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Performance Notes for this free eventFeb. 25 & 26, 2011twinkling star animation

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The event is free and open to the public. The KSFF is underwritten by donation.
This program is subject to change:

Friday, Feb. 25, 2011

Begins: 7:30 p.m.

Overture by Jeff Rapsis
Welcome & Introductions by Host Denise Morrison

Clips-filled montage: The First Academy Awards®
Our festival will start off with a clips-filled montage of all the nominated films. Although we wish we could show all of them in the festival, time will not allow us to so…here's at least a taste. A festival exclusive (2011) produced by our own Bill Shaffer.
Organ music by Greg Foreman

Short: Fluttering Hearts (1927) with Charley Chase & Martha Sleeper (20 min.)
There is no shortage of talent packed in this short comedy from the Hal Roach Studio. Starring the great Charley Chase, this is a film about a father and daughter who both need help getting out of tough situations. Co-starring Oliver Hardy and Eugene Pallette.
Music by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

--Brief Break
Intermission Slides
featuring Phil Figgs on piano, with “Coming Attractions” slides

Introduction by Annette D'Agostino Lloyd (Harold Lloyd expert). Annette will speak about our Harold Lloyd feature film, SPEEDY and give some details about Harold's life and career. As a founder of the Acting Awards branch of the Academy Awards, Harold has very special connection to this year's topic as well as having an Oscar-nominated film competing in the ranks. Annette will be introduced by Denise Morrison.

Feature: Speedy (1928) with Harold Lloyd (86 min.)
*Directed by Ted Wilde, Best Comedy Direction nominee
Introduction by Annette D'Agostino Lloyd
A great showcase for Harold Lloyd playing the perpetual job-seeker and job-loser “Speedy,” who ends up trying to save the city's last horse-drawn streetcar owned by the father of his girlfriend (Ann Christy). Shot on location in New York City, the film offers some fabulous glimpses of Coney Island and the city proper as well as featuring a cameo by Babe Ruth. Our special guest Annette D'Agostino Lloyd (no relation) will give introductory comments on the film and its star.
Organ music by Marvin Faulwell, with percussion by Bob Keckeisen

Saturday - Feb. 26, 2011

Morning - starts at 10 a.m.

Overture by Greg Foreman
Welcome & Introductions by Host Denise Morrison

Lunch Hound (1927) with Walter Lantz's Pete the Pup (10 min.)
Imaginative introduction to Pete the Pup (the animated dog, not the Our Gang star) showcases the genius that was Walter Lantz long before he created his most famous character Woody Woodpecker—in fact, at the end of his long career he was awarded a Special Academy Award (1978) presented by Woody himself. This short film interweaves live action with animation; you won't want to miss this amazing cartoon.
Piano music by Jeff Rapsis

Chasing Choo Choos (1927) with Monty Banks (20 min.)
This is a two-reel version of a feature film called Play Safe-- not considered a great film except for the exciting train chase at the end. So the chase sequence--one of the best you'll ever see--was re-released separately. You won't believe your eyes when you see some of the stunt work, almost every conceivable cliff-hanger variation with star Banks on and off the train, straddling between a car and a train and hanging by his fingernails as the driverless locomotive careens downhill! Co-starring Virginia Lee Corbin as the hapless (not helpless) girlfriend in distress.
Piano music by Greg Foreman

Feature: Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927) (60 min.)
Produced by Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack
*Best Picture, Unique & Artistic Prod nominee
This is a fascinating look at a family struggling in the jungles of Siam, fighting off elephant stampedes and tiger attacks. Actually filmed in Siam, Chang combines a documentary style with the storyline of a first-class piece of fiction. Originally advertised as a “jungle melodrama,” the climax of the story has the family's village facing an invasion of “Changs.” What is a Chang? You must see for yourself! Producers Cooper and Schoedsack are the same team that would bring King Kong to the screen in 1933.
Warning: this film depicts the killing of animals as part of the story. These depictions may be offensive to some viewers.
Piano music by Rodney Sauer with Bob Keckeisen on Percussion

--Lunch Break

Afternoon - starts at 1:30 p.m.

