Projects at Hippodrome Silent Film Festival in Bo’ness

All ages can participate in this festival of silent film with live music.
Alison Strauss, Arts Development Officer (Film and Media) and Director of Hippfest
The Hippodrome cinema was built in 1911 by Bo’ness cinematography pioneer Louis Dickson and designed by local architect Matthew Steele. It reopened in 2009 following a £2m refurbishment and is now run by Falkirk Council. The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival was started in 2011 and is Scotland’s only silent film festival.

The Festival runs a series of events to support marginalised audiences to attend the cinema, and is very active at engaging with the Falkirk community.

Young audiences

– programme, pricing and local media

Family-friendly and youth-friendly events in the 2018 programme included:

  • the Jeely Jar comedy double bill, Saving Sister Susie, and The Kid Reporter, priced at £6 (2-for-1 with clean jam jar and lid)
  • a green-screen photo booth workshop at the local Library
  • schools workshops
  • youth club workshops
  • Classical Indian Dance workshop
  • late-night horror double-bill (The Penalty, and Seven Footprints to Satan)
  • New Found Sound – a unique schools initiative inviting talented young people to respond musically to silent film, and
  • the Falkirk Champions Board filmmaking Project – supporting care experienced young people in the Falkirk area to make their own silent short film

We capitalised on the 2018 Year of Young People in Scotland, ensuring that the Festival was included in event listings highlighting specific activity aimed at a younger audience. Families of participants in New Found Sound were offered a reduced price ticket and there was significant feature coverage in the local press, over several weeks, about the project.

Members of the Falkirk Council, with supporting and legal responsibility for Falkirk Champions Board (care experienced young people), acted as advocates for the young filmmaking event and attended in large numbers.

For the first time HippFest partnered with Into Film, who ran three workshops on Technical Tricks of Victorian Cinema, two at Hippodrome and one in Bantaskin Primary School. Into Film employed animator Sharon Sorensen to deliver these workshops, which were supported by HippFest Producer and Volunteers.

The workshop introduced the children to early silent cinema clips (accompanied by Forrester Pyke on piano) which employed trick photography. They then made devices (thaumatropes, phénakisticope and flip books) which employ the same principle of persistence of vision. Most of the pupils had recently, or were about to study Victorians and/ or toys, so the event supported their learning.

  • Target: Increase no of attendees under 19yrs (target: Y1:5%) Achieved: 2%
  • Target: Increase no of attendees 20-30yrs (target: Y1:5%) Achieved: 6%

Note: these figures are from the general Audience Survey respondents and do not include figures for these other projects:

  • Youth Club Animation Workshops: 31
  • Falkirk Champions Board Filmmakers: 8
  • Library workshop: 36
  • Primary School Workshops: Tricks of Victorian Cinema: 139
  • New Found Sound composers: 8
  • New Found Sound accompanists: 40
  • New Found Sound at Falkirk Town Hall audience: 346

D/deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences

  • We provided BSL and electronic note-taking at four events, covering the spoken word and talks.
  • All HippFest promotional videos from 2018 onwards include subtitles.
  • 4.5% of respondents in our HippFest Audience Survey described themselves as ‘D/deaf or hard-of-hearing’. This was the first time we asked this specific question (previous questionnaires asked about disability in general terms).

Volunteers and staff

– under-represented groups

Volunteers were recruited through previous participants, Falkirk Community Trust, Creative Scotland, CSV, Volunteer Scotland. We had 18 volunteers in total.
Of these, there was a mixture of:

  • Those aged 70+ and aged under 20
  • Ethnically diverse including Asian, Asian British and South Asian
  • Those affected by physical or mental health problems or a disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months
  • Hard-of-hearing people

We achieved a balanced spread of ages with 11% under 20-years-old and a significant number under-represented groups.

Find out more about Youth Engagement at Hippodrome Silent Film Festival.

The Hippodrome is a year round cinema offering new releases and special events for all ages. The cinema will introduce captioned screenings of new release film titles from October 2018.