Coming to Niles

Good stuff coming to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.

On Saturday, May 16, they’re screening Wings, the 1927 WWI fighter pilot story best remembered as winner of the first Best Picture Oscar (except that the award wasn’t called Best Picture at the time). But the event is much more than the Silent Film Museum showing the only silent film to win that Oscar.

They’ll have two screenings, each with a different pianist offering a different score. But in addition to music, each screening will feature sound effects performed live by Ben Burtt, the man who crafted the sound for Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Wall-e. (Read my report on another Burtt personal appearance.) A symposium between the two screenings will feature Burtt, and William Wellman, Jr., the son of Wings’ director.

The bad news: This won’t be your usual Niles $5 admission. A movie alone–matinee or evening show–will cost $35. The symposium, $20. Both together: $50. For Museum members, those prices are $$30, $15, and $40, respectively.)

The Museum will devote June to independent films old and new. No announced schedule, yet, but local documentary hero Les Blank will be in attendance. So will Alejandro Adams, with a screening of his excellent Around the Bay.

The last weekend of the month will be their usual Bronco Billy Silent Film Festival, this year devoted to–you guessed it–silent films.

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