By The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival
HippCastApr 27, 2023
Adventurous Viewing: Silent Film Festival Directors in Conversation
In today's release we are delighted to share a conversation that took place earlier this month at the University of Edinburgh, hosted by Jane Sillars, Programme Director of the Masters in Film, Exhibition and Culture, along with Lizelle Bisschoff, who runs the Film Curation Masters at the University of Glasgow. The conversation featured the participation of Lisa Hoen, Director of the Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF), who made a pit stop in Edinburgh on her way from Norway to the Reykjavik International Film Festival. The event and the following dialogue grew out of a research visit to TIFF's Silent Film Days, undertaken by HippFest Director Alison Strauss and Nell Cardozo, HippFest Development and Engagement Officer, in April 2023.
In the discussion, you'll hear how HippFest and TIFF's Silent Film Days are carving out a space for silent film with live music in contemporary cinema programming, and about some of the considerations of film curation in this specialised area. Lisa's experiences programming art house and archive film in the Arctic Circle are invaluable, and we are grateful to be able to share this insightful conversation. Expect consideration of some of the challenges to silent film programming, alongside wider topics such as the crucial importance of cinemas as social spaces, and the transformative power of live music with silent cinema. We hope you enjoy!
Invisible Women on SALOME (1922)
In today’s episode, released in celebration of Silent Movie Day, we share a fascinating conversation on the final title in the season SALOME (1922), between HippFest podcast-wrangler Christina Webber and members of archive activist film collective Invisible Women: Rachel Pronger, Camilla Baier and Lauren Clarke. Invisible Women are an international collective who seek out and champion the work of women and filmmakers with marginalised identities who have been overlooked, un-credited or left out of the history of cinema. By drawing attention to these forgotten stories, they aim to reinsert female voices into the story of film.
And in today’s release this is certainly the case!
The conversation covers the visual splendour of the film, its oddness, sexiness, and humour, its contemporary resurgence and queer and feminist reclamation, but also paints a vivid picture of the scene in Hollywood at this time, and the cast and crew behind the movie. Alleged to be an entirely queer cast, SALOME (1922) is a perfect example of the subversive networks that were able to operate at the start of the 1920s, and how despite being overlooked in film history, women like Alla Nazimova and Natacha Rambova achieved incredible success.
We hope you enjoy - as always there is a full episode transcript available here.
'Journey to the Isles' - the story of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser
Episode 7 of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival Podcast is dedicated to our touring HippFest 2022 Commission Journey to the Isles: Marjory Kennedy-Fraser, which just last week travelled to Brittany to open Le Festival International du Film Insulaire du Groix, and which will travel again for another outing at the University of Glasgow Advanced Research Centre in November!
The full performance offers a mesmerizing glimpse into the landscapes, folktales, and songs that inspired Marjory Kennedy-Fraser, one of Scotland's great early collectors of traditional arts, featuring two of Kennedy-Fraser's own films preserved by the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive. Joining audiences on this journey to the isles are acclaimed live performer, multi instrumentalist and one of Scotland's leading storytellers, Marion Kenny with award winning musician, singer and songwriter, Mairi Campbell. Both artists co-created a new score, weaving together words, music and song alongside Kennedy-Fraser's enchanting films.
But for those unable to attend, waiting to watch, or anyone listening in curious to hear more about Marjory Kennedy-Fraser's incredible story, we have adapted a live recording of the show from Eden Court Highlands Cinema in Inverness from October 2022 into this audio-only podcast for your listening pleasure. Researched, developed and performed by Marion Kenny, the story of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser is full of adventurous twists and turns and will paint a vivid picture of what life was like as a song collector in the early 20th century... We hope you enjoy tuning in.
SAFETY LAST (1923) at Edinburgh International Film Festival
This month's episode is all about the legendary Harold Lloyd title SAFETY LAST (1923), screening as part of the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival in collaboration with HippFest, and featuring live accompaniment from Festival favourite Mike Nolan.
Social Media Officer and Online Coordinator Christina Webber speaks to Tamara Van Strijthem (Executive Producer for the EIFF) about this year's programme, and asks Mike Nolan about his love for silent cinema, plus the process involved when approaching a silent movie. There is of course much discussion on Harold Lloyd, other EIFF highlights to check out, and even a story beginning 'one dark and stormy night...'. Enjoy!
- Browse the full EIFF programme here
- Book tickets to see SAFETY LAST (1923) ft. live accompaniment from Mike Nolan
- Or, read the show transcript in full via the HippFest blog
Mark Kermode in converstion with Neil Brand and Mike Hammond
This month's release re-visits a conversation from 2022 between Dodge Brothers Mark Kermode and Mike Hammond, plus honourary Dodge (and HippFest favourite) Neil Brand. Some of the topics covered throughout the conversation include the particular nature of silent film accompaniment, ways to approach working collaboratively (described here as 'mind meld'), as well as ways the audience can influence the musicians, and some anecdotes from along the way.