Overture by Marvin Faulwell
Welcome back & Introductions by Host Denise Morrison

Short: Barnum and Ringling, Inc. (1928) with Our Gang (20 min.)
Directed by Robert McGowan
The Our Gang kids are at it again, causing mischief in a hotel by creating their very own circus including turning the neighborhood animals into exotic creatures. The film also features an appearance by Oliver Hardy, one of the last film appearances he made without Stan Laurel.
Piano music by Marvin Faulwell

Feature: The Circus (1928) with Charlie Chapin (72 min.)
*Special Award of Merit
The Little Tramp finds himself intrigued with a traveling circus and ends up with a job. Along the way he falls in love and learns to balance on a rope with a monkey on his head--really! Co-starring Merna Kennedy, this film has always been considered a lesser Chaplin, but really is just one of his most unique--perhaps ahead of its time, the film is just now coming into its own. By special arrangement with the Chaplin estate, this film will be shown with the original music score that Chaplin wrote himself.
This is one of the few times in our Festival history when we will present a feature film without “Live” music.

Optical Soundtrack with Chaplin Music Score

--Brief Break, Cookies and Punch served in the Lobby
Intermission Slides
featuring Jeff Rapsis (of New Hampshire’s Wilton Town Hall Silent Film series) on piano, with “Coming Attractions” slides

Short: The Magician (1927) with Mutt & Jeff (10 min.)
Bud Fisher's famous comic-strip characters came to the silver screen in 1916, eventually becoming one of the longest-lived animated series in film history with over 300 shorts made by various studios and animators over the years. In this one-reeler, Jeff makes himself invisible to gain revenge on Mutt.
Piano music by Phil Figgs

Feature: The Last Command (1928) with Emil Jannings (88 min.)
*Best Actor winner / Best Writing, Original Story nominee
The great German actor Emil Jannings plays an aristocratic Czarist General reduced to poverty after the collapse of Imperial Russia. An old adversary, now a successful Hollywood director (played by William Powell in his film debut), hires the general to re-enact the revolution which deposed him. Superb drama from the great Josef von Sternberg.
Piano Score by Greg Foreman

--Dinner Break
5:15 p.m.: Supper Break — Program resuming at 7:15 p.m.

Special Dinner Event, Our Third Annual

Served buffet-style
Featuring our special guest
Annette D'Agostino Lloyd
Bradbury Thompson Alumni Ctr., Washburn University, Topeka, KS
— Total cost: $25 per person (non-refundable) —

     a portion of this fee will go to the KSFF
— This event is by reservation only —

Send reservation requests to:

KSFF Cinema-Dinner
P.O. Box 2032
Topeka, Kansas 66601-2032

Our annual Cinema-Dinner will include a great meal, special prizes and our guest speaker, Annette D'Agostino Lloyd, who will speak about the life and work of Harold Lloyd and his connection with the First Academy Awards®. The dinner will take place at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center on the Washburn University campus directly across from White Concert Hall (where the KSFF takes place). Total cost for the dinner is $25 per person (non-refundable)—a portion of this fee will go to support the festival. This event is by reservation only. Some tickets for the dinner may be available at the KSFF event on Friday or Saturday.


Evening - starts at 7:15 p.m.

