The Jokes Were Silent, the Laughs Were Loud at Rivertown Film’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration

By Carolyn Johnson
Rivertown Film celebrated its tenth anniversary on December 15 at The Nyack Center with two silent film classics and a performance by village resident and master of physical comedy Bill Irwin. This uniquely talented actor whose many credits include “Mister Noodle” on Sesame Street and Broadway’s “Waiting for Godot” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “Bye, Bye Birdie” facilitated the event in his inimitable style.
Irwin introduced two silent film classics, Charlie Chaplin’s “Easy Street” (1917) and Harold Lloyd’s “Never Weaken” (1921) with a bit of history and then demonstrated the two variations on silent physical comedy. Irwin seamlessly weaved his presentation before, after and in between the Chaplin and Lloyd films, sharing his many faces and facets with the audience, as actor, clown and educator of a master class course he teaches at The Julliard School in New York and Princeton University. A live band, David Gross and friends, accompanied the silent films and Irwin.
The event was free for members and guests who registered early, and was complimented by a wide assortment of desserts and beverages served by volunteers.
Executive Director of The Rivertown Film Society, Matthew Seig, noted that “Bill Irwin gave two silent era films new life by introducing us to the world of baggy-pants comedy, David Gross and his collaborators presented a contemporary perspective on the art of musical accompaniment, and event sponsor HSBC Bank helped make it all possible. We are grateful to them for participating. They set a high standard that we intend to live up to in our next four programs, which include visits from filmmakers who have won three Academy Awards and have been nominated for six, and one film that is on the documentary shortlist for nomination this year. Our Tenth Year Anniversary was a “thank you” to our members and other supporters who make pro-grams like these possible.”
Rivertown Board Vice-Chair and Chair of the event, Natasha Rabin, spoke to HSBC’s commitment to the arts and the community in Nyack. “HSBC has generously sponsored River-town Film in the past, however, their stepping up and enabling us to acknowledge our members and other supporters by funding this event is in the true spirit of contributing to the roots of our organization and our mission to provide valuable programs such as the one presented tonight.”
V.P. and Senior Premier Relationship Manager at HSBC Bank USA, National Association’s Patrick J. Kennedy arranged for the bank’s sponsorship of this event, which allowed many people to enjoy the evening free of charge. Kennedy offered his reason for such generous support,  “We strongly believe Nyack is a special place, one where the Arts are so important to help grow and recharge the community.  Our goal at the Nyack office is and will continue to be a pil-lar in the community for the Arts and helping great organizations like Rivertown Film.”
Rivertown Film shows movies twice a month at the Nyack Center. Their mission is to “celebrate, explore and promote the art of the motion picture through film screenings and educational programs….enhance audience appreciation of the motion picture and encourage support for filmmakers and the local film community.” For more information, visit RivertownFilm.org.
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