Packed programme for Bo'ness silent film festival just days away from launch

It takes more than a global pandemic to stop the popular, award-winning Hippodrome Silent Film Festival from entertaining the masses with celluloid gems from a bygone – COVID-19-free – age.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 12:40 pm

Curtain goes up on the 10th annual HippFest, as the event has become known, next week with a packed programme featuring Hollywood heart-throbs and mysterious femme-fatales, epic odysseys and silent comedies all taken to the next level with world-class live musical accompaniment.

This year the festival will be taking place online due to current COVID-19 restrictions and there will be streamed playlists, live Q&As and a whole host of interactive activities to enjoy.

The festival has managed to secure a rare Russian comedy – A Kiss From Mary Pickford (1927) – which will be screened towards the end of proceedings.

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Hippfest is set to get underway

And that trailblazing Hollywood icon Mary Pickford will herself star in the world premiere of a new restoration of Sparrows featuring a specially commissioned soundtrack by Taylor and Cameron Graves.

There’s so much more for film buffs and movie goers to get excited about, with Marlene Dietrich starring in The Woman Men Yearn For, with accompaniment from Frame Ensemble and silent-era sex-symbol Rudolph Valentino in The Eagle with piano accompaniment from composer, broadcaster and HippFest favourite Neil Brand.

HippFest director Alison Strauss said: “I am delighted to present our tenth HippFest – a year later than we originally planned but no less of a milestone. We are looking forward to welcoming back all the many fans of HippFest and to throwing open the virtual cinema doors for audiences joining us for the first time.

“It’s exciting to think more people might take the plunge because attendance this year is as easy as turning up in your own front room – plus all the silent films have inter-titles.

"And all the pre-recorded festival events are captioned in English, while the live Q&As will have BSL and live captioning, making the programme accessible for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

"While we will miss all being together under the star-studded ceiling of the Hippodrome we have tried to create a comparable cocktail of screenings with music, workshops, events and activities to sweep everyone up in the marvellous magic of early cinema.

"If dressing up is your thing, go for it If you like mingling with other festival-goers, dive in to our virtual festival hub. However you do HippFest we’re sure you’ll have a great time.”

HippFest, run by Falkirk Community Trust, has showcased over 220 films since it first started back in 2011, with screenings taking place in over 40 locations from Bologna to Bo’ness.

This year the Festival will cover even more ground as it moves online for the first time, with the full programme of films and talks available to view in the UK, Europe and North America.

Neil Brand, composer, writer, and broadcaster said: “I have been deeply involved with HippFest from the start, and watched it grow over the years into a major force both for the locality and the world of early film.

Festival Passes to this year’s HippFest are £20 Adult / £5 conc. and are available online.

Visit for the full line up of films and more information.

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