Silent Film Festival 2013

The third Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema at the Hippodrome Bo'ness closed on Sunday 17th March 2013 with a sold out Gala screening and live performance of the world premiere of a new film score composed by Jane Gardner.

As the Hippodrome's red velvet curtains closed at the end of 'The Goose Woman' (1925), the three musicians were met with thunderous applause, drumming of feet and cheers and whistles. The musical accompaniment for the sensational final screening in the Festival was performed by Jane Gardner on piano and flugelhorn, Hazel Morrison on percussion and Su-a Lee on cello and musical saw.

Jane Gardner's piece was beautiful and haunting with eloquent musical themes emerging for the cast of characters – peppy jazz for the estranged son played by Jack Pickford (brother of Mary), cock-sure brass for the suave romantic rival and, most hauntingly, the eerie and almost uncanny musical saw, expressing the voice of the faded opera star who tries to reclaim her former glory by pretending she had witnessed a murder to attract media attention. The music perfectly expressed the film's emotional power and effortlessly took the audience from high drama, to comic moments and delicate emotional scenes.

The score and pre-event workshop with music students at local secondary school Bo'ness Academy were supported with funds from the PRS for Music Foundation, whilst the screening of 'The Goose Woman' was by arrangement with Photoplay Productions.

The screening and performance of 'The Goose Woman' marked the close of the five day Festival. Audiences were treated to a varied programme including a little known Soviet gem 'The Ghost That Never Returns' (1929), avant-garde Japanese drama 'Jujiro' (1928), and glorious romantic comedy 'Stage Struck' (1925) starring Gloria Swanson.

Special guests included Mark Kermode and his skiffle band The Dodge Brothers who heralded their performance with a spot of busking on the pavement outside, Jason Singh: one of the UK's leading Human Beatboxers, acclaimed silent film improvising musicians Neil Brand and Guenter A Buchwald from Germany, and the Dutch documentary filmmaker Vera Iwerebor.

Festival attendances were up by 25% compared with last year's event and the town of Bo'ness enjoyed a large number of visitors to its shops, restaurants and local attractions during the five-day Festival. Local business and significant employer in the area: Caledonian Produce (Bakkavor), came on board with funding support, Bo'ness cake specialist Absolutely Sweet donated silent film themed cup-cakes and Bo'ness Town Bistro donated canapés.

Download the 2013 programme

1. HippFest Brochure 2013

pdf, 6.6 MB

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