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University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

University of Colorado Denver, Newsroom

Curtain falls on Silent Film Festival’s second year

Sophomore appearance a huge success

​By Amanda Heersink | University Communications

DENVER - The second annual Silent Film Festival was a huge success, just as last year’s was. The weekend showcased silent films spanning two decades.

Friday night kicked off the weekend with a sold-out gala. Event supporter Sue Ellen Goss said, “In a city that is so rich with culture and events like the ballet and plays; we now have the Silent Film Festival on the map.” She also noted the learning opportunity for "how the students are involved in this process and what they learn is so unique.”

The CU Denver College of Arts and Media (CAM)-sponsored festival is the only one in the world that involves students in presentation and management aspects of the event. Students collaborated with professional accompanists Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton to create an improvised musical score for the film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”

Sosin, resident pianist, Lincoln Center Film Society, said of the experience of working with students again, “This is a fantastically exciting experience.” In the festival's premier year, students were called on to create a unique score as well.

Todd Reid, orchestra instructor, CAM, said, “It is only the second year and people around the world already know about it.” 
Erin Hackel, vocal instructor, CAM, said, “It has been pretty intense for the students in rehearsals, but I think they are all really excited to finally perform.”

Laura Goodwin, interim dean of the College of Arts and Media said, “This is a remarkable and world-class event.”

This year’s festival honored French film restoration professional Serge Bromberg with a lifetime achievement award.

Bromberg said, “I am really honored to be here and receive this award.”

One of Bromberg’s greatest achievements in restoration was highlighted by his work on the film “Trip to the Moon.” Bromberg said of the process to restore the film, “’Trip to the Moon’ took me 12 years to restore, and it is only a 15-minute film.”

Also in attendance for this year’s festival was last year’s lifetime achievement award winner David Shepherd. Shepherd shared his two principles of film restoration: “The better the print is – the worse the actual movie is, and as soon as you compile a film from the very scraps – a full print will pop up.”

Bromberg gave some startling statistics about the world of silent film restoration. “About 70 percent of the silent films ever created are missing. For instance, in India, which produced the largest number of silent films, 17,000, only 22 have survived and of those 22 only nine are complete.”

Bromberg added, “We must restore the film, but we also must restore the audience, the habit has been completely lost.”