The Silent Film Showcase has been a signature element of the Beloit International Film Festival since its inception. Sponsored by BMO Harris, the silent film along with live musical accompaniment, has drawn large audiences in Beloit and has been duplicated at other film festivals around the nation.
This year, BIFF is again joining forces with The Beloit Memorial High School Jazz Orchestra at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, for the screening of the historic comedy blockbuster The Cameraman, featuring Buster Keaton.
“Anybody who heard the impressive BMHS Jazz ensemble last year was very impressed,” notes Max Maiken, executive director of BIFF. “These students have brought recognition to Beloit with their outstanding performances around the country. It is a memorable experience to hear them perform the full music score, brilliantly synced to the film by director Chris Behrens. Their performance helps to create the feel one would have had in a first-run big city movie house in the 1920s.”
The Cameraman shows Buster Keaton at his peak and has been described as a “perfectly constructed comedy.” With Keaton both as co-director and star, the film was a huge success when released in 1928. In 2005 it was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
The film tells the story of a clumsy sidewalk photographer who is hopelessly in love with a woman working at MGM Studios. He trades in his tintype operation for a movie camera and sets out to impress the girl (and MGM) with his work.
The program will be presented at Beloit Memorial High School auditorium which offers adequate seating and convenient parking.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students of all ages. “Each year it is refreshing to watch generations of viewers come together, still finding that the wit and genius of film pioneers such as Buster Keaton has not been lost over the past 90 years,” says Maiken.
The Beloit International Film Festival, celebrating its 13th season, is sponsored by the Hendricks Group in association with Beloit College and with additional support provided by Visit Beloit. Support for the Festival comes from area businesses and civic organizations, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Individual support for BIFF is provided through membership in the BIFF Founders and the Film Society of Beloit.