I’ve had so many memorable experiences at the festival it’s hard to pick just one. Interviewing William Wyler’s three daughters on stage before the 2010 screening of The Shakedown is hard to top, but the one that springs to mind is the 2016 showing of Varieté with the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra students playing their original score. I had missed their SFSFF debut so I had no expectations, and I hadn’t seen E.A. Dupont’s film since I was a kid. The movie was even better than I recalled, the restoration was breathtaking, and the music was magnificent. When it was over the audience leapt to its feet; you could feel the excitement in the theater. It was hard to tell who was more emotional, the young composers or the crowd.
Prolific critic and film historian Leonard Maltin is best known for his popular movie guides.