News Column

IU Cinema new home to Slapsticon film festival

April 28, 2013

YellowBrix

April 28--BLOOMINGTON -- IU Cinema is the new home of Slapsticon, a four-day film festival dedicated to exhibiting rare silent and early sound film comedy.

Previously held in the Washington, D.C., area, the annual festival will take place June 27-30 on the IU campus. The festival will take place during the university's Summer Festival of the Arts.

"IU Cinema is very excited to host Slapsticon this summer," IU Cinema director Jon Vickers said. "It's a wonderful chance for audiences to see rare screenings from what many consider the golden age of film comedy. In addition, hosting the festival strengthens our relationships with film archives while offering a nice complement of family-friendly programming that aligns with the university's 113 Days of Art festivities."

The festival was created in 2003 and drew national attention in 2010 when it screened a previously unknown film featuring Charlie Chaplin. The 1914 film, "A Thief Catcher," was discovered at a yard sale and featured Chaplin's fourth appearance as a Keystone Cop.

Previous festivals have also premiered archival restorations of films previously thought lost by actors such as Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

The festival is programmed and hosted by Richard M. Roberts, a silent film and comedy historian. The festival relies on individual collections from around the world and the cooperation of numerous film archives.

This year's event at IU will premiere several new restorations including the 1926 comedy "Atta Boy," staring Monty Banks, and the 1929 British comedy "Would You Believe It?" starring Walter Forde.

There will also be rare material showcasing the Marx Brothers, including screenings of hard-to-find television appearances, promotional films, home movies and other footage.

Two pianists will accompany the silent comedies shown at Slapsticon: Philip Carli, house accompanist of the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y.; and Andrew Simpson of Washington, D.C.,-based Catholic University, who performs regularly at the Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper, Va., and the National Gallery of Art. Carli and Simpson are both alumni of Indiana University.

A festival schedule and other information are available on the Slapsticon website, http://slapsticon.org/.

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(c)2013 the Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.)

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