2020 Festival Comments:
—CEO, Fans Created, LLC
Kudos to you and the team on another successful festival! It was a great line-up of films and Tracey Goessel was great. I'm already looking forward to the big 25th Anniversary event next year!
Want to volunteer for 2021? Contact us at email@example.com
—Cawker City, Kansas
I think it was the best attended Festival I can remember. (Perhaps the great weather helped a little, too). Can't wait until next year--the 25th Anniversary!
The 24th Annual Festival was a great success. It was wonderful to see so many people attend Friday evening and the crowd on Saturday was almost as large. A heartfelt THANK YOU for all who participated in the planning and execution of the event this year. We're looking forward to next year...the Silver Anniversary of the Kansas Silent Film Festival.
Katherine (Katie) Pratt
—Preservation Assoicates, Inc., Los Angeles, California
I can't tell you how much of a good time I had this weekend, and I know my sister and friend, Mandy and Allison, enjoyed themselves just as much. I agree that you should feel very proud and accomplished knowing you've created something as special as the KSFF. Things like that matter far more than money and position, I've always thought, which is why I hope the Biographs turn into something similar for me. Twenty-five years from now, maybe someone will watch one—with Mary Pickford in it—and think, I'm able to watch this, in part, because of that crazy Katie Pratt! I'm still on a cloud over the fact that people were coming up, shaking my hand, and thanking me Saturday.
—Bedford, New Hampshire,
Silent Film Accompanist
Thank you for the opportunity to do music for the two features I was asked to accompany. I really enjoy creating music to try to help the films connect with the festival audience.
SOUL OF THE BEAST looked better than I've ever seen it, and I loved hearing the audience react to it.
STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD HEIDELBERG was a highlight for me and a real pleasure. The integration of the singing was a spectacular bonus that turned the screening into a special occasion. Thank you!
I remain grateful that I'm able to contribute to the festival in this way. Doing music for silent film screenings has become an important outlet for me in general, and a craft I continue to work at. I sometimes joke that it's my therapy, but that's not entirely a joke!
And thank you and the committee for providing accommodations during the event. It's very generous of the festival and very much appreciated.
Great seeing you and the gang again, and I had a great time, as always. I'm now wearing my KSFF ball cap with pride. Which reminds me: Upon reflection, I wish I had bought a second cap to gift to my movie-buff uncle. Please let me know how much you need and I'll send a check for another.
Say hi to everybody. Looking forward (already) to next year!
I always have a good time at the festival, but I really had fun this last weekend. There more quite a few films that were new to me and Tracey was a good guest.
If you bring John Bengtson for a guest, he needs to do a presentation during the festival, not just during the Cinema Dinner
I am likely to be presenting my talk on vintage theater programs and the silent theater-going experience at the Library of Congress in June for Mostly Lost. I'll find out if I'm a speaker next week. I'll be happy to do it at the KSFF also.
I thought this year's festival went very well. Heard lots of positive comments on the films that were screened and the diversity of subject matter, stars, Tracey's presentations, etc. Kudos to everyone who worked so hard out front and behind the scenes. Can't wait for year 25!
The festival was AWESOME from EVERY angle! ...all 4 of us were totally delighted! You guys always do a great job, but this year had to be the best choice of movies ever. It is always good to see everyone! Once again, thank the volunteers for us for such a great job done! The welcoming smiles when you walk in the door just makes you feel so at home and sets the atmosphere for success! ...
Kudos to you all! Given the current problems in the world today, it is such a blessing that we were able to hold the event and those great memories will hold us in good stead as we shelter out the crisis! God bless you all! Looking forward to next year!
—Regular attendee/Donor from Texas
As far as improvements to the KSFF are concerned, my dad wants more buns at the dinner banquet. Or at least tell us one bun per person ahead of time. I would love to see the 1916 version of The Three Godfathers shown here. From what I have read, there are two silent versions of the movie both starring Harry Carey.
—Leader of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Ochestra
A lovely festival, as usual! Travel went smoothly, and I've got a lot of book-keeping to do today.
Thanks for taking care of all of us so well. I really do like the new Hyatt Place hotel: it had excellent rooms and very good breakfast. And thanks for bringing on the veggie options for our musicians, they were all very grateful for the consideration.
