For your diaries

Audience at the Giornate del cinema muto, Pordenone

Well folks, in just a few days it will be 2012, and it is time once again for our annual round-up of what is scheduled to be happening in the silent film world over the next twelve months. You can find further details about the conferences and festivals coming up in the relevant blog sections for these, while our calendar lists all that’s coming up in one handy place. We are considering a reorganiation of the site in the near future, but for the time being those sections remain.

OK, and it will come as a surprise to no one that things kick off with January. The Slapstick festival in Bristol, UK, returns 26-29th, with its traditional mixture of silent comedy classics and present-day TV and radio comedians. StummFilmMusikTage, the annual festival of silent films held in Erlangen, Germany, also takes place in January, though no dates have been given as yet.

February is going to have special interest for the silent film world as the Academy Awards take place on the 26th, and we’ll all be rooting for The Artist just so that we can tell everyone we’ve been backing the right horse all along. The Kansas Silent Film Festival takes place at Topeka, Kansas on 24-25th (no programme announced as yet).

March looks busy, with Cinefest, the annual collectors’ festival at Syracuse, New York, taking place 15-18th – no programme as yet, but bookings begin in January; the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema, Scotland’s first silent film festival now in its second year, to be held in Bo’ness, 16-18th; another relative newcomer, the Toronto Silent Film Festival, to be held 29th March-3rd April; and the twelfth Festival du film muet in Servion Switzerland, 29th March-1st April. With any luck, the Kilruddery Silent Film Festival should be returning this month, held in Bray, Ireland. Finally, there will be the major event of the first US screenings with orchestra of the fully restored Napoléon at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA, 24-25th, 31st and 1st April.

Spring will then be upon us, and April will see the British Silent Film Festival moving venue once again, this time to the Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, 19th-22nd- though officially both dates and venue remain provisional for now.

Then comes May, when we shall see the classic film convention Cinevent taking place at Columbus, Ohio, though no exact dates as yet. We do have dates for France’s Festival d’Anères, however, still going strong in Hautes-Pyrénées, 23rd-27th – or at least, we hope so, because just at present their website is down.

June will bring us the twelfth international Domitor conference, taking place in early cinema’s spiritual home, Brighton, UK, 25-28th [Update: dates are now 18-22 June], on the theme of ‘Performing New Media, 1890-1915’. There’s going to be something of a dilemma for some, as Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato festival, for many specialists an essential part of their year, runs virtually parallel to Domitor, over 23rd-30th, with special features on Raoul Walsh, Lois Weber and the regular Films from 100 Years Ago all promised so far. 29th June-1st July will see the fifteenth annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival, at Fremont, California, marking the centenary of Broncho Billy Anderson coming to Niles.

In July the sun is hot (is it shining? not it’s not). Aside from the sunshine, there will be the Olympic Games in the UK (27th July-12th August), and we’ll endeavour to have suitably Olympic things happening on the Bioscope as well. For those elsewhere, there will be the San Francisco Silent Film Festival taking place 12-15th; or else look out (hopefully) for something eye-catching once again from Babylon Kino’s StummfilmLiveFestival in Berlin this month. In 2011 Slapsticon, the annual silent and early sound film comedy festival traditionally held in Arlington, Virginia, was cancelled – we await news of what will happen this year.

Few silent film events have announced their dates as far ahead as August, though New York’s Capitolfest, scheduled for 10-12th, and Finland’s Mykkäelokuvafestivaalit, or the Forssa Silent Film Festival, is taking place 31st August-1st September. Festivals generally held this month are Strade del Cinema, held at Aosta, Italy; Jornada Brasileira de Cinema Silencioso in São Paulo, Brazil; Bonner Sommerkino, in Bonn, Germany; and the International Silent Film Festival held in Manila, Philippines. No dates or details for any of these as yet.

And then we will find ourselves in September, and ready for a particularly busy month. No dates announced as yet, but we should be getting Cinecon, the annual classic film festival held in Hollywood; New Zealand’s charming Opitiki Silent Film Festival; the Toronto Urban Film Festival of one-minute modern silent films, held in Toronto, Canada; Sydney, Australia’s Australia's Silent Film Festival (though this could turn up at any point between September and December, judging by past form); the Annual Buster Keaton Celebration held in Iola, Kansas, USA; and Cinesation, the silent and early sound film festival held in Massillon, Ohio, USA.

After all that, what might October hold? Why, Pordenone of course. The Giornate del Cinema Muto takes place 6-13th. Nothing else would dare to think even for a moment of clashing with it, and as things stand it has the month to itself.

November and December don’t seem to have anything fixed, though the Bielefelder Film+MusikFest in Germany and Poland’s Festival of Silent Films, held in Krakow and organised by Kino Pod Baranami, generally occur around this time.

If you know of other major silent films events – as opposd to individual screenings or general festivals with some silents included – do let me know. Hopefully there will be more than just the one conference happening in 2012, while the festivals all deserve your patronage. They take a lot of time, effort and money to put on, they are organised by people who believe passionately in the importance of what they do, and festivals remain the place where the real discoveries are made and silent film history is renewed and refreshed. Hope to see you at one or more such events in 2012.

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