Festivals 2020

NB.  Covid 19 restrictions have forced the cancellation or postponement of many silent film festivals worldwide.  As of August, some festivals are resuming albeit often on a more limited or on-line format.  



23 – 26 January – Slapstick Festival This will be the 16th annual edition of what is now the UK’s biggest celebration of silent and vintage screen comedy with lots of high profile guests introducing the films and all silent films accompanied by live music .    Watershed, Bristol Link


28 February – 17 MarchBorderlines Film Festival   The 18th  annual Borderlines Film Festival runs in the Shropshire, Hereford and Marches areas and screens some interesting silents, this year including The Golem (1920) and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1919) both with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  .  Various venuesLink


NB POSTPONED UNTIL 2021 —    18 – 22 March.HippFest –  Hippodrome Festival of Silent Film,   Scotland’s premier silent film festival, now in its tenth year, takes place in Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema, with a range of British and international silent films all with live musical accompaniment.   Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’ness, Scotland  Link


Postponed   British Silent Film Festival Symposium.A mix of presentations and silent screenings TBC Kings College, London  Link

NB.  FESTIVAL POSTPONED 18 – 19 April   Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend  A weekend of rare, rarely screened and high quality comedy moments.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth Link


NB.  FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL AUTUMN    5 – 17 May – Yorkshire Silent Film Festival   Now in its fourth year, having switched to an alternate year format, this festival promises a whole host of silent films spread all across the county of Yorkshire and all with live accompaniment.  Various venues TBC Link


Postponed   The Kennington Bioscope 6th Silent Film Weekend Going from strength to strength, this will be a quality programme not to be missed.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth Link


Postponed   Cinema Rediscovered The 5th annual event bringing the finest digital restorations, contemporary classics and film print rarities back where they belong – on the big screen, including a selection of silents.   Various cinemas across Bristol. Link


Postponed   Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend A weekend of rare, rarely screened and high quality comedy moments.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth Link


7 – 18 October   London Film Festival    Now in its 64rd year.  Probably only a smattering of silents, but usually a couple of high quality ones including a new restoration.  A Covid-19 affected festival this year will feature live and digital screenings with 50 virtual premieres. It will be an online-heavy edition with a streamlined film selection and only a handful of physical events.Various London locations.  Link

TBCCambridge Film Festival    Now in its 40th year (and the third longest running film festival in the UK) the Cambridge festival always features a strong silent film theme. Various Cambridge locationsLink




9 – 12 January – Netherlands Silent Film Festival  Now in its third year the only details so far are for the festival’s Slapstick Saturday, featuring L&H in Angora Love, Charley Chase in What Price Goofy and Harold Lloyd in Safety Last.  Festival director and lead accompanists is the excellent Daan van den Hurk  Pand P Eindhoven, Netherlands Link

15 – 19 January – Copenhagen Silent Film Festival  Wide ranging selection of American and European films with live musical accompaniment.  Films this year include City Girl (1930), The Parson’s Widow (1921), Filibus (1915) and The Polish Dancer (1911).  Musicians include Stephen Horne.  Danish Film Institute, Copenhagen Link


4 – 8 February   18th Karlsruhe Silent Film FestivalNow in its 20th year, this year’s screenings include German rarities such as The Girl from Acker Street (Das Mädchen aus der Ackerstraße, 1920), Backstairs (Hintertreppe, 1921)  and Genuine (1920) as well as more well known titles such as Mania (1918) with Pola Negri and eternal silent favourite The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1919)   Karlsruhe, Germany Link

14 – 16 February    Newhallywood Silent Film Festival      A new festival this year, with screenings of more than a dozen silent films including Mary Pickford’s Little Annie Rooney, The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks, and classic silent horror films The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The GolemWilliam S. Hart Park and Museum and other nearby locations, Newhall, California, USA  Link

20 February – 1 March   Berlin International Film Festival.Usually containing a strong element of silent film with this year’s retrospective focusing on the work of King Vidor, almost certainly including The Crowd (1928) and The Big Parade (1925).  There will also be a world premier of a new restoration of Paul Leni’s Waxworks (1924) Berlin, Germany  Link

28 29 FebruaryKansas Silent Film Festival In its 24th year the Kansas Silent Film Festival’s mission is to provide an entertaining and educational forum for silent films and it’s one of the few  festivals to do so for free. Screenings this year include Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood (1922),  the delicious Evelyn Brent in Underworld (1927), some early D W Griffith as well as Ramon Navarro and Norma Shearer romancing it up in Earnest Lubitsch’s The Student Prince of Old Heidelberg (1927).  All films come with live musical accompaniment including this year from The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra and pianist Jeff Rapsis.      White Concert Hall, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas   Link

