by Julie Lindow
One would never expect such real-life horror to happen at the gorgeous, historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. That fateful night, I was slinging candy and popcorn. The air was thick with that hot buttery scent as I salted the last bag of popcorn and patrons scurried into the theater. The manager clunked the heavy double doors closed. The calm after the storm. It was also the calm before the storm of Hallows’ Eve that was a few nights off.
By Gary Meyer
One of the challenges for any film festival is finding the perfect opening night movie.
A curator wants a terrific movie first but also it must be a crowd pleaser— Not too experimental or heavily political. You don’t want to alienate the opening night audience who may not be as adventurous as those attending many other movies during the event. They need to leave the theater in a good mood and hopefully want to return for more shows. But you want it to be a movie that also means something to people and leaves them thinking as well as entertained.
Opening Night photo by Pat Mazzera
by Gary Meyer
Of the many film festivals I enjoy each year, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is certainly one of my favorites. I love the fact that the Festival Directors, Anita Monga and Stacey Wisnia, curate my experience. There is only one film playing at a time and all are at the mighty Castro Theatre accompanied by wonderful live music.
You come in the morning for a 10am show and stay until after the sun goes down…most likely around 11pm. A community develops where you run into friends you haven’t seen in years and make lots of new friends waiting in line (to get in, to buy food or use the rest rooms) or while sitting in the theater before the show starts. As the festival progresses through its five days you realize that this is the closest thing to a movie summer camp.
Bring family and friends, especially those who have never seen a silent film on the big screen with live music and a lively audience. They will become converts.
by Gary Meyer
I will never forget the day. June 19, 1968.