Bo’ness’ Hippfest silent film festival shortlisted for top UK arts award

A silent film festival in Bo’ness has been shortlisted for a national award.

Hippfest was hosted online for the first time last year.

And now the efforts of the team behind it have been recognised with a place in the shortlist for the best arts project in the National Campaign for the Arts' Hearts for the Arts Awards 2022.

The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of local authorities which are championing the arts against all odds - and Falkirk Council is the only one in Scotland to be recognised.

Hippodrome, Bo'ness

Falkirk Community Trust’s shortlisting comes after the success of Hippfest 2021.

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It was Scotland’s first - and only - commissioning and showcase festival for silent film and live music.

In 2021, it launched its first live online edition including 10 shows with music accompaniment; illustrated talks; virtual tours; as cookery workshop; and 10 introductions recorded at multiple locations in and around the Falkirk area.

Hippodrome, Bo'ness

There event also featured live Q&As; a silent film quiz; a chess tournament; and many guest-curated Spotify playlists.

The judges praised the work which went into creating Hippfest.

They said it was “a really innovative scheme to promote engagement with film at a challenging time for cinemas everywhere.”

And they added: “The number of platforms used, forums created and extras offered are wonderful to see, and demonstrate a real desire to go above and beyond in creating this festival. The sense of community cohesion is very clear in putting the festival together.”

News of the nomination also delighted the Hippfest team.

Lesley O’Hare, culture and libraries manager at FCT, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for this award.

“After the festival was cancelled just days before it was due to go live in 2020, the team pulled out all the stops to ensure that our audiences could still feel that they were part of the festival experience in 2021 when we moved online.

“HippFest is so much more than just a programme of silent film screenings and the team worked hard to keep our online audiences engaged through coming up with a whole programme of activities for them to participate in.”

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