Top of page

Festival Information

The Library of Congress Festival of Film and Sound program will open with evening screenings on Thursday, June 15, followed by three full days of programs concluding on Sunday evening, June 18, 2023. A weekend of films and presentations will provide opportunities to hear from authors and filmmakers, talk to Library staff and curators and meet fellow fans and researchers at the festival.

Buy Passes

The AFI Silver Theatre is selling festival passes for $150 for the four-day event (Thursday-Sunday). Festival Passes are being sold through the AFI Silver website and box office. 

Festival Passes on-sale now at External.

Program Schedule

The festival will feature screenings, Q&A speaker sessions, lectures, and films will each spotlight different aspects of “Music and Sound,” the theme of this year’s festival. This includes the use of sound effects for characterization or as a narrative device, telling stories using sound instead of dialog, using music to support melodrama or comedy, and the dramatic use of silence.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

  • SO’S YOUR OLD MAN (1926)

    Thursday, June 15, 6:45pm

    Introduced by Richard Koszarski.

    Live piano accompaniment by Jon Mirsalis.

    In this hilarious comedy, W.C. Fields stars as a
    small-town inventor and local embarrassment who is convinced that his invention of an unbreakable car windshield will set him up for life. DIR Gregory La Cava; B&W. 71 min. Not Rated. 35mm print from Library of Congress.

    Preceded by BELLE OF SAMOA (1929) The first musical comedy of the screen; an entrancing mix of authentic native culture, Broadway musical revue and vaudeville. DIR Marcel Silver. B&W. 18 minutes. Not Rated. Premiere


    Thursday, June 15, 9:15pm

    Introduced by Maria Elena de las Carreras

    Noblewoman Joan Fontaine, escaping from a loveless marriage and on the run from her husband, leaves London for the coast in Cornwall. She encounters a romantic French pirate, (Mexican actor Arturo de Córdova), but their brief idyllic romance is interrupted by slimy Lord Rockingham (Basil Rathbone). DIR Mitchell Leisen. Technicolor. 112 minutes. Not Rated. 4K digital restoration by Universal Pictures in collaboration with The Film Foundation.

Friday, June 16, 2023

  • THE IRON MASK (1929)

    Friday, June 16, 9:00 am

    Introduced by Tracey Goessel, author of “The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks.”

    Douglas Fairbanks’ final silent film is a rollicking and bittersweet swashbuckling action film, the sequel to his hit THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1921). Nigel De Brulier burns up the screen as the cunning Cardinal Richelieu, whose plan to disguise the secret that the King has a twin brother is disrupted by D’Artagnan (Fairbanks) and the Musketeers. This seldom shown fully restored version includes all three spoken sequences and the original symphonic score. DIR Allan Dwan. B&W. 95 min. 35mm. Not Rated.

    Restored 35mm print from Museum of Modern Art.

    Preceded by UMPA (1933). Introduced by Rob Stone. A delightful, very unique, musical comedy entirely in song (or rhyme with underscore) with dancing. Vaudeville and Broadway song and dance man Jack Osterman stars as the patient with UMPA symptoms and Gloria Shea and Lois January are his two nurses. DIR, SCEN Conrad, Mitchell and Gottler. 16 min. B&W. Not Rated. DCP.

    Followed by THE SOUNDMAN (1950) Introduced by Ben Burtt. The pivotal role of the sound engineer and sound mixer is highlighted. DIR Aaron Stell. B&W. 10 mins. Not Rated. 35mm print from the Library of Congress.


    Friday, June 16, 12:30 pm

    Where do motion picture sound effects come from? Many sound effects such as thunder, the ricochet of a rifle bullet, or a scream have become iconic. In the classic age, film studios had libraries of sound effects, so if a filmmaker needed a squealing car tire or train whistle, it could be found on the shelf and readily incorporated into a film. We subconsciously recognize these sounds because they have become movie language. In this remarkable presentation, Ben Burtt presents some of those familiar sounds and traces their origins and creative meaning back to specific films or a studio sound effects library.

    Followed by SPY SMASHER STRIKES BACK(1942/2022) Introduced by Ben Burtt. The east coast premiere of Ben Burtt’s 2022 re-edit of the 1942 12-chapter Republic Pictures serial SPY SMASHER. Based on a popular comic book character, this is the exciting tale of a costumed hero battling the Nazis in the early days of America’s entry into World War II. Ben Burtt enhanced the sound effects, remastered the mix in stereo surround, included additional Republic special effects footage, and incorporated a few scenes from other Republic films. This “love letter to Republic” brings to life a new crackerjack thriller that would leave Indiana Jones breathless. Republic Pictures. DIR William Witney. Based on “Spy Smasher” by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker. CAST Kane Richmond, Marguerite Chapman. B&W. 94 min. Not Rated. DCP.

