2019 KSFF movie collage


Denise Morrison, film commentator

Live Musical Accompaniment by:
Alloy Orchestra, with Terry Donahue, Ken Winokur and Roger C. Miller
Ben Model, piano & organ
Marvin Faulwell, organ
Bob Keckeisen, percussion
Jeff Rapsis, piano
Bill Beningfield, organ

Special Guest:
Ben Model came from New York city to play musical accompaniment for several movies shown. He also spoke about "Undercranking: The Magic Behind the Slapstick" at the 2019 Cinema Dinner on Sat. evening.

23rd Annual Kansas Silent Film Festival, February 22 & 23, 2019

Held February 22 - 23, 2019, at White Concert Hall on the Washburn University campus, Topeka, Kansas.

Our thanks go to event photographers
Karl Mischler, Jane Bartholomew, Larry Stendebach,
Bill Shaffer, Denise Morrison, Hi Stockwell & Carol Yoho.
Choose a photo to see the larger version

2019 Festival Comments:

Bruce Calvert
—Dallas, Texas

It certainly isn't the biggest film festival. It doesn't show the rarest films and the festival certainly isn't as fashionable as the TCM Festival or Cinecon. On the other hand, they have some of the best silent film accompanists in North America. It is also free, and that draws in many people who would never consider paying money to attend an expensive festival. The festival staff and the audience members are really friendly.

That perfectly sums up the charm and uniqueness of the Kansas Silent Film Festival. The weather isn't always the greatest, the location is a bit out of the way, but the venue, staff, and talent are all great.

Want to volunteer for 2020? Contact us at ksffvolunteer@gmail.com

Jim Rhodes
—Festival Founder,
Topeka, KS

Many thanks for your continued HARD WORK to put on another successful KSFF. The festival has indeed become a "fixture" in the life and history of Topeka of which we can be proud.

Marcy Tintera
—University of Nebraska
   Lincoln, NE

Many, many thanks AGAIN Bill, Committee AND Volunteers for another wonderful festival. I'd seen bits and pieces of Metropolis but never the entire film before. Very interesting, and the music from the Alloy Orchestra was so intense. Amazing that that much music could come from just three people! We so enjoyed the Cinema Dinner and Ben Model's presentation on "Undercranking: The Magic Behind the Slapstick". It was very informative and we wished there had been more time to have heard more from him. My favorite film this year was BATTLE OF THE CENTURY. The looks that Stan Laurel gets on his face are priceless. We're already looking forward to 2020, and thanks in advance!

Paul Post
—Topeka, KS

Another great festival. I'm glad to be a small part of it. Count me in for helping next year.!

Jeff Rapsis
—Bedford, NH

Jeff R. checking in to say something you already knew: that this year's Kansas Silent Film Festival was outstanding in many ways! Congratulations to you and everyone.

And also thank you to you and to all the folks who work all year long for this to happen. Those of us (such as me) who just blow in at the last minute really owe you all a debt of gratitude!

Thank you also for the chance to do music for a really interesting group of films, especially features 'Venus of the South Seas' (1924) and 'Bucking Broadway' (1917). Both of these were satisfying films to score and seemed to hold audience attention.

And thanks also for getting Bob K. to help with 'Venus.' Working with Bob and coming up with music for that very strange film was the most satisfying experience of the weekend, I thought. It all came together quite naturally and I very much liked how it turned out!

So it was a great time for what was my 20th consecutive year of trekking to Washburn University. How did that happen? But it has, and thank you for your role in encouraging this all along. In February, most people prefer to go to Aruba, but I go to Topeka!

[Jeff posted a write-up of related thoughts on his web iste, with link posted at the bottom of this column.]

Don Bishop
—Kansas City

It feels as though some 45 years of going to screenings of silent films was only a prelude to tonight's screening of "Metropolis." The musical accompaniment was unlike any I have ever heard. When I saw the array of percussive instruments onstage, I expected an impressive performance, but I could not have predicted how wonderful it was.

I don't know what to call some of the instruments, so for lack of vocabulary, I will call them clangers and scrapers. With the drums providing a conventional sound, though highly unusual to have them, in my experience with silent films, the clangers gave a metallic sound that fit the industrial feel of the movie so well.

The scraper the musician played as doors closed fit the moment so well and added much to the tension.

I appreciated the talent of the musician on the keyboard, too. Fabulous.

