; and who better to tell us than Ms. Silent London herself, Pamela Hutchinson, critic, curator, programmer, and also author of, amongst other gems, the BFI classic on Pandora’s Box.
The podcast may be listened to below:
Lead-in and Lead-out music in the podcast from the score to The Patsy by The Sprockets –