Silent film festival Bo’ness’ Hippfest shortlisted for top UK art award

Hippfest was first hosted online last year.

And now the efforts of the team behind it have been recognized with a spot on the shortlist for Best Artistic Project in the National Campaign for the Arts’ Hearts for the Arts Awards 2022.

The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of local authorities who defend the arts through thick and thin – and Falkirk Council is the only one in Scotland to be recognised.

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Hippodrome, Bo’ness

The Falkirk Community Trust shortlist comes after the success of Hippfest 2021.

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It was Scotland’s first – and only – festival to commission and showcase silent films and live music.

In 2021, it launched its first live online edition featuring 10 shows with musical accompaniment; illustrated talks; virtual tours; as a cooking workshop; and 10 introductions recorded at several locations in and around the Falkirk region.

Hippodrome, Bo’ness

This event also featured live Q&A; a quiz on silent cinema; a chess tournament; and many guest-curated Spotify playlists.

The judges praised the work that went into creating Hippfest.

They said it was “a truly innovative program to promote engagement with cinema at a difficult time for cinemas around the world”.

And they added: “The number of platforms used, forums created and extras offered is magnificent to see and demonstrates a real desire to go above and beyond in the creation of this festival. The sense of community cohesion is very clear in the organization of the festival.

The news of the nomination also delighted the Hippfest team.

Lesley O’Hare, Head of Culture and Libraries at FCT, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for this award.

“After the festival was canceled just days before it went live in 2020, the team did everything they could to ensure our audience could still feel part of the festival experience in 2021 when we went online.

“HippFest is so much more than just a program of silent film screenings and the team has worked hard to keep our audience engaged online by providing a whole program of activities for them to take part in.”

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Gerald R. Schneider