Backlots at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Earlier this evening, I received confirmation that Backlots will be at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival as an official member of the press. This will be my third year at the festival, and it stands as one of my favorite festivals to cover. Held at San Francisco’s beautiful Castro Theatre, I find the ambiance to be perfect, and the programming and festival speakers to be of the highest quality of any film festival I have attended. I feel immensely privileged to be able to have this experience year after year.


This year’s lineup features some real treasures, including a presentation of the Rudolph Valentino classic The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as the opening night movie. Painstakingly restored by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill, the print comes directly from Brownlow’s Photoplay Productions and the screening promises to be quite an event. It is followed by an opening night party at the McRoskey Mattress Company down the street, which is an opportunity to mingle with other like-minded silent film fans in the glamorous upstairs room of McRoskey’s overlooking Market Street.

One of the things I love about the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is its attention to world cinema–it gives the audience a true smorgasbord of movies, a holistic and full approach to what the tradition of silent film means on a grand scale. Throughout the festival there will be movies from Sweden, the former U.S.S.R., China, and the UK, as well as ample opportunity to see American favorites and crowd-pleasers. The festival is presenting a newly found print of Ramona, and we will see the world premiere of a new restoration of Douglas Fairbanks’ The Good Bad Man, made possible by a collaboration between the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Cinematheque Francaise, and the Film Preservation Society.

Douglas Fairbanks in THE GOOD BAD MAN (1916).

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, this festival is not to be missed. Please visit their website at for tickets and more information. On my end, I will be live-tweeting during the festival and blogging every night, so be sure to tune in for live updates as they happen, beginning on May 29.

See you there!


6 responses to “Backlots at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

  1. I *will* be there and love the SF SFF for all the reasons you describe, as well as for the unparalleled audiences this festival draws. There’s nothing like going to the Castro Theatre on a beautiful sunny day and sit in the dark for six hours in a packed house of film fans. I’ll be at McRoskey’s too — always an excellent party!

  2. I’m so glad! We should meet up and say hi! 🙂

  3. vanessabuttino

    Oooh this sounds like a real treat! I’m looking forward to reading your coverage of the event!

  4. Let’s! I’m flying in that afternoon from DC, so I’ll be the disheveled, bleary-eyed lady watching the ukulele player.

  5. Ok! Let’s be in touch! My email address is on the site, and of course there’s always Twitter, so shoot me an email or a tweet when you’re in town and we’ll coordinate!

  6. Perfect! See you there.

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