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June 8, 2004 > Broncho Billy Film Festival Returns to Niles

Broncho Billy Film Festival Returns to Niles

by Arathi Satish

The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum (NESFM) presents the 7th Annual Broncho Billy Film Festival on June 18, 19, and 20, 2004. This organization is dedicated to providing a safe haven for collections of historical artifacts and movie memorabilia, especially those relating to the former Essanay Film Manufacturing Company of Niles and silent film production in the greater Bay Area. Most months of the year, NESFM sponsors a film showing from the silent era, yet June is a special month, reserved for the festival; this year, called "3 Derbys & a Porkpie" featuring Broncho Billy, Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin.

Friday, June 18

Local balladeer Michael McNevin will open the event at a free "social get-together" reception at Niles Theater from 5:30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. A slide talk by John Bengtson on Buster Keaton film locations from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. will be followed by a showing of Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928) and Daydreams (1922) with Bruce Loeb at the piano.

Saturday, June 19

A morning of Broncho Billy films is scheduled for Saturday. David Kiehn hosts "Movies Made in Niles" and Molly Axtman provides piano accompaniment for Broncho Billy's Last Hold-up (Niles August 1912) Broncho Billy and the Rustlers Child (Niles April 1913) Broncho Billy's Heart (Niles November 1912) Broncho Billy and the Schoolmistress (San Rafael February 1912) Broncho Billy Steps In (Niles August 1915)

The afternoon begins with Richard Roberts "Chaplin Imitators & Imitations"
Partners in Crime (1914), Love & Vengeance (1914), Mabel at the Wheel (1914), The Stranger (1918), All is Lost (1923). Jon Mirsalis will accompany on the piano.

Later, Richard Bann's "Salute to Laurel & Hardy" will precede Laurel and Hardy films with David Loeb at the piano. Movies include: Lucky Dog (Sunkist Comedy Series, 1917), Battle of the Century (Hal Roach 1927), Two Tars (Hal Roach 1928), Brats (Hal Roach Talkie 1930).

Free and open to the public, Outdoor Film Festival Fun (hint: have you ever seen a "pie fight" up close and personal?) along with East Bay Symphonic Band, has been planned for 4:45 p.m.

Evening festivities include celebrity introductions and awards followed by the classic film, The Iron Mask (1929) w/Douglas Fairbanks & Belle Bennett.

Sunday, June 20
The festival will continue on Sunday with Bud Lesser and a "Salute to Film Pioneer Sol Lesser" and a showing of Oliver Twist (First National 1922) w/Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney Sr. Jon Mirsalis will accompany on piano.
Afternoon and evening activities will include: Bob Birchard discussing Western Film and viewing of Girl of the Golden West (Cecil B. DeMille 1915) w/House Peters & Theodore Roberts plus a Hollywood Short. Jon Mirsalis will accompany on piano.

A roundtable discussion will discuss the era of silent films and the festival will close with the showing of Three Bad Men (John Ford 1926) w/George O'Brien & Olive Borden (Bruce Loeb/Piano).

Broncho Billy Film Festival
June 18, 19, 20
Niles Hall, 37270 Niles Boulevard, Fremont

For event schedule and prices and more information, visit or call Dorothy Bradley at (510) 796-1940.

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