I was surprised at the tempo of the accompaniment when it started, and continued to be surprised when the pace continued almost entirely unabated for the length of the movie. I will use the word "tension" again -- the tempo added to the tension. Plus, with so many people shown running in a high proportion of the scenes, the tempo fit well.

Next, the visual: The quality of the images was superb. And after hearing about the discovery in Buenos Aires of a version of the film with additional scenes, I have been looking forward to seeing the extended version. It seems as though the additional scenes were found a long time ago. It was worth the wait.

I never saw a font the same as the font used for the title cards. The design of title cards sometimes adds to the viewing experience, and the design of the title cards for this version of "Metropolis" is terrific.

Now, a comparison: I believe I have seen "Metropolis" screened in a theater at least once. It was not memorable. I have watched it at least twice at home on a DVD. It was boring to watch,, and I could not understand the story. Even so, because of the movie's reputation, I wanted to watch it. I don't remember the accompaniment. Maybe it was fine, or maybe it was not so good. I can imagine if it was organ music, it would not measure up, especially with dreamy-sounding playing that some organists use.

When I saw "Metropolis" on the Kansas Silent Film Festival schedule, I almost skipped going to Topeka tonight. I believed there was little reason to watch the movie again, after previous experiences. But as I rushed around the house, tending to chores, repairs, packing the suitcase and doing some magazine work along the way, I had in mind a 5 p.m. departure to get to Topeka in time for the 7 p.m. start for the evening's program. I am so glad I attended tonight's screening.

Marcia Schroeder
—Wichita, KS

It was a great festival. Thanks for all the work you do. I thought Saturday night was terrific. I'd love to see all those "Knighthood" costumes in color.

[About lunch on-campus]: We decided to try the Lincoln Dining Center at the west end of Lincoln Hall. Great lunch. We were charged $8.02 each at the door. And then we could choose anything we wanted. There was a salad bar, a build-your-own sandwich bar, pizza, drinks, plus some other entrees and sides. Even breakfast cereal. Walt said the pizza was excellent. I stuck with a sandwich and salad and topped that off with cookies and capuccino for dessert. I think it merits a better plug in the program for next year, especially if the food court isn't open.




Special thanks to these major donors for help with the 2019 festival:
Washburn University

Jeff Rapsis has posted comments about this event on his "Silent Film Music" blog.

Visit Carol Yoho's photos of this 2019 KSFF, to be posted soon. [Carol constructed this page, photo collage and KSFF logo.]

Visit NitrateVille, a site run by Bruce Calvert, to read comments on the 2019 KSFF.



link to Capital-Journal article

23rd Annual Festival
— read the article published
in Topeka Capital-Journal,

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On-site work at Washburn University began on Wednesday when we transported stored items to White Concert Hall and hung out the banner. Washburn's facilities staff posted banners in all four quarters of compus. Musicians Marvin Faulwell, Bill Benningfield, Bob Keckeisen and, newly-arrived from Kansas City International Airport, Alloy Orchestra rehursed in the concert hall after supper on Thursday evening. Friday's set up included stage equipment set up, movie projection and accompaniment rehearsals. laying out displays of items for sales, including 23rd Anniversary t-shirts (in blue), LOTS of movie jewelry, DVDs, CDs. We set up two display cases of silent film collectibles, brought from Texas by silent film fan and 16mm projectionists for this occasion, Bruce Calvert and Jim Reed. Display posters were created by Our Fearless Leader: Bill Shaffer.

A comment about weather: we had snow nd cold to contend with. We always HOPE for signs of spring . The last weekend of February is our annually-appointmented event's date set with Washburn University for White Concert Hall...the only time of the year when the music department staff and students are away from Topeka and their auditorium is available for the long period we need to set-up.

Bill Shaffer determines our ladder is too shortKarl Mischler climbs a taller ladderKSFF banner is hung!Snow arrived soon after banners were posted at the four corners of Washburn U. campus

Thursday Night Rehursals:
Marvin Faulwell sets up the organ on Thursday evening3 musicians prepare to accompany moviesWhite Concert Hall organ foot peddlesMarvin Faulwell practices while Bill Beningfield assists with set-upBob Keckeisen and Bill Shaffer watch projection set-upBob's bell and drumsticksBob's various drumsAlloy Orchestra starts set-up after arriving on Thursday eveningConcert organ pipesAlloy Orchestra percussionRoger C. MIller on keyboard, Terry Donahue with percussionTerry Donahue and Ken Winokur on percussion -ATerry Donahue and Ken Winokur on percussion -BAlloy's set-upStaff Nancy Lawrence, Melanie Lawrence, Bill Shaffer and Brian SandersKSFF staff take a break from set-up work: Karl Micheler, Bill Shaffer and Brian Sanders

