Thirteenth Annual Kansas Silent Film Festival
    Our thirteenth annual Kansas Silent Film Festival was an extravaganza of film, music, and socializing—including our first ever KSFF Banquet!
    Check out the photo archive, below, to the sights surrounding this fun event! MARK YOUR CALENDAR for February 26 & 27, 2010, our next KSFF. These events are free and open to the public.
     —Media links
photo collage of films shown, KSFF 2009

    Held February 27 & 28, 2009, at White Concert Hall on the Washburn University campus, Topeka, Kansas, the festival had guests both coasts and many ponts inbetween. Special guests included Nicholas Eliopoulos, and his documentary film, "Mary Picford: Muse of the Movies," and film preservationist David Shepard, back for his second visit at KSFF, where he introduced his work on Saturday night's feature, "Bardelys the Magnificent," a film thought lost since 1936.

2009 PROMO | PROGRAM 2009 | NOTES 2009 | KSFF HOME

Bardelys the Magnificent was magnificent. KSFF was the U.S. premiere of this restored film. The movie is now available on DVD from Flicker Alley. Add it to your own movie collection.

Jeff Rapsis,
muscial talent, NH:

Okay, I finally have a second here to properly say thank you for all the effort that goes into staging the Kansas Silent Film Festival. This year was another great event, with so many interesting films and great music to bring them to life. You're a great host and the same spirit prevails in everyone we encounter there. That hospitality is certainly one of the reasons to keep coming back.

It was seeing films in Kansas, more than anything else, that made me realize how much life remains in these pictures if they're shown under the right conditions: that is, on the big screen, in good prints, with live music, and with an audience. It's how they were designed to be shown in the first place, and if all those elements are present, they still work marvelously. No wonder people first fell in love with the movies! Seeing them otherwise (at home with your dog) is like, say, trying to look at the Mona Lisa underwater: yes, you can see that woman smiling, but you're just not going to get the full effect.

So it's a real treat to experience a variety of films of all types at the Kansas festival, to give them a chance to breathe again in their native environment and see how they hold up. Even films that weren't designed as prestige entertainment have some interest to them, and the Kansas Silent Film Festival is a rare chance to see many things that otherwise just don't get shown. It's another one of the reasons we keep returning each year.

Also, I very much appreciated the chance to contribute musically to the festival this year. That was a real rush. A surprising number of people came up to me afterwards with questions about the intermission slides, and we fielded a lot of requests for DVDs of these...

...I think the dinner you organized on Saturday night was a kind of missing link: a chance for everyone to get together outside the concert hall (where the focus is on the films themselves) and just talk and socialize and enjoy a program. It also provided a chance to thank people who helped without getting in the way of the film screenings. Very well done!

... And don't worry about trying to top this year or anything like that. To me each Kansas Silent Film Festival has its own unique character and special flavor, whether the attraction is the Johnson safari films or Harry Langdon's nephew or David Shepard torching some nitrate film on stage and brandishing a whip in front of Gertie the Dinosaur. They're like the children in Lake Wobegon, all above average.

Suzanna & John Hicks,
attendees, AR:

Thanks again for another fantastic KSFF! The Mary Pickford documentary, the Cinema Dinner, and the U.S. premiere showing of the newly restored Bardelys the Magnificent were indescribably delightful special features this year. We loved seeing so many familiar faces from the annual Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola--although we don't know many of them and our involvement is limited, we're starting to feel a little like family. Our deep thanks go out to everyone involved in organizing and putting on such a professional, joyful event - special thanks to the Board, all the Volunteers, and this year's special guests, David Shepard and Nicholas Eliopolous. See you next year!!

David Shepard,
guest speaker, CA:

I want to tell you how privileged I feel to have been part of your wonderful festival.  As I said at the beginning of my dinner talk, to be an evangelist for silent film and then to find this huge "congregation," especially with so many young folks, was an incredible high.

attendee, Palo Alto, CA:

I recently attended the 2009 Kansas Silent Film Festival, and I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it.  The venue was perfect, film screenings began on time for the most part, just the right amount of films were screened within the weekend, the presenters gave the audience just enough information at the beginning of each film, the dinner was very good, and the film accompanyment was terrific.  Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra cannot be beat!


