Silence is golden at Bo’ness film festival

Andy Cannon and Jane Gardner launch the Bo'ness Silent Film Festival at the Hippodrome.
Andy Cannon and Jane Gardner launch the Bo'ness Silent Film Festival at the Hippodrome.
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Mention Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy to anyone and they’ll know exactly who you are talking about, no matter what age they are.

You’re also, without exception, guaranteed to be met with a big grin at the mere mention of these silver screen icons, so if you like smiling there’s only one place to go from now until Sunday.

The Bo’ness Hippodrome’s ‘Festival of Silent Cinema’ got under way this week and organisers are expecting another bumper year.

It’s the third event held at the cinema and the 2013 event has been extended to five days from yesterday (Wednesday) to Sunday, March 17 to cater for a “jam-packed” programme that includes legendary icons like 
Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy.

The event’s popularity has also preceded it with several shows already sold out with waiting lists being taken, but there’s still plenty on for movie buffs to capture a piece of cinema history.

Festival director Alison Strauss said: “I can’t wait to see the cinema full of audiences experiencing the high quality, unusual events we have lined up, and to being part of the great festival atmosphere.

We’re really proud of the programme, the festival, the Hippodrome and the town of Bo’ness where many of the local businesses have pulled out all the stops to get in the spirit with themed window displays.

“With nearly 40 performers and events and screenings taking place over an extended five days, Scotland’s only silent film festival programme is jam-packed with not to be missed premieres, commissions, screenings, exhibitions and workshops.”

There isn’t a more fitting place in the country to hold such an event as the Hippodrome was Scotland’s first purpose-built ‘picture palace’ (cinema) back in 1912 when it first opened to starstruck audiences.

The building underwent a major refurbishment ahead of its 100-year birthday celebrations to bring it back its original former glory, which will add some authenticity to the festival.

Historian Ian Scott, chairman of Falkirk Community Trust who are behind the festival, said: “It’ striking to see how far the ‘Festival of Silent Cinema’ has come since the first edition in 2011.

“In just two years the team have delivered a loyal following of audiences who have found that the Hippodrome festival offers a wonderful atmosphere.

“This is thanks to such an exceptional venue at the heart of the local community and the calibre of performers and films, exemplifying the high quality programming the Hippodrome offers all year round.”

Shows and workshops will be running throughout the afternoons and evenings on each day until the curtain comes down on Sunday.

To find out more on events visit http://www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org or call (01324) 506850 for ticket information.