Overture by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Welcome back & Introductions by Host Denise Morrison, except where noted

Short: A Thief Catcher (1914) with Ford Sterling (10 min.)
We've deviated from our Academy Awards® theme to showcase a rarity--a Mack Sennett Keystone Kops film starring Ford Sterling. It contains what historians believe is the third appearance of Charlie Chaplin on screen. The man who discovered that film--Paul Gierucki--brings it to our festival. Charlie has a bit part as one of the Keystone Kops in another madcap story. Sterling is the chief Keystone Kop, who takes his dog out for a run while off duty and gets waylaid by baddies Mack Swain and Edgar Kennedy.
Music by Jeff Rapsis

Short: From Soup to Nuts (1928) with Laurel & Hardy (20 min.)
The newly rich Mrs. Culpepper, eager to make an impression in high society, has planned a big dinner party. Her husband is less than enthusiastic. But her worst problems are the two special waiters she has hired, who turn out to be clumsy and inexperienced bumblers. Can you figure out what parts Laurel and Hardy play? Laurel is told to serve the salad “undressed” which he does while Hardy slips and falls into more layer cakes than one can imagine would ever be available!
Organ music by Marvin Faulwell

Feature: 7th Heaven (1927) with Janet Gaynor (119 min.)
*Nominated for five Academy Awards® including Best Production, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Writing--Adaptation and Best Art Direction. Winner for Actress, Director and Writing.
Introduced by David Shepard, film restorationist and preservationist.
One of the great screen romances of the silent film era comes to our festival thanks to film preservationist David Shepard, who is loaning us his own personal print of the film (copied from Miss Gaynor's own print now residing at George Eastman House) and who will be with us to give introductory remarks. The story of a street waif and a sewer worker falling in love under the shadow of WWI may sound schmaltzy but it all works beautifully through a perfect combination of acting, directing, and photography, not to mention the incredible lighting and set design. The film was a sensation and created a great acting team of Gaynor and Farrell who would eventually make eight films together. Don't miss this great finale to our Saturday.
— Music by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

-- There will be an intermission in the Feature Film

Sunday - Feb. 27, 2011

Afternoon - starts at 1:00 p.m.

Overture by Phil Figgs

Welcome & Introduction by Host Denise Morrison

Short: Pedigreedy (1927) with Felix the Cat (10 min.)
Our favorite animated cat is at it again. Felix tries to get into a snooty nightclub and is told that only people of "unquestioned lineage" are allowed in. Felix then relates his family history, bringing his family tree--literally--into the club to prove his lineage.
Music by Jeff Rapsis

Short: Crazy to Fly (1927) with Bobby Vernon (20 min.)
A mad slapstick comedy featuring Bobby as a non-flyer out to impress his girl and her father. This film is in a truncated version, but it still has some great comedy from the ever-youthful Bobby Vernon.
Organ music by Greg Foreman

Documentary: A Tribute to Charles "Buddy" Rogers (2010)
Introduced by Nicholas Eliopoulos, Director
A video interview with the star of Wings—Kansas-born Charles “Buddy” Rogers—created exclusively for the KSFF by filmmaker Nicholas Eliopoulos. Nicholas edited this piece together from material shot for his documentary on Mary Pickford, presented at our 13th annual event in 2009.

Feature: Wings (1927) with Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen & Clara Bow (141 min.)
*Best Picture, Production winner / Best Engineering Effects winner
For the first time in the history of our festival, we are extending our event to Sunday afternoon for a special matinee of the first Best Picture Academy Award® winner, Wings. This epic story of World War I flyers (Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen) and the girl who refused to be left behind (Clara Bow) contains many sweeping aerial scenes and dogfights directed by WWI veteran (and future Hollywood directing legend) William Wellman. Gary Cooper turns a minor bit part into a scene stealer that made him a star.
— Organ music by Marvin Faulwell

Our Cast:

Special Guest Annette D'Agostino Lloyd:

Annette D'Agostino Lloyd has spent years researching the films and life of silent film comedian Harold Lloyd. She has written several biographies about Lloyd and maintains a web site: haroldlloyd.us
     This is not Annette's first visit to Kansas. She has attended the Buster Keaton Celebration, a humanities event held every September in Iola, Kansas, twice in past years.
     The 2011 Kansas Silent Film Festival includes a Friday evening showing of Harold Lloyd's classic film Speedy, and a wealth of other films honored at the first ever Academy Awards Ceremony, 1927-28.