The only comment from the musicians was that Saturday did run pretty late. I think if you do such a long feature, maybe fewer shorts before it.
I've put next year on the calendar, Feb 27-28. Let us know details as you get ideas. Thanks again!
—Regular attendee/Donor from Prairie Village, Kansas
We enjoyed this year's festival very much. We saw all of the films, and, of course, the special presentation Saturday morning. The Speakers were a little hard to hear at times, especially Ms. Goessell. Otherwise, it was wonderful as always. The dinner Saturday night was better this year. Tell everyone good job. And be careful to wash your hands. Take care. —John and Kelley
Richard (Alex) Alexander
—Regular attendee/Donor from Topeka, Kansas
Saw all of the films and enjoyed it thoroughly. No suggestions; if it ain't broke, don't fix it. You have my support for the next run which will be the 25th.
Many thanks for the meal inquiry. I have had that particular meal several times at the Topeka Symphony Orchestra dinners and it is a favorite of mine. Your extra effort is very much appreciated. See you for the 25th anniversary run.
—Organist for all of the KSFF events
You and your crew are getting very good at doing this festival. My only concern is the cost of travel. Perhaps local experts is a way to go. Denise gave me more information in five minutes on Doug and Mary than Tracey did the whole time. Have a good wrap-up meeting.
Congratulations on another successful and well run KSFF Festival! I'm not a real silent film buff like you and Denise. The publicity was great. Would you please give my major thanks to everyone on the staff who also helped to make this possible?
Special thanks to these major donors for help with the 2020 festival:
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On-site work at Washburn University began on Wednesday when we transported stored items to White Concert Hall. Washburn's facilities staff posted banners in all four quarters of campus.
Friday's set up included stage equipment set up, movie projection and accompaniment rehearsals. laying out displays of items for sale in the White Concert Hall lobby, including 24th Anniversary t-shirts (in green), movie jewelry, DVDs, and CDs.
Bruce Calvert and Jim Reed brought silent film collectibles from Texas to use in a display case, and set up 16mm projection equipment for use at this occasion. Our second case displayed silent auction items. Display posters were created and displayed by Our Fearless Leader: Bill Shaffer.
A comment about weather: we had mild weather this year and offered a full day of free fun on Saturday, February 29, 2020: LEAP YEAR DAY. Our Friday evening performance entertained over 500 people. More than 250 attended Saturday's morning & afternoon events, and we had nearly 500 attendees again on Saturday night. We were pleased to complete this event PRIOR to facilities being shut down in March, due to the COVID-19 world pandemic.
Delivery & set-up of two antique film projectors, shared by Kenneth Filardo of Eudora, Kansas:
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||Film Historian Denise Morrison introduced our films from the stage. Live music was provided this year by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra and 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 several 16mm movies shown on film. Our special guest was Tracey Goessel, film historian and author. She introduced several short movies directed by D. W. Griffith and newly restored from paper copies of each film frame. She also spoke at our Cinema Dinner about the silent film career of Douglas Fairbanks, signed copies of her biography of Fairbanks, The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks, and introduced Saturday evening's showing of Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks.
Rehearsals make things happen:
A memorable event: On Saturday afternoon a group of male volunteers among our KSFF event staff volunteered to sing a German drinking song to enhance a party-scene in the showing of The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927), starring Ramon Novarro. They practiced the evening before and backstage prior the movie showing. The singing matched what was happening on the screen and worked well. The sad part is that they came back onstage at the ending of the movie, but we could not get the manager of lighting controls to turn up the light so the audience could see those who had participated in the dark. Luckily, the guys had another chance to take the stage and take a lighted bow before the end of the afternoon session. Male chorus singers included Bill Shaffer, Brian Sanders, Ragen Murray, Karl Mischler, Marvin Faulwell, Bill Beningfield, Larry Stendebach, Rodney Sauer and Bob Keckeisen. Singing, leading and accompanying the group was Jeff Rapsis.
YouTube video: KSFF Male Chorus (2020 performance)
Facebook video: KSFF Male Chorus Curtain Call (WITH LIGHTS!), by Mark Wickersham
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||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!
During Saturday afternoon break our special guest, Tracey Goessel, signed copies of her book in the lobby, and SOLD OUT of both hard-cover and paperback versions of The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks.