Friday Afternoon Lobby Set-up:
Kansas Silent Film Festival display logo Podium display case is set upMelanie Lawrence oversaw set-up of silent era film star jewelry, made available for saleNew jewelry acquired by Jane BartholomewPoster display of Laurel and Hardy, used on Saturday eveningFor sale: movies with musical accompaniment by Ben ModelFor sale: music by Alloy Orchestra plus two desgins of t-shirtsFor sale: silent films provided by Bill ShafferPoster and displays, SW corner of White Concert Hall lobbyLooking at lobby display case from staircase aboveDisplay materials provided by Bruce Calvert ADisplay materials provided by Bruce Calvert BFreebies on Pick-up table

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On-stage Talent Film Historian Denise Morrison introduced our films from the stage. Live music was provided this year by Jeff Rapsis (piano), Marvin Faulwell (organ), Bob Keckeisen (percussion), and Bill Beningfield (organ). Festival director Bill Shaffer introduced the Saturday morning schedule. Karl Mischler of New York City, took event photos when not on stage running DVD projection. Guests from Texas Jim Reid and Bruce Calvert assisted the festival by running projection for a 16mm movie shown on film. Our special guest was Ben Model, musician and researcher, speaking at our Cinema Dinner and introducing Saturday evening's showing of When Knighthood Was Iin Flower and then played the organ accompaniment for that feature. Ben also played piano accompaniment for that film for one unscheduled film shown on Saturday early afternoon, Harold Lloyd's Number, Please?.

Denise Morrison itroduces a film to be shownMarvin Faulwell, organ, and Bob Keckeisen, percussionBob and Marvin step aside to take a bowAlloy rhythm had this photographer (Carol) shaken!Alloy Orchestra onstageAlloy Orchestra, making adjustmentsAlloy Orchestra takes a bowLive music on-stage ABill Beningfield stand by the White Concert Hall organBob Keckeisen, percussion, and Marvin Faulwell, organBob Keckeisen and Marvin Faulwell take a bowDenise Morrison introduces a Saturday evening filmFestival guest Ben Model speaks to the audienceBen Model leaves the organ after playing accompaniment to When Knighthood Was in FlowerFinal musican bows for Jeff Rapsis, Ben Model, Marvin Faulwell, Bill Beningfield and Bob Keckeisen

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The Event In the concert hall Jim Reid and Bruce Calvert served as 16mm film projectionists. Lyle Waring is on Washburn University music department staff as Facility Technician II. He runs the concert hall and helps in every way with on-stage setup, sound and lighting for the entire duration of our festival. Karl Mischler ran DVD projection. Technicans helped us and our musical talent carry off our showing of fifteen movies and a film documentary over the period of Friday evening and all day on Saturday.

Bill Shaffer works with video projectorBill Shaffer and Mischler work with projection systemSign at SE corner of Wasbhrun University campusBob and Marvin accompany FrankensteinMarvin turns on lights for Alloy OrchestraDenise introduces MetropolisIntroducing MetropolisFictional city of the futureMetropolis (1927) - CMetropolis (1927) -DMetropolis (1927) - pic CMetropolis (1927) -FEStage from a distanceMetropolis (1927) -GHard Luck (1921)Venus of the South Seas (1924) -AVenus of the South Seas (1924) -BVenus of the South Seas (1924) -CHarold Lloyd from NUMBER PLEASE? (1920) -pic AHarold Lloyd from NUMBER PLEASE? (1920) -pic BEl Hotel Eléctrico (1908)Sign at SE corner of Wasbhrun University campusSign at SE corner of Wasbhrun University campusSign at SE corner of Wasbhrun University campusSign at SE corner of Wasbhrun University campusSign at SE corner of Wasbhrun University campus

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Lobby Activity Chatting, shopping, relaxing and sharing took place in the lobby of White Concert Hall, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas. Special thanks to Melanie Lawrence and Zandra Myrick for arranging tables, overseeing sales, and managing volunteer services. Steadfast fans attending yearly make planning and presenting each Kansas Silent Film Festival worth the work. We extend our thanks to the many fans from Kansas and states north, south, east and west across the U.S. All are welcome!

