Department of Mass Communications hosts silent film performance

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Tomorrow, October 15, the Mass Communications Department is hosting the Nosferatu Silent Film Concert; A special Halloween event where classic, silent film and live musical entertainment will be combined.

Nosferatu was originally released in 1922 as an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The film did not originally obtain legal rights to Stoker’s story before the movie was made which created a messy lawsuit that resulted in most copies of Nosferatu being destroyed.

However, a few copies of Nosferatu survived and the film became a legend and is regarded today as a masterfully influential piece of cinematic history.

The band Invincible Czars will be providing all of the music for the event. Invincible Czars is a band based out of Austin that has been performing with different members since late 2002. They have written an original score for the Nosferatu film and have been performing it on tour.

Emily Binetti, Marketing Coordinator of the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communications, organized the event and asked the band to come perform.

Josh Robins, guitarist and band leader of Invincible Czars, talked about the band’s experience with playing silent films and how they have branched out to different locations over the years as the interest in silent film performances has grown and expanded.

“There just wasn’t an audience for this kind of thing outside of the bigger music towns like Austin, SF and Chicago back then,” Robins said. “It took Emily bringing these types of events to their cities for people to take interest.”

Nosferatu marks the seventh silent film that Invincible Czars has played for. Robins talked about why he thinks it is important to expose college students, and everyone for that matter, to these types of film events because of the culture and history attached to them, as well as the challenges these artists faced when creating these films.

“These films are a part of history, Robins said. “This is what seeing a movie was like in the earliest days of film. Part of the charm of old movies is seeing the limitations they had to work around like the makeup, effects, lighting, wardrobe, sets and even the medium of film at the time- no sound, no color, short reels.”

Invincible Czars has been working very hard to put together their performances for the film. Robins talked about the process of putting the music together and what the band strives to achieve when creating the sounds.

“We started writing the music in April and have been refining and rehearsing it since then,” Robins said. “We always use a little classical music in our silent film scores. This time we chose Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances because Count Orlok is Romanian and because Bartok’s versions of these folk dances were created around the same time as the movie.”

Robins also talked about why this event is unique and a great opportunity that students and community members should take advantage of. He talked about the band’s unique formula of mixing different musical elements to create a truly one of a kind performance.

“It’s a movie and a concert all in one and most people have never experienced it,” Robins said. “There are other groups around the country that do this and some are very strict about sticking to the original scores. We try to strike a balance between honoring the tone and time of the movie and entertaining modern day audiences.”

Robins said that he hopes the audience will have a really good time at the performance and he also talked about what he always hopes the band takes away from the performance.

“[I hope the band takes away] a sense of artistic fulfillment and accomplishment that will keep us moving forward and hopefully another town where we can share these kinds of performances again and again!”

The Noserfatu screening with live, original music by Invincible Czars will be on Thursday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Olde Town Theater on the square located at 1023 12th St. Admission is free and costumes are encouraged.