The British Silent Film Festival returns


The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

After a prolonged period in the shadows, while dark and pressing operational matters were sorted out, the British Silent Film Festival is back. No longer based in Nottingham, the festival this year moves to the Barbican Cinema, London. It is taking place 4-6 June, and the theme is ‘Music and the British Silent Film’. It will therefore run harmoniously alongside the Sounds of Early Cinema in Britain conference, which is taking place at the Barbican from 7-9 June.

A blog has been set up as a temporary online home for the festival. It says:

Our theme this year is Music and the British Silent Film which will encompass all aspects of music and sound relating to silent film. The theme will encompass experimental sound systems before 1930, contemporary music and silent film and the visual depiction of sound in film. We have less time for papers this year but if you have specific suggestions for a presentation please email us at

The Sounds of Early Cinema in Britain conference which runs alongside the British Silent Film Festival is one output of the Sounds of Early Cinema in Britain project, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and based at Royal Holloway, University of London, which is examining “sound’s and music’s roles as practised in the exhibition of early and ‘silent’ cinema in Britain”.


The Dodge Brothers

There’s no programme for the festival as yet (clearly, since suggestions for presentations are still invited), but “a very exciting public event” on 4 June is promised, featuring the Dodge Brothers, who include one Mark Kermode – film critic, double bassist, TV personality and defiant haircut; and the universally worshipped Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

More information on the festival as and when we receive it, but at least you can now fill that gap in your diaries.

Update: The full programme has now been published.