I would really like to purchase a copy of some of the films you showed, especially "Her Sister From Paris,"  but I can't seem to find one anywhere on the Internet.  Do you know where it can be had?

ANSWER: "Her Sister from Paris" is not available. The distributor who sent it to us is trying to interest a video company in releasing it, but has not been successful. "Cobra," the Rudolph Valentino film, was available on DVD but is now out of print. Most of the other films are in similar situations. "Go West," the Buster Keaton film, is available on DVD but we negelected to order copies. "Bardelys" and the Mary Pickford documentary will be out on DVD, but not until summer or early fall of this year. We're glad you chose to come to our Festival.

Jim Rhodes,
founding member, Topeka, KS

I want to congratulate all of you as a team, who helped put the 13th annual KSFF together.  You are all to be congratulated for its continued success!! 

Thirteen years ago, we had no idea that it would develop into this, and of course had no idea that it would still be going in 13 years!!  (In fact the FIRST KSFF was held 13 years ago today, March 1, 1997.)  I still have the poster at home.  We started off with five great ones - Broken Blossoms; Wild and Wooly; The Battleship PotemkinThe General, and Sunrise.  I guess since we didn't know about the future we just had to show these!

In his absence, I must also mention Jim McShane, my colleague at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, who arranged for these films to be shown (and I raised the money!)

Again, many thanks for your hard work over the years.....and into the future!

Nico Ciccone, MI, —a message from a fan to David Shepard:

Dear David,

Thanks again for inviting us. We were very pleased to meet you. I was really mesmerized by your restoration of Bardelys as well as the other films, and it's really encouraged me more than ever to preserve silent films.

Christina Khan, Emporia, KS,
—who came to the festival as Buster Keaton with Gina Reilly as Charlie Chaplin

The film festival was a wonderful time, as always. We will be there each year, now in costume—seeing we've started a tradition ;) [See photo, top right.]

More from Jeff Rapsis, NH:

Jeff Rapsis from New Hampshire checking in. What a fantastic job you did putting together that wrap-up page! It flows really nicely and what a great mix of images—not a clinker to be seen! Looking through it, I feel like the festival is still going on, which of course it is, in my mind. It will live on all the more vividly thanks to you work in stitching this page together!

Already looking forward to next year!

Larry Stendebach
photos of the event.

Select a thumbnail to see the larger version.

Jeff Rapsis plays piano onstageDenise and Nicholas Bill shovels snow on front stepbreakfast for participants KSFF supper settingPhil listens to Shepard lecture Marvin practices his score for Kinddin' KatieDavid Shepard lecture, KSFF supper
welcoming guestsKarl, Buster, Enid and Charlie Mont Alto Motion Picture OrchestraMont Alto and Phyllis Larry and marqueeNicholas and marquee Final curtain callNicholas, Larry and David

Visit Larry's 66 Diner KSFF coverage.

Link here to photos by Greg Foreman.

Nicholas Eiloupolos & Karl Mischler
photos of the event.

Select a thumbnail to see the larger version.

Snow and signWhite Concert Hall, Washburn University Nicholas and cutoutsMary Pickford Lunch at Elridge Hotel, Lawrence, KSNicholas Elipoulos, John Tibbetts and Dr. Bruce Linton, retired instructor Nicholas and his retired KU instructor, Dr. Bruce LintonDenise and Bill Supper centerpieceSupper, table top

A letter of congratualtions to Washburn University president Jerry Farley:
Eckhoff letter to Washburn president Jerry Farley

Nicholas Elipoulos
, Director:

Over the.2009 Christmas Holiday we got an honorary Award from the International Press Academy for our Pickford documentary, Mary Pickford, Muse of the Movies. Our next event is our New York Premiere at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Our distributors, Here Films/Regent Releasing, will give us a Theatrical run in six major US cites...Kansas City included. The DVD version will be released sometime in 2010 after the theatrical run. Our web site will have details.

