2016 Denver Silent Film Festival at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Littleton




Festival to be held at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Littleton April 29 – May 1


Denver, CO – (February 16, 2016) – The Denver Silent Film Festival (DSFF) is pleased to announce its 2016 line-up to be held at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Littleton (7801 S. Santa Fe Dr.) Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1. Now in its fifth year, DSFF will feature films that range from epic to fantasy to comedy. Each screening, presented on actual film, will feature live music by renowned musicians including Donald Sosin, Hank Troy and The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. Tickets are on sale now here.

“Renowned archivist David Shepard and I have put together a selection of films that show off the astonishing range and artistry of silent film,” says Howie Movshovitz, director of DSFF. “It’s a total pleasure working with the remarkable staff and facilities of the Alamo Drafthouse, people who understand our uncompromising attitude toward presenting film as it should be presented.” Says Walter Chaw, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Littleton General Manager, “We’re so very proud to host this year’s Denver Silent Film Festival. I’ve long been an admirer of Howie in his roles as curator, educator and critic and this year’s selection is stellar. This partnership is a dream come true for us. Our mission is to save cinema. Every time we can partner with something like the DSFF, I feel like we’re honoring that mission.”

The festival will open April 29 at 7:00 p.m. with the epic 1925 production of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, directed by Fred Niblo and Charles Brabin and starring Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman and May McAvoy. The film will be accompanied by music from The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

Established in 2011, the Denver Silent Film Festival explores the broad spectrum of silent film by programming a thought-provoking mix of films from the great silent era of cinema. DSSF has joined an increasing number of worldwide celebrations of silent film to delight, entertain and, in the most elegant way, to educate its audience in this remarkable art form.

Ticket prices range from $5 to $15 per film. Weekend festival passes are available for $99.

FRIDAY, April 29

7:00 p.m. Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ (Fred Niblo and Charles Brabin, 1925, 143 minutes)

Ben-Hur is a genuine film epic, with big sets, literally hundreds of extras, horses, Roman soldiers, plus the justly famous chariot race (also filmed magnificently by William Wyler in 1959). The film is also an exuberant melodrama, marked by innocence, great injustice, high passions – and, of course ending with the Crucifixion.

SATURDAY, April 30

10:30 a.m. A conversation with David Shepard and the 2016 recipient of The Denver Silent Film Festival Career Achievement Award

12:30 p.m. Peter Pan (Herbert Brenon, 105 minutes)

This film is so light and evocative that it makes you believe the only way to film Peter Pan would be silent and in black and white. The story needs the poetry of silent film to reach the exquisite fantasy that J.M. Barrie imagined, and the film is endlessly ambiguous with its conflicting hints of romance and the need for mothers, its love of unrestrained youth and the demand that we grow up. With Mary Brian as Wendy, the great movie villain Ernest Torrence as Captain Hook (see Tol’able David), Virginia Brown Faire as Tinker and Betty Bronson as Peter. You will believe.

3:30 p.m. The Unholy Three (Tod Browning with Lon Chaney, 1925, 86 minutes)

Accompanied by the UCD Student Orchestra led by Donald Sosin

Superficially, The Unholy Three is a film about a jewel heist – a description that gets nowhere near what the film actually is and does. The trio of the title consists of Victor McLaglen as a carnival strongman, Harry Earles playing a midget disguised as a baby and Lon Chaney mostly disguised as an old woman. The sight of the three of them is unnerving, as is the film. Also with Mae Busch, an accomplice of sorts, but still a normal human being – just for contrast.

6:00 p.m. A Program of Short Comedies

His Wooden Wedding (Hal Roach/Charlie Chase, 1923, 20 minutes)

Bacon Grabbers (Hal Roach/Laurel and Hardy, 1929, 20 minutes)

Plus a special Buster Keaton Treat

8:00 p.m. Spies/Spione (Fritz Lang, 1928, 90 minutes)

Fritz Lang is one of the greatest filmmakers, yet he’s slowly being forgotten. He’s a director of intense focus. In Spione, just about everyone is a spy, so the film takes place in a world that’s entirely perverted by deceit, betrayal and struggle for power, and because the various organizations have no concrete identity, events can feel utterly out of control. Rudolf Klein-Rogge plays the arch-villain. Note his hairdo.


11:00 a.m. The Blot (Lois Weber, 1921, 80 minutes) and A House Divided (Alice Guy,

1913, 13 minutes)

Lois Weber, once one of the most highly regarded directors in America, took on tough subjects like poverty, birth control and – most of all – the lives of women. Unlike male filmmakers, Weber places action where her women characters spend their lives. She shows her characters on back porches, and in kitchens, parlors and food markets. In The Blot, the daughter of an impoverished college professor (Claire Windsor) is courted by a callow rich student (Louis Calhern). She tells him to come back when he becomes a better person. Alice Guy, the maker of A House Divided, began her career in France, and is the first director of any gender to be credited on screen.

1:30 p.m. Panel Discussion: The Eccentric Brilliance of Silent Comedy

3:30 p.m. Tol’able David (Henry King, 1921, 90 minutes)

In this rural fantasy, David (Richard Barthlemess) is no longer a boy but not yet an adult – he’s just “tol’able.” At the same time, he will be called upon to save the family and the farm from an evil gang. The great silent film villain, Ernest Torrence, plays the evilest of the evil ones.

6:00 p.m. New Silent Films by Students in the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver

8:00 p.m. The Phantom of the Opera (Rupert Julian, 1925)

This is the original of the now-famous story of perverse, obsessional love deep within the Paris opera, and it features Lon Chaney in perhaps his most famous role. The designers of the flamboyant stage production looked to the work of the film’s great art director Ben Carré. The film will be shown in 35mm with its magnificent two-strip Technicolor sequence of the masked ball.

For interview opportunities, please contact hmovshovitz@cs.com or 303-556-6507.


For inquiries regarding Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Littleton, contact alexandra.griesmer@drafthouse.com or 303-204-6785.



Tickets can be purchased at www.denversilentfilmfestival.org or www.drafthouse.com/denver









In the era of silent film, filmmakers first invented a new art form and then created a startling range of beloved masterpieces. Those films form the basis of cinema in the  present, as well as being great art and entertainment on their own. Understanding and appreciating silent film is crucial to knowing our own society and culture. The Denver Silent Film Festival is dedicated to celebrating this extraordinary body of film.



Alamo Drafthouse is an entertainment brand comprised of the acclaimed cinema-eatery chain, the largest genre film festival (Fantastic Fest) in the United States and a collectible art gallery (Mondo). Named “the best theater ever” by Time Magazine, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover’s oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star-studded special events.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will soon begin construction on a second location in Colorado in the Sloan’s Lake neighborhood.

More information about Alamo Drafthouse franchise opportunities are available on the official website www.drafthouse.com.

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