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April 28th, 29th, 30th, 2017

The David Shepard

Career Achievement Award

2020 - Charles Tabish

Denver Silent Film Festival is delighted to announce that this year’s David Shepard Career Achievement Award will go to Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming and content strategy for Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Since 1997, Charlie has managed programming of a huge inventory of films, both silent and sound. He also led programming and curation at the wonderful, now defunct, FilmStruck. Under his guidance, TCM regularly presents silent films, many of them rare treats for even experienced silent film viewers. Charlie Tabesh is a great friend to silent film. He will attend the entire festival, April 3-5, 2020 at The Alamo Draft House Sloans Lake.

2019 – Amy Heller & Dennis Doros

Amy Heller and Dennis Doros.jpg

Amy Heller and Dennis Doros are this year’s this year’s recipients of the Denver Silent Film Festival’s Career Achievement Award. Together, they founded and run Milestone Films, through which they have restored and released many critically-important films, both silent and sound. Their silent restorations include the great documentary Grass; Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 remarkable animation, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, and films by Lois Weber. Dennis Doros is now president of the Association of Moving Image Archivists 

2018 – Russell Merritt

The Denver Silent Film Festival's David Shepard Career Achievement Award for 2018 will go to Russell Merritt, who teaches film studies at the University of California-Berkeley. Russell Merritt has co-written (with J.B. Kaufman) two books on Walt Disney’s early films – the award-winning Walt in Wonderland (1993) and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies (2016). He has also authored articles on D.W. Griffith, Sergei Eisenstein, animation, Sherlock Holmes, color aesthetics, and early film.  Merritt produces and directs the Great Nickelodeon Show, a recreation of a turn-of-the-century nickelodeon program which has played at the Telluride Film Festival, The TCM Classic Film Festival, Il Giornate del Cinema Muto, the Los Angeles Film Festival, The Pacific Film Archive, and assorted university campuses.

2017 – Stacey Wisnia

The first David Shepard Career Achievement Award will be presented at the 2017 DSFF to The San Francisco Silent Film Festival and its director Stacey Wisnea. The SFSFF began in 2005 and since then has become the leading silent film festival in America and one of the major festivals of silent film in the world. The festival is a major player in international film preservation. In 2015, SFSFF was elected an associate member of the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF), joining archives the world over in preserving and providing access to the world's film heritage. Besides the annual four-day festival, SFSFF presents film programs throughout the year. Perhaps its most astounding presentation took place in 2012 with four screenings of Kevin Brownlow’s five and a half-hour restoration of Abel Gance’s Napoleon with Carl Davis conducting a full symphony orchestra playing his renowned score for the film.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival was the model for our festival. DSFF co-founder Montine Hansl had been a member of the board of directors of SFSFF, and when she moved back to Denver in 2009, her experience inspired us to create our own event. 

​ Stacey Wisnia has been the Executive Director of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival since 2005.

Under her direction, the festival has more than doubled in size, with attendance growing from 6000 her first year to more than 18,000 attendees. In 2006, she initiated “Amazing Tales from the Archives,” a festival program that gives the audience a chance to interact with film archivists from around the world  and to hear some of the fascinating stories of films found and saved. That in turn has bolstered SFSFF’s reputation as a premier venue for film preservationists to see the fruits of their labors on the big screen.

Career Achievement Award

Each year, the Denver Silent Film Festival recognizes outstanding contributions to silent film, whether through filmmaking, film preservation, film education or the conservation of film collections. The recipient attends the Denver Silent Film Festival as our guest, and participates in introductions to the films, post-film conversations with the audience and also joins in several meetings with students. This page is dedicated to those whose work has helped to keep alive the beautiful art of silent cinema throughout the world.

2016 – Donald Sosin

Donald Sosin, born in 1951, is foremost a silent film accompanist. He grew up in Rye, New York, and Munich, Germany. He holds composition degrees from the University of Michigan and Columbia University. His compositions range from chamber, symphonic and choral pieces to children’s theater, dance and TV music, from opera and sacred cantatas to songs about Ayurveda, and Christmas carols in the styles of various composers. He has received commissions from orchestras all over the world. Donald Sosin began accompanying silent films during his student days at the University of Michigan from 1971 to 1974. Since then, he has accompanied silent films for America’s great museums, the New York and Seattle Film Festivals, the Telluride Film Festival, the San Francisco Silent Festival, as well as international venues including Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy, and Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna. Sosin met his wife, singer/actress/writer Joanna Seaton in 1980 in a theater workshop production on 42nd Street. They began writing songs and shows together, married in 1987, and in 1999, started writing and performing songs for silent films at most of the above venues. Among Donald Sosin’s video releases: A Story of Floating Weeds, Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Cinderella (starring Mary Pickford), The Hands of Orlac, and dozens of short comedies. Donald has been a fixture at the Denver Silent Film Festival since its inception. For the spoof Love Among the Ruins, produced by 2015 DSFF honoree Richard Meyer and his wife Susan Harmon, Donald composed and played the score. Each year, Donald works with music students from the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Denver to compose and perform a score for a film featured in the Denver Silent Film Festival. From their home in northwest Connecticut, Donald and Joanna teach and conduct local choral and theater groups and church music. They have one son and one daughter. For further information, visit:

