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,
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!!
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
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.
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 Potemkin; The 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:
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!