Ever find yourself pining for the days of F.W. Murnau and D.W. Griffith? This week at the Hollywood Theater in Portland, young film makers from around the Pacific Northwest celebrated the 100th anniversary of the “Mighty Wurlitzer” theater organ by producing over 50 silent film shorts. The theater organ’s squealing melodies provided more than just an accompaniment –students based their videos on one of several 3-minute scores composed by organist Nathan Avakian. Genres varied, but silent film stalwarts like horror, slapstick and heist flicks dominated the screen. And don’t let the under 18 age limit fool you! These aren’t movies for little 2rd grade Beaver. Alongside delicate love stories are tales of murderous fortune tellers and armed bandits escaping from prison. In one film a boy finds himself in a world where everyone is suspended in time. Everyone, that is, except a young smirking little boy who seems to always lurk around the corner. Will he be able to find the little gremlin and figure out the mystery? The morbid ending elicited a mix of gasping and concerned harrumphing in the dark auditorium. Kids these days…
The festival’s winning submissions will be screened as part of the Rose Festival’s “From One Rose” event. Go see the crème de la crème of these students’ work on June 12 at 7pm at the Hollywood Theater!
The Youth Silent Film Festival is presented in collaboration with philanthropist Jon “JP” Palanuk, organist Nathan Avakian, Film Action Oregon, the Northwest Film Center, Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc., and the Columbia River Theatre Organ Society.
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