2020 KSFF movie collage

Denise Morrison, film commentator

Musical Accompaniment by:
Mont Alto
Motion Picture Orchestra
directed by Rodney Sauer
Marvin Faulwell, organ
Bill Beningfield, organ
Ben Model, piano
Cliff Retallick, piano
Bob Keckeisen, percussion

23rd Annual Kansas Silent Film Festival, February 26 & 27, 2021

Because of the international pandemic, our 2021 event was held virtually, online.

We post our Event Schedule here:

There was a LIVE festival
honoring the event in Topeka, KS,
held the last weekend in February, 2021 in Wilton, New Hampshire


Return to KSFF Welcome Page


2021 Virtual Festival Comments:

Richard Perske (Topeka, KS) wrote:
Loved it very much! Thanks

Elise Keeling (KC, MO) wrote:
Received the KSSF schedule in the mail. I watched last Sunday-good program. The silent film community have been so supportive throughout this past year-great group of folks. Thanks.

Keith Goering (Iola, KS) wrote:
 I've finally viewed the 2021 KSFF material. Your notice is appreciated.
   In the raffle scene of the Charlie CHASE flik there was "A ham for Mrs Ginsberg." Was this a deliberate kosher gag or was it accidental? (Deliberate, I’m sure)

Gladys Grisell (Topeka, KS) wrote:
Thank you for the update on KSFF. I will check it out. I am fine. I got my first covid shot. I am hoping this nightmare will soon be over.

Steve Richardson (Cawker City, KS) wrote:
Yes, I watched the Festival. Great Job! I did not know you had been recording the live events over the years. That was great planning.
I was still watching Saturday night and did not try to participate in the live (zoom) meeting. I loved the coming attraction slides (although the second set was a little too fast to read all the text on each slide). Great job, but am looking forward to celebrating 25 years—in person—next year.

Frank Scheide (Fayetteville, AR) wrote:
Enjoyed KSFF, Bill.  Thanks for the reminder!

Katie Pratt (Hollywood, CA) wrote:
Your online festival looks great. I’ll be sure to “attend” before everything goes off-line on Monday. I see you’re making the most of Vimeo, too. It’s a wonderful platform – so much better and far more secure than YouTube.

Jeff Rapsis (Bedford, NH) wrote:
We've enjoyed the films that were posted online for this year's virtual festival. Great job by everyone who pulled this programming together and made it available to a worldwide audience. I hope it helps increase awareness and appreciation of the Kansas festival.

Paul Post (Topeka, KS) wrote:
Hi Bill - we watched the Saturday show. It was great. We hope to go back and watch Friday. Count me in as a sponsor for next year.

Bill Rowland (Broken Arrow, OK) wrote:
Thanks for the note, Bill! I was in attendance Friday evening and shared the disappointment that technical issues precluded showing the second hour. But then I caught the rest of it along with Saturday's movies the next day and enjoyed the presentation. I also wrote down the PO box number so that when my retirement (check) comes in later this week, I can send a donation.

Bill Beningfield (Lawrence, KS) wrote:
I had looked at part 1, but haven't got back to the others yet. I do want to see, and hear, them. I'll do it for sure this week.

Karl Mischler, Mascot of the Midwest (New York City, NY) wrote:
Yes!!! I so far have survived my trip to New Hampshire!! Had a great time. But, not as good as the real Kansas!! I will check out the KSFF online and will wear my KSFF shirt as I watch. YES! YES! I hope and think it looks good the way things are going for us all to get to hang in Kansas come next year!!

Steve Hill (Receda, CA) wrote:
I really enjoyed the program. Heard about the KSFF online programming from the Newhallywood virtual fest.

Nancy Jewell (Wichita, KS) wrote:
My husband and I were at the festival in 2020. It was our last out of town fun trip before Covid. We thoroughly enjoyed the virtual festival this year.
Best Regards.

Rick Miller, Marie Dressler Foundation (Canada) wrote:
Hello from your Canadian friends.
   Congratulations to you, Denise, and your team for presenting an interesting virtual Festival this year.  I enjoyed the program virtually and we all share your sentiments that we miss meeting up to watch the movies together.
   We cancelled our 2020 Vintage Film Festival due to the health risks of COVID-19.  We will roll over the programming for this year.
   We are optimistic that with the timely rollout of the vaccines here in Canada that we will be able to host the 2021 Vintage Film Festival in mid September.
   We are also hard at work expanding Marie Dressler Museum to become "Canadian Women In Film" with permanent exhibitions for Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer as well as featuring other Canadian women past and present.

