Shows & Happenings

Silent Films, with a Modern Twist

Silent Films, with a Modern Twist
Top Photo: Kjwan's Inky de Dios, The Dawn's Buddy Zabala and Sancho Sanchez
Bottom Left photo: The Dawn's JB Leonor and Jett Pangan
Bottom Right photo: The Executives' Butch Silverio and Butch Roxas

When we hear the term "silent film", what comes into mind is that we watch movies that contain moving pictures and no sound at all.

Although silent films have been a dying format, with the United States Library of Congress reporting that around 70% of these kind of films are considered lost back in 2013, it is important that we get to see and appreciate the silent film format.

With the 9th year of the Silent Film Festival (SFF), a one-of-a-kind film festival in Asia, old silent films from the early 1900s are brought back to life, with the help of musicians creating their own interpretation of these participating silent films through their respective musical styles.

Happening from August 27 to 30 at Shangri-la Cineplex, nine countries, which includes USA, Philippines, Austria, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Thailand, will be showcasing their share of silent films to movie enthusiasts.

Giving a modern interpretation

Accompanying these silent films are musicians, both local and foreign, which includes Pinoy rock bands The Dawn, Razorback, and Kjwan, Pinoy indie group Hidden Nikki, and Pinoy jazz ensemble The Executives. They are all tasked to give their modern interpretation to the silent films assigned to them.

During the press conference, participating musicians answered questions on how they will score the music for the silent films they will be working on. For The Dawn frontman Jett Pangan, whose group will be scoring Italian silent film “The Last Days of Pompeii”, the challenge of their role is that they act as the music narrators of the film.

Aside from celebrating their 30th year as musicians, Jett added that they love to do this as one of their original bandmates, founding member Teddy Diaz, would love such a project. “He [Teddy] is a theatrical guy, and he would definitely love these kind of projects,” Jett adds.

Razorback Manager Patrick Pulumbarit, whose group will be scoring American silent movie “Sunrise”, he noted that their scoring will be “loud and electric” giving the love-themed film a different interpretation. Kjwan keyboardist Inky de Dios, whose group will be scoring “Brides of Sulu” said they will give the love-themed movie a rock music feel as well, though with less of Kjwan’s trademark growling.

The bigger challenge in terms of scoring would belong to Hidden Nikki and Filipino Pianist Dingdong Fiel.

For Fiel’s group, who will be scoring Spanish silent film “Don Juan Tenorio”, said that creating a score for the 2 ½ hour-long film will be a challenge as it pressures them to create a score that is not boring to the audience.

For Hidden Nikki, the challenge lies on creating four different scores for the four Japanese silent films they are assigned to, which includes “Kokushi Muso”, “Wasei Kenka Tomodschi”, “Tokkan Kozo”, and “Ishikawa Goemon No Hoji”.

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Curious how these musicians will give their take on these silent films? Here’s the schedule on when the participating silent films will be showing:

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