About Denise Morrison:

Denise MorrisonDenise Morrison is a film historian from Kansas City, Missouri, with a special focus on silent film. She works as an archivist with Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, and has been involved with the Kansas Silent Film Festival since the beginning. She was quite active with the Granada Theatre in Kansas City, Kansas, when they were showing a full schedule of silent movies. Denise will give an overview of the silent film era and also provide introductions to each film.

About Marvin Faulwell:

Dr. Marvin FaulwellDr. Marvin Faulwell is a retired dentist from Kansas City who is a very accomplished theatre organist. He has played for all of the previous five Silent Film Festivals and our "sister project," Silents in the Cathedral, held every Halloween at Grace Cathedral in Topeka. He has a large theatre organ in his home and also restores the instruments. He has appeared in concert and accompanied silent film programs in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Minnesota and also accompanied many silent films shown at the Granada Theatre in Kansas City, Kansas.

About the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra:

Mont Alto Motion Picture OrchestraThe Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra come from Boulder, Colorado, and has appeared at this festival since the third events, held in 1999. The orchestra consists of a piano, violin, cello, clarinet, and trumpet. They are quite active in their hometown and have appeared several times in California, at the Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola, Kansas (since 1998), and at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. They have made three CDs of salon music and silent film music. They have provided the music scores for numerous silent films on video and DVD including Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1920), Blood and Sand (1922), and The Thief of Bagdad (1924) for Kino Video.

About Greg Foreman:

Greg ForemanGreg Foreman holds a Certificate of Piano Performance, a Bachelor of Music Education, and a Master of Arts in Teaching. He is an author and clinician for Alfred Music Publishing, Inc. and serves as a music teacher for the Lee's Summit, Missouri School District. Mr. Foreman has performed as soloist with the Kansas City Symphony, the UMKC Conservatory Orchestra, and on National Public Radio. The Kansas City Star has said, "his playing...was strong, impulsive, stylish, and touched with poetry."

About David Shepard:

David Shepard, film restoration expert and preservationist, will return as our special guest at this, his third appearance at our festival. Mr. Shepard has been the force behind the recent DVD releases of Chicago (1927) and Chaplin at Keystone from the Flicker Alley label. He has shared many of the films from his personal collection at previous KSFF events at no cost to us. This year he will hand-deliver our Saturday evening feature, 7th Heaven, starring Best Actress Academy Award® winner Janet Gaynor. Mr. Shepard's film print was duplicated from the original 35mm print owned by Ms. Gaynor, now a part of the permanent collection at the George Eastman House. While he is sharing other films for this event as well, he will personally introduce 7th Heaven on Saturday night.

About Nicholas Eliopoulos:

Nicholas EliopoulosNicholas Eliopoulos introduced his excellent documentary, Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies at our thirteenth annual KSFF in 2009. He will be with us again this year with a special  tribute to Charles "Buddy" Rogers, one of the stars of our Sunday matinee film, Wings. Rogers was a popular Olathe, Kansas native, who appeared in numerous silent and sound films. Eliopoulos has prepared this short piece especially for the KSFF. It will be shown before Wings on Sunday. 

About Paul Gierucki:

Paul GieruckiPaul Gierucki runs his own DVD label (LAUGHSMITH) and collects lots of old classic films. His group produced the excellent DVD sets on Roscoe Arbuckle and the Three Stooges. He discovered the very rare Chaplin film, A THIEF CATCHER at an antique auction and didn't look at it for a year. Once he figured out that Charlie was in it, he asked friends to verify it. They agreed that Charlie was in it, and it became a national news story. The film has been shown previously at film events on both coasts.

About Jeff Rapsis:

Jeff RapsisJeff Rapsis is a New Hampshire-based composer and musician who regularly accompanies silent film programs. His recent work includes a score for the newly restored Constance Talmadge feature Lessons in Love (1921), which was premiered at the New York City public library in February 2008, and a new piano score for the comedy Campus Knights (1929), recently reissued on DVD by Looser Than Loose Vintage Entertainment. Jeff is associate publisher and co-owner of HippoPress, New Hampshire's largest weekly paper, for which he covers classical music.