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|12th Annual Cinema Dinner
||At this twelvth annual Cinema Dinner attendees enjoyed good food, conversation and a few door prize give-aways. Music was performed by harpist Erin Wood. Special guest was film historian Tracey Goessel, who spoke after dinner about "The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks." The event was well attended. Our space was full, with fans scurrying across the street from the White Concert Hall lobby—very convenient. The festival committee appreciates the support of attendees of each festival's Cincema Dinner!
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||Staff devoted their time and efforts for the 2020 24th Annual Kansas Silent Film Festival. The KSFF board members included Denise Morrison, Bill Shaffer, Jane Bartholomew, Zandra Myrick, Carol Yoho, Melanie Lawrence, Nancy Lawrence, Brian Sanders and Ragen Murray. Help coming from out-of-state includes Karl Mischler, Larry & Enid Stendebach, Bruce Calvert, and Jim Reid (driving from Texas). Special thanks go to Washburn employees Brock Martin (manager of White Concert Hall) and Washburn maintenance staff (especially Mike Sershen and Michael D. Allen). We depend on the talents of our musicians Marvin Faulwell, Bill Beningfield, Bob Kecksisen, and Jeff Rapsis. Muscians flying to Kansas from other states included Jeff Rapsis (from New Hampshire) and the five members of Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (from Colorado, managed by Rodney Sauer). We also extend special thanks to our festival initiator Jim Rhodes. Many thanks to our dedicated staff and assistants!
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||Zandra Myrick is our Board of Directors Volunteer Chair. Zandra 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. Volunteers in 2020 included: Yvonne Channel, Dave Greim, Alex Grimes, Katie Hampton, Will Hartner, Eriko Hiranoi, Nate Lorenzen, Melanie Lawrence, Zandra Myrick, AJ Pfamatter, Dustin Pfamatter, Colin Roust, Westin Smith, Enid Stendebach, Kathy Woods, Jayne Baggs Varney, and Jennifer Yi. —Thank you, 2020 KSFF volunteers!
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|On Friday morning KSFF musical guests, members of Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, appeared live on KANU Public Radio in Lawrence, KS. KSFF, Inc. president Bill Shaffer was also at hand. Our thanks go to KANU for taking the time to help us promote the 24th annual festival!
On Friday afternoon our special guest, Tracey Goessel, appeared with KSFF, Inc. president Bill Shaffer, and film historian Denise Morrison, at WIBW Channel 13 live television in Topeka, KS. This local live program is known as "On the Red Couch." The program's host was Ralph Hipp. Red Counch event photos were taken by festival photographer Karl E. Mischler Jr., in Kansas from New York City.
Signs in Topeka: Billboard, 17th & Wanamaker, & Jayhawk Theatre marquee.
On WIBW, Channel 13, Topeka: "On the Red Couch"
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||The many out-of-town guests, talent and helpers for this event meet early and late for special meals as they organized, set-up and, later, took down equipment, displayed items and merchandise made available for this event. Our thanks to all talent and helpers for their efforts and comradery. Staff often meets for supper at Blind Tiger Brewery in south Topeka. A favorite eating spot on Friday Set-up Day is Topeka's Bobo's Drive-in. Space is limited, but burgers, shakes, fries, onion rings and pie are yummy!
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|Standard procedure is to clean up and haul everything away on Sunday after each festival. Weather continued to be mild, giving us hope that spring was on its way. We pulled everything together into the lobby of White Concert Hall, then used various vehicles to take it away. Much is stored in a rented storage unit at the edge of Topeka. This year we put away new silent-movie-star potential cut-outs made recemtly for use on the stage for the 2020 KSFF. Old cut-outs got ripped apart and, sadly, were tossed away. That is the reality of life...but silent stars live in our hearts and will be back in fresh form for the 2021 25th Annual Kansas Silent Film Festival.
PLEASE NOTE: We were pleased to have our festival for 2020 OVER before COVID-19 virus treats shut down Topeka, Kansas, the United States and the World. We are hunkered in place, with dear memories of the successful 2020 event and visiting face-to-face with our dear silent-movie-loving friends.
Hope to see eveyone -- plus MORE -- next February!
Before leaving the storage facility our staff had a brief, fun time tossing around a giant frisbee!
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