The Pordenone Silent Film Festival
is already looking at its 2018 edition, the 37th, that will take place from October 6 to 13. Artistic Director Jay Weissberg
reveals some of the future guidelines for the festival program, that will bet again on Scandinavia, with the second part of the excellent retrospective "The Swedish Challenge" (with another Carl Th. Dreyer's , Prästänkan
), and on Japan, with four films belonging to the saundo-ban genre, i.e. silent films that were released with a post-synchronized soundtrack. Among the protagonist of next year's edition, two great directors: Mario Bonnard
, with the recent restoration of his most important film, Der Kampf ums Matterhorn
, shot on the German mountains; and John Stahl
, who is at the core of a collaborative project with the Cinema Ritrovato, that in June will present the director's sound production, while Pordenone will show his silent films in October.
The richness of the 36th edition confirmed that silent cinema has still a lot to say to the present. The Director, who is programming the festival for the second year, aimed to develop this specific mission of the festival. Besides images of famous stars and immortal films, the big screen of the Teatro Verdi showed films that are less known, or that have even been ignored until now, although they represent important documents also from a historical point of view. Just to mention one example, the surprising An Unprecedented Campaign
by Mikhail Kaufman, a masterful film for its editing techniques, but also for the way it investigates the hidden aspects of the newborn USSR. It was also an unconventional way to celebrate the centenary of the October Revolution, besides the films on the Soviet travellers, and two American films on the 'red peril'. Another centenary that has been celebrated was that of the First World War with the section "The Effects of War."
The long queues for the sceenings confirms a strong interest from the general audience, and not only from the professionals. Most probably the Opening Film has strongly contributed to the success: King Vidor's The Crowd
was shown with a live musical score played by the Pordenone's Orchestra San Marco directed by Carl Davis. The Pre-Opening Film was Victor Sjostrom's The Wind
, accompanied live by the Zerorchestra and the Accademia d'Archi Arrigoni directed by Gunter Buchwald. Also this year, music played a key role in the festival, both thanks to local artists and musicians coming from abroad, such as the New York-based klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals, and the Anton Baibakov Collective from Kiev.
More than one thousand accredited professionals participated in the event. Among the foreigners, the majority comes for the United Kingdom (145) and the USA (129), but this year Australia is present as well with 5 delegates. Good numbers also from Japan, Central and South American, while among the Europeans we count a majority of Germans and French, but also an important turnout from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Besides the accreditations, the number of tickets that have been sold increased this year. The Opening and Closing screenings went sold-out as well as the Monday screening with Louise Brooks, the Wednesday screening with Pola Negri's Carmen
, and the Friday screening with the Vampire Theda Bara.
The festival registers an increasing interest among the younger audiences who don't see this cinema as something old and past, but as a form of art that anticipates trends, styles, and techniques. The winners of this year's prizes are young too: the Haghefilm-Selznick School Award went to Samuel B. Lane from New Mexico, and the FriulAdria Collegium Prize sponsored by Crédit Agricol FriulAdria went to Sebastian Koethe from Germany. The Jean Mitry Prize, almost a lifetime achievement Oscar for scholars who have excelled in the analysis of silent cinema, went to Richard Abel and John Libbey.
The festival works in close collaboration with the Italian cinematheques (Rome, Turin, Milan, and Bologna). More than 40 international institutions contributed to the program, including: Library of Congress - Washington, George Eastman Museum - Rochester, MoMA - New York, British Film Institute - London, Cinemathèque française, ECPAD and Lobster Films - Paris, Gosfilmofond - Moscow, RGAKFD - Krasnogorsk, Národni filmový archiv - Prague, Filmoteka Narodowa - Warsaw, Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Film Centre - Kiev, EYE Filmmuseum - Amsterdam, National Film Center - Tokyo.
Pordenone Silent Film Festival 2017 was supported by the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Cinema Office, the Municipality of Pordenone, the Province of Pordenone, the Pordenone Chamber of Commerce, the Friuli Foundation, with the collaboration of Crédit Agricole FriulAdria and PromoTurismo FVG Pordenone.