Shakespeare Lives at 10th International Silent Film Festival

Friday 05 August 2016


The British Council in the Philippines will be opening the 10th International Silent Film Festival this 25 August at Shangri-la Plaza with Play On! Silent Shakespeare, a 2016 compilation of Silent Shakespeare films from the British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive. Tago Jazz Collective will be doing a live musical score of the film.

Shakespeare compilation includes King John, the world’s earliest surviving Shakespeare adaptation released in 1899 and directed by William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson and Walter Pfeffer Dando. The compilation also includes extracts from early versions of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III as well as the cartoon parodies of Shakespeare’s plays by the British animation pioneer Anson Dyer—scenes from the earliest surviving Shakespeare adaptations on film with several titles untouched for decades. Play On! Silent Shakespeare, scheduled for a 19.30 screening on 25 August, pays homage to works of William Shakespeare, as the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of his death this 2016. 

“We are delighted to take part in this festival for the first time and, in the year in which we are celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare’s life, to be able to share some historic early film adaptations of his work with audiences in the Philippines,” said Nicholas Thomas, Country Director of the British Council.

Dickson, one half of the production of King John, was a Scottish inventor who worked under Thomas Alva Edison and credited for the development of the 35mm format still in use today, by trimming and perforating Kodak Eastman’s 70mm film stock. Dickson was also known to have helped with Edison’s film productions, eventually producing some 500 films of his own. He is also credited to have produced the first-ever film with live-recorded music, dated 1894.  

The International Silent Film Festival, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, will also be featuring films from eight other countries. Joining the film festival are the Philippine-Italian Association, the Japan Foundation Manila, Goethe-Institut Philippen, Instituto Cervantes, Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Embassies of the United States of America, France and Austria.

To celebrate this important festival milestone, the participating countries will be holding a lecture and an exhibition on silent cinema as a way to further enrich the programme. The exhibition will open on 16 August at the Grand Atrium of Shangri-la Plaza which will illustrate the ten-year journey of this unique festival.

The festival will run from 25-28 August at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri-la Plaza. Admission will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis. 

For screening schedules and other inquiries, please visit our website or the official International Silent Film Festival facebook page.



Tago Jazz Café is the only jazz club in the Philippines today. They have hosted numerous foreign and local jazz artists and produced recordings for some of the country's top musicians. This continuing collaboration is called "Tago Jazz Collective” where musicians showcase their skills through live performances. For the International Silent Film Festival, Tago Jazz Collective presents a quartet consisting of Pete Canzon (saxophone and flute), Ryan Villamor (keyboards and harp), Bergan Nuñez (bass) and Nelson Gonzales (drums). Pete Canzon is a living legend and has been in the music industry for over three decades. Ryan is a devout jazz pianist who is also a Harp Therapy Practitioner Intern, playing music for the sick. Bergan is a versatile session bass player who has played with artists such as avant-garde Swiss drummer Christian Bucher. Nelson is an adaptive drummer and can play across the genres of jazz, funk, to heavy metal.