Hippfest – Scotland’s ever-popular silent film festival centred around the historic Hippodrome cinema in Bo’Ness – has announced its 2024 programme, with a stellar line-up of silent films, many presented with live musical accompaniment, plus talks, workshops, behind-the-scenes tours of the cinema, an exhibition, and plentiful online material.
Among the vintage Hollywood stars on the festival’s big screen are Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Clara Bow, and Joan Crawford, and live appearances from musicians and silent film aficionados. This year focuses on connections with Scotland, alongside a host of world cinema including work from Ukraine and China, and plenty of silent comedy genius from giants Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton.
This year’s Platform Reels presentation on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway platform is an outdoor screening of hybrid-talkie thriller The Flying Scotsman (1929) set on the eponymous London-Edinburgh route, and notable for its dangerous stunt work and starring the steam locomotive of that name.
Launched in 2011, the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival, aka HippFest, has become a key annual event in the cultural and cinematic calendar, drawing audiences from across Scotland: it is a project of Falkirk Council and is supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and National Lottery funding from the BFI. The award-winning Hippodrome Cinema in Bo’ness is a stunning pre-art deco picture palace dating back to 1912, reopened in 2009 following major restoration.