2015 – Richard J. Meyer

Richard J. Meyer was in love with silent films since, while getting his PhD at New York University, he researched and wrote about D.W. Griffith. Before that, he received a BA Degree in History and a Masters Degree in Radio, TV and Film from Stanford University. He pursued a career in public broadcasting. As Vice President of WNET-TV in New York in the late 1960s he programmed Charlie Chaplin movies on that channel. Subsequently, he was President/General Manager of public television stations in Seattle and Dallas until the mid-90s when he stepped down from management so he could concentrate on silent films, teaching and writing. In his second career, he was a Distinguished Fulbright Professor at National Chengchi University in Taipei, held the Ed and Virginia Ball Chair of Telecommunications at Ball State University, and taught at universities in Italy, Hong Kong and Arizona. He now teaches film at Seattle University. He has published three books and restored the movies of Chinese silent film stars from the 1930s when Shanghai was called the “Hollywood of Asia.” He is President Emeritus of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and currently serves on the board of the Seattle International Film Festival. He and his wife Susan Harmon are Co-Directors of Meyerhar Productions and producers of a new film, Love Among the Ruins – a spoof about the miraculous discovery and restoration of a long lost Italian silent film. He lives with his wife on a houseboat in Seattle.

2014 – Mike Mashon

Mashon received his undergraduate degree in microbiology from Louisiana State University. He went on to earn a Master’s degree in the same field at the University of Texas. In 1996, He earned his Ph.D. in radio-television-film from the University of Maryland. Under his direction, the Moving Image Section is responsible for the acquisition, conservation, cataloging, storage, preservation, and researcher accessibility of the more than 1.3 million film and video items held at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. Mashon has supervised many film restoration projects, and is the author of several articles on media history and preservation. He and his wife Kristi have one daughter. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies even though “…one might think he does a lot of that at work, he can only wish it were true”. Mashon will receive the award at the DSFF Opening Night reception at the Governor’s Mansion. David Shepard, 2011 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and DSFF Advisory Board member, will present the award.

2012 – Serge Bromberg

For lovers of film, it’s hard to avoid the work of Serge Bromberg, and why would anyone want to do that! This man loves the cinema with an irresistible and thrilling delight and knowledge of film. M. Bromberg, of Paris, started early, collecting Laurel and Hardy films as a kid. He’s still a collector, an archivist and restorer of rare films, and a joyous, enthusiastic presenter of all sorts of films to audiences around the world. Unlike many archivists/restorers/presenters, Bromberg does not save things for a posterity that will never get here – he shows films now so that actual living human beings can embrace the traditions of cinema as well as the individual works. To that end, in 1984, Bromberg founded Lobster Films, a company dedicated to the collecting, restoring and presenting of film. He has been on the board of the great Cinematheque Francaise; he is the Artistic Director of the Annecy Animation Film Festival in France. Bromberg presents film programs all over the world, including the Telluride Film Festival where last year he screened his magnificent color restoration of Georges Méliès 1902 A Trip to the Moon, a film also featured in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. He has a regular show of films for young people on French TV. In 1997 Bromberg and Eric Lange were awarded the Jean Mitry Award at the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Sacile (Italy), and in 2002 he was made a Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters. He is a national treasure – in virtually all the countries of the world

2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient – David Shepard

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, David Shepard, renowned silent film preservationist and archivist, received the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters – for his tireless efforts to preserve and restore many of the treasures of our American film heritage. Shepard received the degree from the College of Arts and Media at the University of Colorado Denver’s spring commencement. Well-known internationally in film circles, Shepard has spent the major part of his career restoring early cinema for DVD and video editions.  Recent projects include Abel Gance’s “La Roue” (1922), “Chaplin at Keystone” (1914) and C. B. DeMille’s 1927 production of “Chicago.” The list of other cinema restoration projects completed by Shepard throughout his career is considerable and significant. Shepard taught cinema for 34 years at the University of Southern California, where he was also director of the Louis B. Mayer Film & Television Study Center; UCLA, where he was honored in 1983 as “the outstanding teacher in performing and integrated arts;” Claremont Men’s College; the University of Iowa; and Pennsylvania State University. He has also co-authored or edited more than a dozen books. Shepard currently lives in Northern rural California and works in a hand-made log house of his own design with eight dogs.

He is also active in community affairs and continues to work nationally with various archives and laboratories to preserve rare films. In the words of Mike Mashon, Head, Moving Image Section, Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress, “David is a giant in the field of film preservation, one of those rare talents who exemplifies the scholar’s rigorous research, the archivist’s attention to detail and the fan’s unabashed love and enthusiasm for movies.” In September 2011, the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver, presented the premiere event of the Denver Silent Film Festival. Shepard was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Opening Night Gala

To Be Determined
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Sloans Lake
4255 W. Colfax Ave. Denver, Colorado
 (720) 588-4107
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