Tom wears his Keaton hatJeff Rapsis, musician, attended his 20th continuous KSFF from New HampshireJeff Rapsis noshes an appleVolunteer at the jewelry table shows products to a movie fan Melanie Lawrence is ready to banquetKarl Mischlertakes photos while Melanie Lawrence warms up inside her dinner outfitMelanie's dressy shoesBest part of the Metropolis robotLousie gets a hug from Larry>Saturday evening crowd____ with Bert, Richard and BillChecking out silent film merchandiseShopping for movies on DVDEEnid checks a purchaseBrain welcomes guestsChecking out jewelry and magnetsFans gather in the lobby_____. Jane Barthalomew and ___Zandra oversees lobby activityFan group includes Logan, Melanie's pet dogLousie Lassiter was in Topeka from St. Paul, MNLousie worn her very-soecuak /byster Jeatib earrings, necklace and braceletTom and Jane

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11th Annual Cinema Dinner At this eleventh annual Cinema Dinner attendees enjoyed good food, conversation and door prize give-aways. Special guest Ben Model spoke after dinner about "Undercranking: The Magic Behind the Slapstick." The event was well attended, with fans scurrying across the street from the White Concert Hall lobby—very convenient. The festival committee appreaciates the support of attendees of each festival's Cincema Dinner!

Buffet lineStaff brings out fresh helpingsSlicing roastLarry Stendabach takes photos from stairwayBuffet lineView from the curved staircaseJim Rhodes speaks with Ben ModelBill Shaffer chats with Mr. and Mrs. KeckeisenMusic by Erin Wood, harpist AMusic by Erin Wood, harpist BGood crowd AGood crowd BTable ATable BTable CTable DTable ELouise Langberg and her traveling companionSupper with Ben Model, Susan Farley, Washburn University President Jerry Farley, and Fred AppelhanzYummy dessertAfter-dinner speaker Ben ModelKSFF president Bill Shaffer welcomes dinersDoorprize crew includes Karl Mischler, Brian Sanders and Larry Stendebach with Bill ShafferBill Shaffer with book doorprizeBill Shaffer with book doorprizeBill Shaffer with book doorprizeBill Shaffer with book doorprizeBook doorprize winnerBill Shaffer with book doorprizeBrian with Laurel and Hardy pillowHi Stockwell, winner of Laurel and Hardy pillow, with Richard AlexanderLarry and Bill display photo doorprizesBill shows maskBill with more doorprizesBen Model begins his presentation -ABen Model begins his presentation -BBen Model begins his presentation -CBen Model begins his presentation -DPowerPoint presentation visual

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Staff Staff devoting their time and efforts for the 2019 23rd Annual Kansas Silent Film Festival were Denise Morrison, Bill Shaffer, Jane Bartholomew, Zandra Myrick, Carol Yoho, Melanie Lawrence, Nancy Lawrence. and Brian Sanders. Help coming from out-of-state includes Karl Mischler, Larry & Enid Stendebach, Bruce Calvert, and Jim Reid. Special thanks go to Washburn employees Brock Martin (manager of White Concert Hall) and Washburn maintenance staff (especially Mike Sershen). We depend on the talents of our musicians Ben Model, Jeff Rapsis, Marvin Faulwell, Bill Beningfield, Bob Kecksisen and Jeff Rapsis. And, as always, we extend special thanks to our festival initiator Jim Rhodes. Many thanks to our dedicated staff and assistants!

Bill Beningfield, musicianDenise Morrison, film introducer, with Jeff Rapsis, musicianNancy Lawrence, meal providerMelanie Lawrence,tables manager, and her dog, LoganKSFF founder Jim RhodesBill Shaffer, Our Fearless LeaderKarl Mischler, in Kansas from New York City, with his rented hauling van and cameraMusician Ben Model with Jim Reid, 16mm projectionistBrock Martin manages White Concert HallMike Sershen -A>Mike Sershen -BMike Sershen -CMike Sershen -DBruce Calvert, in Topeka from TexasThe goofy KSFF22Lobby staff — with Brian Sanders, Larry W Stendebach, Carol Yoho, Melanie Lawrence and Nancy LawrenceBill Beningfield, musicianMarvin Faulwell, musician Break-down team is Jane Bartholomew, Karl Mischler, Nancy Lawrence, Bill Shaffer, Carol Yoho, Brian Sanders, and (center) Melanie LawrenceHauling in stored materials are Bill Shaaffer, Carol Yoho, Karl Mischler and Jane BartholomewEnid Stendebach, ardworking volunteerLarry Stendebach, ardworking volunteerKarl Michler and Bill Shaffer

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Volunteers Melanie Lawrence is our Board of Directors Volunteer Chair. Melanie and the entire board would like to thank this year's volunteers who helped our staff by answering questions, selling merchandise, counting attendance arrivals, greeting fans and passing out programs. Thank you, 2019 KSFF volunteers!