Gregory Brown (Columbia, MO) wrote:
Yes, I saw all of the program. It was a good recovery in a difficult time, and I appreciate the work that you and all the crew did to make it happen. I look forward to next year when things will be different, more "normal" in every way for everybody, in all ways. Thanks.

Kelly J. Kitchens Wickersham (Dallas, TX) wrote:
Kansas Silent Film Festival was our last in-person event last year before everything started canceling. Thank you all for the wonderful Festival you were able to put online This year! Here's to seeing you all in person in 2022. I missed being with all of you in person this year.

Rhoda Wisman (Topeka, KS) wrote:
The Silent Film Festival was wonderful. The movies came in very clear and the link worked perfectly. Of course, I miss seeing them on the big screen. Hoping next year. Take care.

Dave Krug (Topeka, KS) wrote:
Just finished watching the last of the 2021 Virtual KSFF. Bravo to all the volunteers and board members for pulling together this eclectic program. I really enjoyed the variety and appreciate all the performances both new and old. Thank you for sharing and we look forward to the 25th in person!

Amparo Rodriguez (Houston, TXs) wrote:
Thank you very much for making the 2021 Silent Film Festival happen. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to "attend" online during the pandemic.
  One observation...I was surprised that no announcement was made prior to the movie "Jack the Kisser" about the racist jokes that plague this movie, but there was a warning about violence towards animals in the movie "Simba". I understand the cultural and historic context of many of these silent films, but there is no excuse for the organization presenting these movies to show that they care more about animals than people of different races. The world is changing, I hope this can be corrected in the future. Thank you.

Carla Jo Bartunek (Irving, TX) wrote:
Congratulations on another superb film festival! I got to see most all of it Sunday when I had some free time. I saw Movie Night before with Hugh Hefner in Los Angeles what seems like 100 years ago. He met the little girl who was in the movie. Naturally, she was a little older when he was introduced to her. Watching the KSFF virtually was bittersweet. If I'm not mistaken, Denise seemed to get a little choked up when she introduced the film festival. I detected that she really missed it being live. I thought the film selections were wonderful.   Thanks for all the comedies. What were your favorite movies from this year's presentation?

Marcy Tintera (Lincoln, NB) wrote:
What an unusual film festival we had this year! Congratulations and much appreciation to all who chose the films shown and who arranged for the virtual presentations. As it turns out, my favorites this year were all shown on Friday (Those Awful Hats, Movie Night, and Nell Gwyn). As much as I enjoyed all the films, the experience would have been so much better in the White Concert Hall with silent movie fans all around me. Praying this virus mess is behind us this time next year so we can enjoy celebrating the KSFF 25th anniversary in style.

Phil Figgs (Sabetha, KS) shared:  
"Well, you've done it again! I am amazed, simply amazed! The Kansas Silent Film Festival lives on...and there is me (in the photo montage)! I remember it was so cold (in 2013) and there's me setting up and playing the Edison phono-player in the lobby. Oh, those were happy days and the woman in the film who copied Harold Lloyd from SAFETY LAST (Dorothy Devore in HOLD YOUR BREATH!, shown in the second half of the KSFF online event). She was wonderful! Oh (sighs), you all did it again! I love it! I love it and....it's simply perfect! Simply perfect! Loved hearing Marvin Faulwell and the Mont AltoI They were all so great! Thank you for thinking of me."

2021 Videotaping Intros:

Krew (Jane's term) was live (with masks) at White Concert Hall, Washburn University—both onstage and in the lobby. Gizmo Pictures' Jeff Carson and Jennifer Goetz capturing Denise Morrison introducting our virtual film lineup, with the help of KSFF board members Bill Shaffer, Brian Sanders, Melanie Lawrence and Jane Bartholomew (who grabbed the still photos of the action).

Entrance, White Concert Hall, in the February dark of nightKrew Denise Morrison, Brian Sanders, Melanie Lawrence, Bill Shaffer and Jane BartholomewJeff Carson and Jennifer Goetz with equipment from Gizmo PicturesBill Shaffer and Denise Morrisonscript for movie introJeff Carson, Gizmo Pictures, works with Bill Shaffer to capture video as Bill Shaffer watchesJeff captures an introduction from Denise Morrision as Brian Sanders and Melanie Lawrence watchAlong the south side of the White Concert Hall lobbyDenise Morrison's introductions are being videotaped ADenise Morrison's introductions are being videotaped BDenise Morrison's introductions are being videotaped CIn masks: Jane Bartholomew, Melanie Lawrence and Denise Morrison

