January 2005 saw Bristol Silents establish the Slapstick Silent Comedy Festival in the city of Bristol. Since then the festival has returned to the city every January and has included guests such as Eric Sykes, Christopher Chaplin, David Robinson, Shappi Khorsandi, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Paul Merton, Neil Brand, Jean Darling (of Our Gang fame), Diana Serra Cary (aka Baby Peggy), Phil Jupitus, Michael Palin, Rob Brydon, Bill Oddie, Ian Lavendar & many more.
The festival grew out of Bristol Silents ongoing dedication to focussing on & bringing back to life classic films from the early days of cinema. It began as a one off weekend that was such a success that we immediately realised there was a huge call for a dedicated annual Slapstick Festival. The festival in January 2014 will see us celebrate our 10th birthday!
Although we mainly focus on Slapstick films from the silent era we have decided over the years to widen our remit to include events celebrating more contemporary comedians who widely admit that their own work has been influenced by (and that they are in some way in debt to) the stars of the silent era.
In 2008, in collaboration with Aardman Animations, we developed The Aardman/Slapstick Award. This is an annual event & the winner each year is chosen by a panel of festival patrons and supporters and is awarded to artists who have “significantly contributed to the fine art of silent and visual comedy”.
Previous winners of the award have included Eric Sykes in 2009 (especially for his masterpiece “The Plank”), Michael Palin in 2010 (especially for his work with Monty Python & in particular the sketch “The Fish Slapping Dance”), The Goodies for there TV series that ran between 1970 & 1982 and in 2012 French Comedian Pierre Etaix.