Picture House falls silent for festival

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Yorkshire Silent Film Festival rolls into Hebden Bridge with three special shows and a host of wonderful films

The 1920s single screen Hebden Bridge Picture House will host screenings to take place over three weekends, as part of a month-long celebration of silent cinema.

And the Hebden Bridge part of this county-wide festival begins with the first screening of Helen of Four Gates, on Sunday July 17 at 5pm (Doors 4.15pm) - a triumphant return to the town of an iconic locally-shot movie, that was once lost for 88 Years.

The film was significant in the history of cinema. Made by Cecil Hepworth, a pioneer of cinema, who wrote the first technical manual of cinematography and his earliest films include short films that are some of the earliest ever produced.

Local filmmaker Nick Wilding, who made Hebden Bridge, A 700 Year Story played a pivotal role in the story of the making of this 35mm print.

Nick found the daughter of the producer, Dorothy Willamson, and got permission for this copy to be made and the result is that it is now permanently kept in the archive of the British Film Institute.

Filmed in Calderdale, Helen of Four Gates will be screened with a live harp accompaniment by Elizabeth-Jane Baldry.

Nick has been asked to give a short introduction to the film and there will be a Q&A with him at the end about the Cecil Hepworth and the remarkable woman, who wrote the novel, Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, a Lancashire mill girl and a feminist activist with a passionate belief in social justice.

Also available will be the newly published novel of ‘Helen of Four Gates’, described as a dark and gothic romance, with a fascinating introduction by Pamela Fox. This will be sold at the event for a one-off third of its retail price.

The following weekend sees the Silent Film Comedy Triple Bill, including Charlie Chaplin in Easy Street, on Saturday, July 23 at 2pm (Doors 1.15pm).

Once again there will be a live accompaniment and children’will be able to see this for just £1.

Finally, to close the festival on Saturday, July 30, Fritz Lang’s classic drama Metropolis will be shown with live piano accompaniment by Jonathan Best (Doors 3.45pm).

This gripping and unforgettable film is the first great science fiction movie and an experience audiences will not forget.

Tickets are available online via www.hebdenbridgepicturehouse.co.uk/live-events/ysff and a special offer is available for the advance sale of all three screenings.