2021 VIRTUAL Kansas Silent Film Festival Schedule:

Friday Night – 2/26/21 - starting at 7 pm CST online
Music Overture by Marvin Faulwell on organ
Welcome and Introduction to event by Denise Morrison

Those Awful Hats (1909) D.W. Griffith – 8 min.
          Introduction: Denise Morrison
          Music: Bill Beningfield on pianoThose Awful Hats

  • Used at the start of our 2005 program, this is a very short D. W. Griffith film that amounts to a Public Service spot advising ladies to please remove your hats inside the movie theatre….and there is a rather severe punishment if they do not!
Movie Night (1929) Charley Chase – 20 min.
          Introduction: Denise Morrison
          Music: Marvin Faulwell on organMovie Night
  • Slipped into our 2009 line-up as a surprise short, this little film is a reminder of the joys of Charley Chase in any and all of his fall-down funny comedy shorts. Here he tries to take the family out to a movie. Please take note of how many things have changed!

A Movie Star (1916) Mack Swain – 24 min.
          Introduction: Denise Morrison
          Music: Bill Beningfield on orgaMovie Starn

  • From KSFF # 19 in 2008, this Mack Swain short comedy came from Mack Sennett’s Keystone Studio and pokes fun at the whole movie-making and movie-going experience with Swain as a forlorn cowboy film star looking for love from an audience - any audience! 

Break: 5 minutes

Nell Gwyn (1926) w/ Dorothy Gish – 75 min.
          Introduction: Denise Morrison
          Music by Mont Alto Motion Picture OrchestraNell Gwyn

  • Shown as an afternoon feature at the KSFF in 2005, this feature film starring Dorothy Gish (Lillian Gish’s equally famous sister) as a street vendor who catches the eye of the king and tries to stay in that particular limelight contains one of the best music scores by the remarkable Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra!

Thank you and good night!

Saturday Night – 2/27/21 - starting at 7 pm CST online
Music Overture by Marvin Faulwell on organ
Welcome and Introduction to event by Denise Morrison & Bill Shaffer

Sailor Beware! (1927) w/ Billy Dooley – 14 min.
          Introduction: Denise Morrison 
          Music by Cliff Retallick on piano
           An Al Christie Comedy Short

  • Sailor BewareNever shown before at theKSFF, this short comedy was sent to us by the folks at Retroformat, a group who are attempting to stage ‘live’ silent film events in Hollywood. Billy Dooley stars as a clueless sailor (whose uniform is worn backwards), coming home to his girlfriend with an innocent gift - a pet guinea pig, resulting in mass confusion and public fear of contagion. This short was produced by the Al Christie Studio.

Hold Your Breath! (1924) Dorothy Devore – 45 min.
          Introduction by Denise Morrison
          Music by Cliff Retallick on piano
          An Al Christie Comedy Feature

  • Hold Your BreathOur second film from Retroformat is also new to us and stars Dorothy Devore, as a newspaper reporter out to prove herself in a feminist take on the ‘thrill comedy genre’ pioneered by Harold Lloyd with plenty of great footage of Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles.

Break: 5 minutes

Jack the Kisser (1907) – 8 min.
          Introduction by Denise Morrison
          Music by Ben Model on piano

  • Jack the Kisser, Edison StudioShown in 2008 at our 12th Festival, this slight comedy was produced by a pioneer of early cinema, Edwin S. Porter (who also produced The Great Train Robbery). This short film involves an energetic man who steals kisses from passing ladies until bystanders start a chase!

Simba (1928) w/ Martin & Osa Johnson - 70 min.
          Introduction by Denise Morrison
          Music by Marvin Faulwell on organ w/ Bob Keckeisen on percussion

  • Simba, Osa and Martin JohnsonRecorded at our 8th Annual KSFF in 2004, this feature documentary is a fascinating study of African wildlife made by Osa and Martin Johnson in the late 1920’s. The first explorers to take cameras into Africa and return, the Johnsons were a celebrated couple in their time and this is their only surviving silent feature film documentary.  

Final farewell + Thank you!

2021 Virtual Musicians:

Photos, from top, are Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Bill Beningfield, Marvin Faulwell, Jeff Rapsis, Ben Model, and Cliff Retallick. Most of our musicians have performed LIVE at White Concert Hall, but all 2021 movies were accompanied VIRTUALLY.

Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Bill Beningfield
Marvin FaulwellBob Keckeisen, percussion, with Marvin Faulwell, theatre organ Jeff RapsisBen ModelChris Retallick


Want to volunteer for our (hopefully LIVE) 2022 event at White Concert Hall, Washburn University, Topeka, KS?
Contact us at ksffvolunteer@gmail.com