26 Feb – 8 March  Dublin International Film Festival  Usually with a modest but quality silent film strand. Dublin, Ireland. Link



— NB.  POSTPONED UNTIL 2021–     3 – 6 April  Toronto Silent Film Festival Screenings this year include E A Dupont’s spectacular Moulin Rouge (1928), the wonderfully inventive Italian super-criminal melodrama Filibus (1915), the Tod Browning gangster melodrama Outside The Law (1920) plus a welcome opportunity to see the virtually forgotten Franco-Spanish circus based melodrama Gallery of Monsters (1924).  All films with live musical accompaniment.  The Revue Cinema and Roncesvalles United Church, Toronto, Canada Link

NB. CANCELLED – HOPE TO RE-SCHEDULE —    2 – 5 April 17th Polish Silent Film Festival (Święto Niemego Kina).      Kino Iluzjon, Warsaw, Poland Link

— NB.  POSTPONED UNTIL AUTUMN —    17 – 19 April  8th Loud Silents Film Festival  Finnish top-notch artists and internationally acclaimed silent film musicians compose new soundtracks for classic silent films.   Programme this year includes Filibus (1915), Salt For Svanetia (1930), Back To God’s Country (1919) and The Mark Of Zorro (1920).   Tampere, Finland  Link

— NB.  POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE —    3 – 5 AprilDenver Silent Film Festival      The Denver Silent Film Festival was established in September of 2010. It presents a broad spectrum of silent film by programming a lively and thought-provoking mix of educational and entertaining screenings, both. American and foreign classics, as well as lesser-known rarities and restored films.    Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Denver Link

— NB.  POSTPONED UNTIL 2021 —     29 April – 3 May San Francisco Silent Film Festival   Castro Theater, San Francisco, USA  Link


POSTPONED   Catalina Island Museum Silent Film Benefit. Recognized as one of the world’s longest running annual celebrations of Silent Film, now in its 33nd year and this year featuring the great Valentino in Blood and Sand.    Avalon Casino Theatre, Catalina Island, Calif. USA Link

Postponed Cinevent 2020 This is a gathering of fans of silent and early sound films, and of collectors of motion pictures and related items, now in its 52st year. Movie screenings take place nearly continually every day of the convention.  Dealers fill over a hundred tables full of film, video, sound recordings, posters, stills, lobby cards, books, autographs…everything imaginable associated with film.    Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, Columbus, Ohio, USALink

Postponed   The 7th Silent Film Festival In ThailandFeaturing an eclectic collection of quality titles Scala Cinema, BangkokLink


Postponed ?    The 7th Nitrate Picture Show This festival of film conservation  features screenings of vintage nitrate prints from international archives—including the Eastman Museum’s own collection—as well as lectures, workshops, and other opportunities to experience the art and science of film preservation, from print conservation to archival projection. “The Nitrate Picture Show is unlike any other festival of film preservation in that its ‘rules of the game’ are far more challenging—and often unpredictable,” said Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator, Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum. “Our selection is based primarily on the physical condition and on the pictorial beauty of the prints; the quality and reputation of the works themselves comes next.”    Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York, USA Link

Postponed?  Domitor Conference Not strictly speaking a film festival but this prestigious film conference features lots of silents screening.  Now in its 16th edition, this bi-annual event this year turns its attention to all that occurs behind the factory doors: that is, the crafts, trades, and techniques that, while not always represented on screen, shape our experience of it. Paris, France  Link

TBC   Nitrate Film Festival, Belgrade  Now in its 22st year this festival includes a considerable number of silent film screenings,  Few further details on festival programme or organisation.  Unable to find a festival link but further details apparently available from kinoteka.org.rs (in Serbian).

TBC   Mostly Lost 9.  Fancy going to a film festival where talking during the films is not only allowed but positively encouraged? Then Mostly Lost is the one for you, as the audience seek to put a name to unidentified fragments of silent and early sound film.  There are also quite a few complete films being screened….where its probably best not to talk!  Library of Congress, Packard Campus, Culpepper, Va USA  Link


Postponed to 25 – 31 August  20 – 28 July     34rd  Il Cinema Ritrovato  A festival dedicated to the rediscovery of rare and little-known films with a particular focus on the origins of cinema and the silent movie period. It is organised every summer by the Cineteca di Bologna and is one of the world’s major festivals of film restoration. Bologna, Italy  Link