Nicholas Elipoulos with his Satellite Award


Event photos except those credits to Larry, Karl and Nicolas (above) are by Carol Yoho, who constructed this page, photo collage and designed KSFF logo.

Special thanks to these major donors for help with the 2009 festival:
Washburn University

Media Links

Watch video on-line:
Topeka Capital-Journal

video coverage of Bardelys

News: Topeka Capital-Journal
event announcement

Kansas City Star
event announcement

Washburn Review a&e
event coverage





Phil Figgs and Rodney Sauer Karl Mischler and Bill Shaffer attendees Gina Reilly as Charlie Chaplin and Christna Khan as Buster Keaton
from the nosebleed section, concert hall balcony Friday evening house Friday standing ovation new KSFF banner

Shining Talent

Denise Morrison introduces filmsMarvin Faulwell, organ
Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra is Rodney, Dawn, Britt, David and Brian



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Getting Ready

Greg Foreman, organ
Jeff Rapsis, piano
Kathy Combs, percussion
Bill, Jane and Phyllis fill a display case Lyle Waring, concert hall manager Setting out merchandise John Vanhollebeke, 2009 projectionist

KSFF Trustees and Volunteers

Karl, Bill, Phil, Zandra, Enid Unknown and Rick Enid and sister Phyllis Bob and Barbara Karl and dear Jane

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Friday Evening

Fans admire auction items  Jim Reid, Larry Stendebach and Bruce Calvert Karl discusses plans with Bill and Denise
Friday evening was a Western extravaganza Rodney meets and greets Denise is ready to greet audience, Friday evening Intermission begins Friday night crowds Cookie and Bill chat with Jeff and Susan Rapsis John Kelso, faithful fan

Saturday, surprise snow!

Just outside the White Concert Hall lobby Snow plow plows snowLate morning, still snowing
Daffodils have had it Purple flowers on the skids Sun breaks out in mid afternoon

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Saturday Events

Our Kansas City area friends dress in 20s attire again for 2009 Doug Moore and Phil Figgs Carol Yoho with David Shapard Carol Jory with Nickie and Joe Stein
Saturday morning freatures Mary Pickford Special guest Nicholas Elipoulos directed Mary Pickford, Muse of the Movies Nicholas and Denise, about to go onstage, Saturday morning Greg and Melodie Foreman and friends
Denise introduces Mary Pickford's movie, Poor Little Rich Girl Constance Talmadge and Constance Talmadge in Her Sister from Paris Greg Foreman accompanies the Talmadge movie Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra bows after playing onstage

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Break, with cookies and punch

Saturday afternoon crowd Enjoying punch and cookies Checking out the merchandise
Laying out cookies Having some punch Ladeling punch Nicholas and David enjoy their break

Good help, much appreciated

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Nicholas toasts with punch Saturday afternoon crowd on break

Fans Visit

Enjoying displayed materials Mr. Malarky has autographed photos of Buddy Rogers and Wings stunt flyers Joe, Nickie and Joe Jill and Jeslyn from Palo Alto, CA
High above the fray Cookie looks at collectibles, shared by Doug Moore Jane and Larry clown around Dog must wait in the lobby while owners take turn watching silent films
Phil and t-shirts Shopping for DVDs Enjoying refreshments John and his mom, Suzanna, are from Arkansas

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First ever KSFF Supper!

Buffet line, KSFF banquest Britt of Mont Alto with her just desserts Buffet line from Thompson Center staircase
Marvin and Mary entertain friends at supper hour Sun sets on a snowy day Jeff Rapsis entertains with dinner hour music on piano KSFF banquet crowd
Rodney Sauer of Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra nears the end of the buffet line Listeners to David Shepard's lecture David, Dawn and Britt of Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra share a table at supper Supper place setting
David Shepard shows his restoration work on Nanook of the North Bill Shaffer assists David's lecture with DVD projection support David Shepard lectures about silent film restoration

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Saturday Evening Events