Mission: We believe the best way to truly appreciate the power and beauty of a silent film is by seeing it as it was meant to be seen: on the big screen with live musical accompaniment.
Programs: In 2017, the san francisco silent film festival celebrated its 22nd year exhibiting the artistry, diversity, and enduring value of silent movies. It was through silent films that the world first came to love movies and appreciate them as art. Silent films have influenced every generation of filmmakers and continue to inspire audiences nearly a century after they were created. Sfsff has engaged modern audiences by presenting silent-era films with live music performed by the most accomplished composers and musicians in the field, giving theaudience an opportunity to experience the extraordinary quality of live cinema.
our programming is a lively and thought-provoking mix of education and entertainment, which combines american classics, lesser-known gems, rare and/or recently restored films, and important international work. In addition to our annual four-day festival in may/ june, we present a winter event, and stage other events throughout the year. Sfsff has become an internationally renowned destination for filmmakers, scholars, and movie lovers with an annual attendance that has grown from 1,800 the first year to more than 22,000 in 2017. We have presented more than 297 rare and classic silent films including the first and only us screening in thirty years of abel gances napoleon, presented in a 5-1/2 hour restoration accompanied by a symphony orchestra conducted by composer carl davis.
we have published over 340 original essays by local writers and key figures in silent film history, preservation, and music, and we have supported film preservation efforts through the exhibition of major restorations, as well as by direct funding of restorations, and a fellowship for emerging archivists. The festival has commissioned new scores that have set a new standard for excellence in film accompaniment. Every year the festival brings authors, archivists, and filmmakers to the stage to help audiences appreciate the history, preservation and continuing influence and importance of these early works of cinema art.