Silent film festival is a worldwide success story for Bo’ness cinema

Alison Strauss, director of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival
Alison Strauss, director of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival

Ticket sales for this year’s Hippodrome Silent Film Festival increased by 17%, with seven sell out shows across its five-day programme.

HippFest, as it is known, takes place in Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema – the Hippodrome in Bo’ness.

Each year the Festival programmes films, workshops, and tours, and commissions new music to accompany rarely screened silent films.

Two of these will tour in 2019: Norwegian silent Laila (1929) with a new musical accompaniment composed and performed by award-winning traditional musicians Rona Wilkie and Marit Fält; and Rob Roy (1922) with new accompaniment composed and performed by multi-instrumentalist David Allison which will tour Scotland at the end of 2019.

The HippFest Audience Award went to the family-favourite screening of three of Laurel & Hardy’s early shorts including With Love and Hisses, Wrong Again and one of the pair’s best-loved silents – You’re Darn Tootin’.

This triple bill will be screening again on Saturday 27 April 2019 with live piano accompaniment from Jane Gardner.

The runner-up was Laila (1929) which received five-star reviews.

The Shop Window Display Trophy presented by Bo’ness’s Fair Queen at the Closing Night Gala went to newcomer Forget Me Not which stocks antique, vintage and second-hand items.

The runner-up was Inkspot and Silverleaf bookshop.

Thanks to support from the Hugh Fraser Foundation the Festival provided BSL interpretation and electronic note-taking for D/deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences at all of its talks and at the introductions to its Opening Night and Friday Night Gala screenings.

Alison Strauss, Festival Director (Falkirk Community Trust) said: “Our ninth HippFest has been a triumph.

“We packed an enormous amount into this edition, extending our programme to include more screenings, events and cultural partnerships.

“The line-up of musicians has also grown, with more talent performing than ever before.

“It makes me tremendously proud that the Festival has become a genuinely world-class experience.

“Word has spread about what an exceptional event this is and now the audiences on our door-step are taking their seats alongside those who have travelled from the all corners of the UK, the States, Canada and China to enjoy this unique cinema experience.”