Scotland’s HippFest Silent Film Festival starts tomorrow, Wednesday March 17 through Sunday March 21. Hosted virtually this year, the festival usually plays in Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema The Hippodrome in Bo’ness. The programs will be available through a new streaming platform called ‘INDY On Demand’ which allows you to enjoy the finest curated cinema from the comfort of your own home. You can purchase a INDY On Demand – HippFest pass HERE.
The HippFest program includes a half hour visual tour I prepared showcasing the cinematic history hidden within early film and vintage Hollywood photos. For example, this 1905 Hollywood photo shows the hotel where Charlie Chaplin would film his first feature length comedy in 1914, the campus where Judy Garland would later attend high school, and the future sites for Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and the Roosevelt Hotel, that would host the premiere Academy Awards ceremony.
Entitled Billie Ritchie’s Early Hollywood Footsteps, my documentary includes rare film clips over a century old, featuring Mary Pickford and Scotland’s own slapstick hero Billie Ritchie, Charlie Chaplin’s main rival in 1915. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how richly Billie’s few surviving films illustrate Hollywood’s earliest days.
This year the women of Hollywood are front and center, with Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks, and Mary Pickford all featuring in the star-studded program, featuring musicians from around the globe, and film introductions and post screening Q&As with noted film historians, along with a cook-along program, film quizzes, and even a chess contest to go along with the 1925 Moscow comedy Chess Fever. The festival closes with a restored screening of Mary Pickford’s Sparrows (1926). Here’s the full program above, and HippFest overview HERE.
Above, part of my program, Billie Ritchie in Father Was a Loafer (1915) at the corner of Western and Russell, with the same corner in 1906 (now a small strip mall). It was very satisfying putting this program together, and I hope you’ll consider supporting HippFest and watching my show, which begins streaming Sunday, March 21 at noon GMT (7:00 am PST). You can purchase Father Was a Loafer as part of Ben Model’s Undercrank Productions The Alice Howell Collection DVD release.
Please help support naming the Chaplin Keaton Lloyd alley in Hollywood by posting a review on Google Maps. Prototype alley sign design by noted Dutch graphic artist – Piet Schreuders. Download a 4-page brochure about the alley HERE. This video further explains the alley – if you can, please leave a thumbs up and share it with others.