Pordenone Silent Film Festival

Pordenone Silent Film Festival
c/o La Cineteca del Friuli
Palazzo Gurisatti, via Bini 50
Gemona del Friuli - UD, Italy

Tel: +39 0432 980458
Fax: +39 0432 970542

Sat 6th Oct to Sat 13th Oct
Submission deadline: Fri 1st Jan 16

Sat 7th Oct to Sat 14th Oct
Submission deadline: Fri 1st Jan 16

Sat 1st Oct to Sat 8th Oct
Submission deadline: Fri 1st Jan 16

Festival Overview

is dedicated to the preservation, diffusion and study of the first thirty years of cinema.


Created in 1982 as a collaborative effort between La Cineteca del Friuli in Gemona and the Cinemazero filmclub in Pordenone, the Giornate del Cinema Muto, aka Pordenone Silent Film Festival, has established itself as the leading international event dedicated to the preservation, diffusion, and study of the first thirty years of cinema.

The first retrospective, focussing on French comedian Max Linder, was organized as a true labor of love, with a shoestring budget and an audience of eight patrons. Today, the screenings are attended by several hundreds of people from across the world, ranging from academics, archivists and critics to private enthusiasts and collectors, who gather for a weekly marathon of screenings.

From 1985 to 1998, the festival’s venue was the Cinema Verdi in Pordenone, a picture palace from the great post-war era of Italian cinema-going. Following the local authorities’ decision to demolish the Verdi, in 1999 the Giornate moved to the Teatro Zancanaro in Sacile (15 km from Pordenone), a well-equipped modern auditorium behind the older facade of a theatre which has been presenting films since 1911. In October 2007 the festival moved back to Pordenone and to the new Verdi theatre.

Since its inception, the Pordenone Silent Film Festival has covered all aspects of early film history, ranging from the classical Hollywood cinema to avant-garde and animation. “These gatherings,” write Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell in Film History: An Introduction, “have revolutionized the study of silent cinema... The Silent Film Festival has helped emphasize how crucial the preservation and availability of early films are to our knowledge of cinema history.”

Over the years of its existence, the festival has stimulated and assisted the process of recovering and restoring the film heritage, which is the vital role of the world’s film archives. Thanks to the extraordinary periodic meeting of expertise at the Giornate, lost films have been rediscovered, orphan reels have been identified, and chance personal encounters have led to restoration projects.

The quality of film presentation is enhanced by the music performed for each program. A staff of highly specialised pianists from different countries play improvised, original or contemporary music throughout the festival, while groups and full orchestras perform on special musical events. Daily lessons for aspiring silent film accompanists given by the Giornate's musicians - also testify to the importance of music to the festival.

Another annual festival feature is the Collegium, where twelve young people sit down with groups of experts in various fields of the study and techniques of film history and conservation.

An annual prize, the Jean Mitry Award, is given every year to scholars and archivists in recognition of their work in preserving, interpreting and promoting the silent film heritage.

The current prestige of the Silent Film Festival derives also from its books, programs and brochures, many of which are regarded today as basic reference works in the field.

The first festival director was Italian film historian Davide Turconi. From 1997 to 2015 the festival was directed by David Robinson, who is now Director Emeritus. The new director is Jay Weissberg, who works in close collaboration with president Livio Jacob and the other festival co-founders Paolo Cherchi Usai, Piero Colussi, Luciano De Giusti, Carlo Montanaro, Piera Patat.


The festival is non-competitive. An annual prize, the Jean Mitry Award, is given every year to scholars and archivists in recognition of their work in preserving, interpreting and promoting the silent film heritage. The first recipients were Kevin Brownlow and David Gill (1986), while the most recent winners are:
Lenny Borger & Adrienne Mancia (2015)
Susan E. Dalton & Paul Spehr (2014)
Aurelio de los Reyes & National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (2013)
Pierre Etaix & Virgilio Tosi (2012)
National Film Preservation Foundation & The New Zealand Film Archive (2011)
André Gaudreault & Riccardo Redi (2010)


Open to the public

No entries

There are no entry fees associated with this festival

Recent Festival News News
24th Aug 2016 2016 Pordenone Special Events  
Known festival contacts Contacts
Federica Dini
Giuliana Puppin
Press Office