About Bob Keckeisen:

Bob KeckeisenBob Keckeisen has been principal percussionist for the Topeka Symphony Orchestra since 1989. Bob has been delighting audiences recently at the Kansas Silent Film Festival by adding remarkable percussive music and sound effects to several films. Bob grew up in Wichita and studied percussion under J.C. Combs at Wichita State University. He obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from WSU and moved to Topeka in 1982.
Bob is the director of the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka and frequently volunteers for KTWU Channel 11.

About Phil Figgs:

Phil FiggsPhil Figgs is a Kansas Silent Film Festival board member and a collector of antique sheet music, gramophone records, and player piano rolls. He has accompanied silent movies for the Albany Historical Society, the Hiawatha Area Arts and Theatre Society, and the Pawnee County Historical Society at Fort Larned. Phil teaches high school English in Sabetha, Kansas.

The First Academy Awards®
Awarded on May 16, 1929

Best Picture, Production

  • Wings (1927) the winner
  • 7th Heaven (1927)
  • The Racket (1928)

Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production

  • Sunrise A Song of Two Humans (1927) the winner
  • Chang (1927)
  • The Crowd (1928)

Best Actor

  • Emil Jannings the winner for The Last Command (1928) and The Way of All Flesh (1927)
  • Richard Barthelmess for The Noose (1928) and The Patent Leather Kid (1927)

Best Actress

  • Janet Gaynor the winner for 7th Heaven (1927), Street Angels (1928) and Sunrise (1927)
  • Louise Dresser for A Ship Comes In (1928)
  • Gloria Swanson for Sadie Thompson (1928)
Best Director, Comedy
  • Lewis Milestone the winner for Two Arabian Knights (1927)
  • Ted Wilde for Speedy (1928)

Best Director, Drama

  • Frank Borzage the winner for 7th Heaven (1927)
  • King Vidor for The Crowd (1928)
  • Herbert Brenon for Sorrell and Son (1927)

Best Writing, Original Story

  • Ben Hecht the winner for Underworld (1927)
  • Lajos Biro for The Last Command (1928)

Best Writing, Adaptation

  • Benjamin Glazer the winner for 7th Heaven (1927)*you can see his Academy Award here at our festival displayed in the lobby
  • Anthony Coldeway for Glorious Betsy (1928)
  • Alfred Cohn for The Jazz Singer (1927)

Best Writing, Title Writing

  • Joseph Farnham the winner (for Fair Co-Ed (1927), Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) and Telling the World) (1928) *
  • Gerald Duffy for The Private Life of Helen of Troy (1928)
  • George Marion Jr. (for Oh Kay!)*
*"Farnum and Marion are not linked in the Academy's database with these titles 

Best Cinematography

  • Charles Rosher/Karl Struss winners for Sunrise (1927)
  • George Barnes for Sadie Thompson (1928), The Devil Dancer (1927) and The Magic Flame (1927)

Best Art Direction

  • William Cameron Menzies for Tempest (1928) and The Dove (1927)
  • Harry Oliver for 7th Heaven (1927)
  • Rochus Gliese for Sunrise (1927)

Best Effects, Engineering Effects

  • Roy Pomeroy for Wings
  • Ralph Hammeras
  • Nugent Slaughter

Honorary Awards

  • Charles Chaplin for The Circus
  • The Jazz Singer (Warner Bros)
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Kansas Silent Film Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. This event is funded by generous donations, and welcomes your support. Your tax deductible gift will be gratefully acknowledged.
        Kansas Silent Film Festival, Inc.
        P.O. Box 2032
        Topeka, Kansas 66601-2032
E-mail contact - bill.shaffer@washburn.edu Or bshaffer2@cox.net

All donations are appreciated.