San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2018: The Mighty Recap

Now that I’m home from California, here is my recap of this year’s fabulous festival! Fun fact: portions of this post were written while sitting at the bar of the Pig ‘N’ Whistle restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard, next door to Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre…not an office I get to use every day!

Opening Night Presentation: Wednesday, May 30

I arrived in San Francisco in the mid-afternoon of May 30th, and after doing a bit of sight-seeing among those windy hills (but no cable car-riding–drat those eternal lines!) I took one of those historic streetcars down to the Castro theater. Ah, beautiful Castro theater, how I’ve missed thee. After missing the 2017 fest, it felt “right” to finally be back.

The 23rd San Francisco Silent Film Festival began with a tribute to the late Frank Buxton, who had a lengthy and busy career in TV, movies, and radio (he was a writer on Happy Days and directed episodes of Mork and Mindy, to name a few things). He had been an indispensable member of the festival board, and it was clear how much he was already missed.

Then the lights went down, the great curtains parted to reveal the screen–I do love that quiet, magical moment of anticipation–and the 5-day festival of beautiful restorations and the world’s finest live accompaniment had begun!

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My Time At The San Francisco Silent Film Festival

So awhile back, when I was planning a trip to San Francisco with two of my best friends, little did I expect that the dates we chose would just happen to coincide with a very cool event. Which event? Why, nothing less than one of the very best silent film festivals this planet has to offer–the San Francisco Silent Film Festival!

Once I knew this, I just had to go, because A) it was the SFSFF, and B) believe it or not, obsessive-early-film-watching me had never been to a silent film festival before. The closest I ever got were my occasional late night Keystone binges accompanied by cheesy popcorn. (Oh…and my numerous Comique binges. Also accompanied by cheesy popcorn.) I had feverishly sought out any elusive silents that played in theaters near me, but bona fide festivals always seemed to be held on the other side of the country.

Since me and my friends were going to be sight-seeing and creating lasting memories together and all that jazz, I decided to spend only a limited time at the festival. But that would be more than satisfactory. Continue reading