British Silent Film Festival 2019: news and a call for papers

You love the British Silent Film Festival. I love the British Silent Film Festival. We all love the British Silent Film Festival. So I am delighted to share the good news that the British Silent Film Festival is back, back, back for 2019. The 20th British Silent Film Festival will run 12-15 September 2019 at the fantastic Phoenix in Leicester – so save the date, Silent Londoners. Will there be special events to mark that big round 20 number? I don’t know, but I hope so. The 2017 event was absolutely brilliant, so I have great expectations for this year.

There is more good news though. The British Silent Film Festival Symposium is also back this year, and will take place as usual at the Strand campus of King’s College London on 11 and 12 April. Fingers crossed there will be screenings as well as papers, as is now customary.

Registration for the symposium is not quite open yet, but this is the perfect time to submit a paper. Suggestions for accompanying screenings will all be welcomed and considered, and please note that the rubric is broader than you may have expected, covering “any aspect of film making and film going in Britain or across the British empire before 1930”.

Do get thinking, and share this call for papers with anyone you think might have a great presentation to offer the Symposium. Here are the details that you need:

BSFFS invites proposals for presentations on any aspect of film making and film going in Britain or across the British empire before 1930. Please submit abstracts under 300 words before 28th February 2019 to

  • Don’t forget to follow the British Silent Film Festival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop all year.
  • Mark your attendance at the British Silent Film Festival Symposium on Facebook here.
  • Visit the British Silent Film Festival website for reports from the 2017 festival and more.
  • Silent London will always be free to all readers. If you enjoy checking in with the site, including reports from silent film festivals, features and reviews, please consider shouting me a coffee on my Ko-Fi page.


7 thoughts on “British Silent Film Festival 2019: news and a call for papers”

  1. I’m seriously considering attending the festival this year. I live in Canada, but I try to visit London at least once every couple of years. Any idea when your screening schedule will be posted?

    1. Fantastic! Just to be clear on two things: I don’t run the festival, and it isn’t in London, but Leicester in the East Midlands. I think the schedule will be posted about a month or so before the event.

  2. And a comment from me, Stephen, early film historian. Leicester is a really nice city. Well, my mother was brought up there (in the 1930s) so I’m a bit biased. It is also the home – unknown to some people – of remarkable collections of books/journals on photography and local history. And then there is a significant Indian community who ensure that the food is great.

  3. The King’s event is equally worth attending, even if you get criticised by other ‘film historians’. I got flamed a couple of years ago along with Ian Christie and Tom Gunning. I don’t think that Ian or Tom or I need to defend our reputations, but I’m going to defend them anyway. Ian and Tom’s reputations speak for themselves: second to none in the world, I suggest. My own reputation is more hidden, but still fairly good, I claim. My database of items on early cinema is now up to some 26,000 entries, along with thousands of other computer and paper files. It is, quite simply, the most complete database of early cinema knowledge that has ever been created. And bear in mind, that does not mean knowledge about silent films to 1930; that means info about early cinema to about 1918.

    1. Hello

      Is there a way of accessing your amazing database?

      Finding information on early cinema between 1890’s and 1915 is a challenge

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