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on billboard, radio & TV
On Friday morning KSFF Special Guests, members of Alloy Orchestra, appeared live on KANU Public Radio in Lawrence, KS. Included were Roger C. Miller, keyboardist; Terry Donahue, percussionist; and Ken Winokur, Director, percussionist and clarinetist. KSFF, Inc. president Bill Shafer was also at hand, as was festival photographer Karl E. Mischler Jr., in Kansas from New York City. Our thanks go to KANU for taking the time to help us promote the 23rd annual festival!

On Friday afternoon Alloy Orchestra members Terry Donahue, percussionist, and Ken Winokur, orchestra director and percussionist, appeareh with KSFF, Inc. president Bill Shaffer at WIBW Channel 13 live television in Topeka, KS. This local live program is know as "On the Red Couch." The program's host was Ralph Hipp.

Promotion on signs in Topeka
Billboard at 17th St. and Wamaker RoadAdvertising on Jayhawk Theatre billboard Billboard, 17th & Wanamaker, and on the new Jayhawk Theatre billboard.

On KANU Public Radio
Terry DonahueAudio equipmentRadio host, ____Ken Winokur and Roger C. Miller speak on the radioKANU Public Radio, Lawrence, KSOverview of the conversation -ARoger C. Miller speaksOverview of the conversation -B

On WIBW, Channel 13, Topeka: "On the Red Couch"
Bill Shaffer has a microphone attached to his sweaterSeated, left to right, are Ken Winokur, Terry Donahue and Bill ShafferKen, Terry, Bill and host Ralph HippChannel 13 Red Couch setVideo monitorChatting with Ralph Hipp -ABill Shaffer has a microphone attached to his sweater

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Meals on-the-go The many out-of-town guests, talent and helpers for this event meet early and late for special meals as the organized, set-up and, later, took down equipment, displayed items and merchandise made available for this event. Our thanks to all talent and helper for their efforts and comradery.

Supper on Thursday evening was at Blind Tiger BreweryTable-full of silent film fans at Blind Tiger BreweryBobo's menuAlloy Orchestra, just in from New York, with Karl MischlerKarl Mischler, with Irish cloverEnid and Larry Stendebach enjoy their lunch shakesMarvin enjoys his chocolate shakeMelanie Lawrence, Brian Sanders and Jim RhodesEnid and Larry Stendebach enjoy their lunch shakesSitting at the bar, Bobo's Drive-InKarie Bible talks with Alloy Orchestra guysBill Shaffer shows Ken Winokur and Terry Donahue of Alloy Orchestra his cell phoneBill with Terry, Ken and RogerLarry, Marvin, Carol and EnidBill Shaffer with Alloy Orchestra and Karl MischlerLunch in the rehearsal room, backstage White Concert HallKen Winokur has lunch before leaving for the airportAlloy Orchestra is Ken, Roger & Terry, but you can't see Ken Ben Model has some lunchJeff Rapsis plays grand piano at our Afterglow Party backstageStaff and musicians let go and relax after our event endsBen, Jeff and BrianYummy treats at Afterglow partyNancy Lawrence pours iced punchChatting at the endBrian points out the rat among 100 cats on a poster, Annie's PlaceSunday breakfast at Annie's Place, Gage CenterJim Reid Louise Langberg, Ben Model, Enid and Larry StendebachBen Model, ___, ___ and ___Denise's breakfast of bacon, eggs and toastCarol's breakfast of bacon and French toastBill Shaffer relaxes with hot chocolate at P.T.'s Coffee Shop near the Washburn campus on Monday morning

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Kansas Capitol Tour A new attendee this year was Karie Bible from Los Angeles. Karie is a huge fan of silent movies. In L.A. she gives cemetery tours and can point to graves of numerious people who had been involved in making early movies. Since she arrived early, she had time to tour the Kansas State Capitol building, including climbing to above the "False Dome," but chose not to climb to the top, where she could have stepped outdoors for a very high outdoor view of our Capital City. Topekan and KSFF staff member Carol Yoho accompanied Karie on this tour.


False domeNew Brown v. Board mural at the CapitolKarie stands in the room once used by the Kansas Supreme CourtKarie and other dome tour participantsTour participants view the steps leading to above the False domeTour guide speaks

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