14 – 16 August  Definitely On  Capitolfest– Capitolfest is Central New York’s premier summer Cinephile film festival—a place to see rarely-shown and newly-discovered films of the silent and early talkie era, held at the historic 1,788-seat movie palace, the Capitol Theatre, which opened in December, 1928. Tribute stars this year will be Constance and Joan Bennett.    Capitol Theater, Rome, New York, USA Link

6th – 16th August   Definitely On –    Bonn International Silent Film Festival.  Another long running festival, now in its 36th year, featuring outdoor screenings in the courtyard of Bonn University.  This year’s films include East And West (1923),  L’Argent (1928), Mälarpirater (1928), Wolf Lowery (1917),  The Student of Prague (1926) and Phantom of the Moulin Rouge (1925) .  Additionally, all films will be streamed on line shortly after their live screening.         University Courtyard, Bonn, Germany Link

Oslo Silent Film Festival No Further Details Now in its third year this festival features some classics all with live musical accompaniment from a largely Norwegian team of musicians.  Cinematekit, Oslo  No link yet

25 – 31 August    Definitely On  34rd  Il Cinema Ritrovato,   A festival dedicated to the rediscovery of rare and little-known films with a particular focus on the origins of cinema and the silent movie period. It is organised every summer by the Cineteca di Bologna and is one of the world’s major festivals of film restoration. In addition to live screenings in Bologna, this year most films will also be available to watch on-line for 24 hours after their live screening, accessible via a separate festival pass. Silent films being screened this year include American serial Ruth Of The Rockies (1920), Betty Balfour in Life Love and Happiness (1923) and Buster Keaton’s The Saphead (1920).   Bologna, Italy  Link

30 August – 1 September ? No Further Details  Manila International Silent Film Festival Now in its 14th year  all films accompanied live by local musicians.   Samsung Hall, SM Aura, Manilla Link

31 August – 6 September  Definitely On  Forssa Silent Film Festival   In its 21st year.  All films have live musical accompaniment and this year include Pola Negri in The Spanish Dancer (1923), Der Hund Von Baskerville (1929) and King Vidor’s Bardelys The Magnificent (1926).  Forssa, Finland  Link

Telluride Film Festival  Postponed until 2021This long-running (now in its 47th year) and star-studded festival usually has an interesting selection of silents.  Festival tradition is that the programme isn’t disclosed until the opening night so its all something of a surprise .  Telluride, Colorado, USA Link


3 – 5 September   Now On-Line  Cinecom Classic Film Festival   All films now screened via their website with silents including The Fourth Commandment (1927), Lorraine of the Lions (1926) and The Tin Ghost (1926).  With live musical accompaniment for most films.   Link

17 – 27 September Definitely On    First Wave Film Festival  – Now in its fifth year and focusing on films from the silent  and pre-war sound era the First Wave festival screens a broad range of films   Screenings come with live accompaniment by local musicians and a factual introduction.  Silents this year include Italian crime drama Filibus (1915), Australian melodrama The Man From kangaroo (1920) and Georgian   avant-garde slapstick silent comedy Chemi Bebia (My Grandmother, 1929) Vilnius/Kaunas, Lithuania Link or Link

25 – 27 September   Postponed until 2021     Marie Dressler Foundation – Vintage Film Festival   In 1992, a group of film enthusiasts involved in the restoration of the Marie Dressler house had a wild idea. Why not hold a festival showing the films in which Marie Dressler had starred? This seemingly fantastic idea grew into the present form in which they show a variety of films generally made before about 55-60 years ago, often, although not always, including a film starring Marie Dressler.  This year’s theme is ‘Based on a true story’.     Capitol Theater, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada  Link


3 – 10 October On-Line Festival Only  39th Pordenone Silent Film Festival   Running since 1982 as a collaborative effort between La Cineteca del Friuli in Gemona and the Cinemazero filmclub in Pordenone, the Giornate del Cinema Muto, aka Pordenone Silent Film Festival, has established itself as the leading international event dedicated to the preservation, diffusion, and study of the first thirty years of cinema.   Cinema Verdi, Pordenone, Italy  Link

9 – 11 October   Rescheduled from April   8th Loud Silents Film Festival  Finnish top-notch artists and internationally acclaimed silent film musicians compose new soundtracks for classic silent films.   Programme this year includes Filibus (1915), Salt For Svanetia (1930), Back To God’s Country (1919) and The Mark Of Zorro (1920).   Helsinki, Finland  Link


24 – 28 November   Mexico International Festival Of Silent Film   Now in its 5th year, the emphasis appears to be on new silent films.   Puebla, Mexico Link (In Spanish)