The executive director of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is gearing up for the three-day, 12-movie event, which kicks off Friday with the 1927 comedy "The Kid Brother" and wraps up Sunday with "The Patsy."
How do you pick each year’s films? We’re really interested in films that people thought were lost and were rediscovered, so we try to get a couple of those into the festivals. ... We always try to get a few foreign films into the mix, or an actor or director we’ve never seen before.
What’s the vision for the festival? We’d eventually like to make it a longer festival, and we’d like to bring more international films to the festival. We recently started this free program called Amazing Tales from the Archives that focuses on film preservation.
What’s the program about? We bring archivists from around the world to talk about technique. This year, we’re starting a preservation fellowship where we bring a student to San Francisco, and she’s going to restore a short film that we will premiere at next year’s festival.
Is there live music at all the films? We have a pianist at some, the mighty Wurlitzer organ at some, and ensembles for some. ... The live element of silent film is so critical to the art form — it can’t be reproduced when you’re watching it at home on a TV.