As always, you can read a full show transcript here (including some photos from the eventual CITY GIRL performance) and with this episode, you can also watch a full event recording which we added to our HippFest at Home YouTube playlist, if you would rather watch the speakers as they converse.
We hope you enjoy listening, and will be back next month with more treats for your ears!
'All Faces are Masks': Visible Difference in Silent Cinema
May's episode 'All Faces are Masks' is an exploration of silent cinema's portrayal of visibly different characters led by Changing Faces campaigner Dr Chris Heppell and filmmaker David Cairns. Changing Faces is a charity dedicated to providing support and promoting respect for everyone with a visible difference, and the week of this release (15th - 19th May 2023) is Face Equality Week.
Face Equality Week aims to raise awareness about the prejudice experienced by those with a visible difference. Underpinning 2023's event is the celebration of Changing Faces' ambassadors and campaigners proudly being the role models they want to see more of, and saying: "This is me". You can watch and share the campaign video, donate, or sign up for email updates in order to support the important work that Changing Faces are doing.
Many thanks to Dr Chris Heppell and David Cairns for presenting such a fascinating event at HippFest 2023. If you would prefer to read rather than listen, you can access a full English transcript here.
Young voices on old cinema
In HippCast Episode 3 we hear from young voices on old cinema.
Bringing fresh perspectives and new relevance to archive film is one of the many pleasures of programming a silent film festival, and involving new audiences and younger people in this wonderful world has been at the festival's heart since HippFest began. This episode features a short excerpt from the live Q&A which concluded our recent presentation of New Found Sound at HippFest 2023 - with terrific performances by Megan Marshall, Chloe Gibb, Erin Richards and Anya McCheyne, as well as from the Falkirk Junior and Senior Trad Bands - plus short interviews with Jenny Alexander (HippFest Advisory Panel) and Sara Prentice (Young Scot Reward Winner) inviting some of our young audience members to share their thoughts on this year's programme.
If you would prefer, there is a full Episode Transcript available here.
2023 programme picks from the HippFest team
In Episode 2 of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival Podcast (HippCast for short) members of the team at Falkirk Council discuss their personal highlights from this year's programme, with a little bit of extra chat about the magic of silent cinema.
Hear from Festival Director Alison Strauss; Online Coordinator, Social Media Officer and 'podcast operator' Christina Webber; Nell Cardozo, Development & Engagement Officer; Paul Eames, Team Leader (Arts), Falkirk Council; Marketing Manager Abbie Dobson; Independent Cinema Office FEDS Trainee James Mennie; and Natalie Allison, Festival Producer.
Interested in an event mentioned in this episode? Browse and book tickets.
If you would prefer to read this conversation, a full transcript is available here.
Queen of Hearts: Mary Queen of Scots in Popular Culture
In Episode 1 of the HippFest Podcast (or HippCast for short), we are delighted to share with you a lively and fascinating talk by Donald Smith, originally presented in March 2022, ahead of our Festival Opening Night screening of The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots (1923).
'The Loves of Mary' was a real highlight of the festival, the world premiere of a new restoration of an extremely rare film presented with live improvised piano, plus the famous Scottish storyteller, Andy Cannon taking the role of our very own Film Explainer or 'McBenshi'. This memorable screening event was made even richer by Donald's talk, which set the scene perfectly for this near-hundred-year-old costume drama.
Donald Smith is an author, storyteller and director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival since 1989. His many publications include Storytelling Scotland, A Pilgrim Guide to Scotland, Wee Folk Tales: in Scots and Folk Tales From The Garden. Donald has also staged over a hundred plays and was a moving force behind the Scottish Storytelling Center and a National Theatre for Scotland.
If you would prefer, there is a full Episode Transcript available here. Links to resources mentioned in this episode are below:
- The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots (1895) - courtesy of The National Library of Scotland's Moving Image Archive
- The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots (1923) programme notes - by commissioned for the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival 2022
- The Ballad of the Five Marys - written by Donald Smith, Luath Press
- Archive Film Agency on YouTube
- Celluloid Tapestry on YouTube
Preview: a HippFest primer
Greetings, silent film fans! We are delighted to release Episode 0 of our new podcast series, the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival Podcast - or HippCast for short. Intended as a brief audio primer, this preview episode is an opportunity to introduce online audiences to the unique HippFest experience. To do so we have assembled a collection of voices, all sharing their impressions of the Festival.
The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest) is Scotland's first and only festival of silent film with live music. This brand new podcast features excerpts from a host of HippFest activity: Q+As with performers, interviews with archivists, and other insightful, cross-cultural conversations about archive cinema. We hope you enjoy tuning in!
Many thanks to David Barras (Strange Boat) for recording the interviews with Neil Brand, Mark Kermode and Dr Mike Hammond. These conversations were all recorded between rehearsals at HippFest 2022. Special thanks also to First Impressions: Thinking Aloud About Film, who not only dedicated an episode to HippFest earlier in the year, but who have also allowed us to use an excerpt from this conversation as part of our show.
Happy listening! If you would prefer, a full transcript of this episode is available here.