Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Report from the SFSFF
It was a wet and sometimes windy day on Saturday in San Francisco. But in the Castro Theater, thousands of silent film fans turned out for the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's now annual Winter Event. I was among them. And so was big-time Buster Keaton-fan and Louise Brooks Society associate director Christy Pascoe (pictured to the left on a rainy Castro street).
We were all there to take in the day's worth of films and programming.
One of the splendid things about the festival is the sense of comradery and community it engenders. I saw many old friends (most all of whom I've met over the years at the Festival), and even made a few new ones. And, I connected with a few never-met-in-them- in-the-flesh-before-Facebook friends. Hello Joan Myers and the other "Daughters of Naldi" who were present.
Here I am engaged in conversation with Rudolph Valentino expert Donna Hill (pictured below to the right). I have known Donna for years. She runs Falcon Lair, the excellent Rudolph Valentino website located at http://www.rudolph-valentino.com/ and also blogs about silent film via "Stolen Moments" - the only silent film podcast I am aware of. Check them both out sometime.
Donna and I were chatting about some of the films we had seen earlier in the day - as well as the latest on our various silent film projects. Donna is continuing work on a new book about Valentino called Rudolph Valentino: The Silent Idol. I am very excited about this project, and can't wait till Donna is done. You can find out more about this new book by visiting this page.
Though we have spoken on the phone and corresponded via email for a number of years, I also had the chance to meet Elaine M. Woo in person for the first time. I was truly delighted. Here we are pictured to the left and below.
Elaine is a producer and documentarian responsible for Anna May Wong: Frosted Yellow Willows. That 2007 documentary has shown on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and has screened at Pordenone (where it premiered) and elsewhere around the United States and the world. And, it has drawn rave reviews where ever it plays. For more on this film, visit its website at www.anna-may-wong.com/
Like me, Elaine is an enthusiastic researcher. She has traveled all over the world in search of new material on Anna May Wong's career. Though she has completed her documentary, Elaine is still researching the iconic Chinese American actress and silent film star.
Elaine and I chatted about libraries and microfilm and archives and film journals and newspapers and obscure publications and our own collections of research material and the challenges of getting at difficult to reach stuff. It was shop talk - and it was fun!
Though no Louise Brooks films were shown at the 2009 Winter Event, the actress did have a small presence at the day long event. This snapshot, taken from the balcony inside the Castro (a grand 1922 movie theater), shows an image from a slide show projected on the big screen. I think you may recognize the actress.
Next Summer's event will be four days! The 15th annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival is set for July 15 - 18, 2010. Programs and special guests will be announced in the Spring. I hope to see you there.
Copyright thomas gladysz / Louise Brooks Society
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