Saturday, June 29, 2013


Hello again everybody and welcome back to my coverage of the 16th ANNUAL BRONCHO BILLY SILENT FILM FESTIVAL! I'll be giving all of you the latest screenings at the festival. Providing the musical accompaniment was the always amazing Judy Rosenberg. So let's not waste anymore time and let's talk about Saturday morning's event!

At 11am the museum had author Gary Lee Parks give a slide show presentation entitled CLASSIC BAY AREA THEATERS. An avid theater lover, Parks gave us a tour of movie theater from all around the country, with many pictures of theaters located here in the Bay Area. One of the pictures shown was the old Jose Theater located in my hometown San Jose. The Jose is now the Improve Theater, the popular comedy club in the heart of Downtown SJ. I also saw a picture of the Golden State Theater in Monterey (I've seen several silent films there back in the day), plus theaters from Watsonville, Santa Cruz, Oakland, and of course, San Francisco. After his presentation, he had table set up where he signed several copies of his books.

At 12:30, our next speaker Professor Russell Merritt introduced the next segment of the morning: animation! However, he focused on the animation that was coming out from Europe. He spoke about Emile Reynaud, the forgotten pioneer of animation. He talked about how the animation from America was mostly based on comic strip characters like Felix the Cat or Koko the Clown, the European animators were creating experimental and avant garde animated short films that were really extraordinary. He screened two shorts and a main feature.

PAUVRE PIERROT (1892): This simple cartoon featuring a love triangle between two men who are both in love with the same woman. What really surprised me the most was that the short still exists! The cartoon is 121 years old! And it was cute and quite funny! It was just astounding to see history being screened right before my eyes! The film was directed by Emile Reynaud.

THE CAMERMAN'S REVENGE (1912): The titles sounds like a typical, rambunctious cartoon, full if slapstick and sight gags. However, in actuality, it's a stop motion animation short with dead insects being animated to walk around like people. Yes, it was crazy bizarre, but really funny to watch! Directed by Ladislas Starewicz, the short is also known as REVENGE OF THE KINEMATOGRAPH CAMERMAN.

After the two shorts, then introduced the main feature of the morning.

THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMEND (1926): Directed by Lotte Reinger, the film is considered a landmark film in the world of animation. Telling that tale of the beloved classic Arrabian Nights, the film was made in silhouette using animated puppets to tell the story. I had the opportunity to see the film years ago at the Castro Theatre during the San Francisco Silent Film festival and it was amazing to see the genius of the film again. Of course credit goes to Lotte Reinger, who animated a truly original work of art!

What a great morning program of films! Now I'll be back later on to talk about the afternoon show! Remember the Broncho Billy Film Festival is going on all this weekend! So make plans to attend this event! To purchase tickets and passes, view the festival's film schedule, and to become a member, visit the museum's official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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