    Preceded by Hollywood Home Movies #1. Presented by Randy Haberkamp. Rare footage selected by the Academy Film Archive from the private collections of Hollywood stars and directors. 10 min. Not Rated.


    Friday, June 16, 4:00 pm

    Introduction by Maya Cade, founder of Black Film Archive

    Leading man Ralph Cooper also co-produced this ambitious all-Black film about a ruthless gangster’s rise in the numbers racket. This modest yet effective film emphasizes interpersonal conflict and betrayal over the violence that was surging in mainstream Hollywood gangster films of the day. Renowned Black actor Clarence Brooks plays the mob boss Cooper pushes aside. Maya Cade wrote, “This film reimagines the Hollywood gangster film but with an emphasis on the Black gaze.” DIR Harry Fraser; Starring Ralph Cooper, Clarence Brooks, Cleo Herndon. B&W. 70 mins. Not Rated. DCP.

    Restored in 2023 by the Library of Congress in cooperation with the Academy Film Archive.

  • MEMORY LANE (1926)

    Friday, June 16, 7:00 pm

    Introduction by David Pierce.

    Live piano accompaniment by Jon Mirsalis. A poignant story of missed opportunities from master director John M. Stahl. This beautifully acted tale of youthful romance coming up against real world practicalities provides a showcase for actress Eleanor Boardman. She has to choose between rival suitors, and after settling down, is forced by circumstance to reconsider her decision. For Eleanor Boardman, Conrad Nagel is the safe choice, while William Haines (equally adept in comedy and drama in his performance) is the path out of the small town to an exciting life farther afield. Director Stahl is
    remembered for his films that focused with empathy on women who made decisions they might later regret.

    DIR John M. Stahl; B&W; 81 mins (22 fps); Not Rated. 35mm print. Restored by the Library of Congress and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

    Preceded by Gerald McBoing Boing (1950). Introduced by Stacie Seifrit-Griffin. The initial release from the influential UPA cartoon studio changed the animation business forever. DIR Robert Cannon; 7 mins. Color. Not Rated. 1950 Oscar winner for Best Animated Short. Added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1995. 35mm print from the Library of Congress. Restored in 2017 from the original Technicolor negative.

  • Ceiling Zero (1936)

    Friday, June 16, 9:00 pm

    Introduced by Jon Mirsalis.

    This long-unavailable Howard Hawks drama stars James Cagney and Pat O’Brien in a tense story of air mail pilots in the struggling early years of commercial aviation. Less well known than Hawks’ later ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939), this film explores many of the same themes of professionalism, camaraderie and sacrifice. “Tersely written, handsomely produced and played to perfection” – Frank Nugent, The New York Times. DIR Howard Hawks; B&W. 95 min. Not Rated. 35mm print from the Library of Congress.

    Preceded by CALDONIA (1945). Introduced by Maya Cade, founder

    of Black Film Archive. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame called Louis Jordan “the supreme ruler of Forties R&B” and this film captures the energy and enthusiasm of his live performances. DIR William Forest Crouch; CAST Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five. B&W. 18 min. Not Rated. Digital. Restored in 2022 by the Library of Congress.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

  • SUBMARINE (1928)

    Saturday June 17, 9:00 am

    Introduced and live piano accompaniment by Jon Mirsalis.

    Before his famous comedies in the 1930s, Frank Capra directed this love triangle set against a Navy background, where a potential disaster places duty over loyalty. Two friends who are estranged, but come together when the crew of a sunken submarine are awaiting rescue. DIR Frank Capra; B&W. 95 min. Not Rated. 35mm print from the Library of Congress.

    Preceded by FOX MOVIETONE NEWS (1927).

    Introduced by Randy Haberkamp. Voices in the newsreels propelled Movietone’s sound-on-film process. LINDBERGH’S FLIGHT FROM N.Y. TO PARIS (1927) and VOICES OF ITALY (1927). 23 min total. DCP. Museum of Modern Art.

    Followed by A CRY FOR HELP (1912). Introduced by Tracey Goessel. This mature film under the direction of D.W. Griffith is a rich, fulfilling adventure with a top cast of Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish. DIR D.W. Griffith; B&W. Not Rated. 14 min. DCP. Premiere of new restoration from Film Preservation Society.

    A Conversation with Ben Burtt, Oscar- winning Sound Designer.Saturday June 17, 1:00 pm Interviewed by Randy Haberkamp

    Four-time Oscar-winning sound mixer, designer and editor Ben Burtt will participate in an on-stage Q&A about his motion picture career featuring excerpts from many of the iconic films he worked on. Burtt will discuss the inspiration and creation of the sound and voice effects that have become iconic in American cinema including the voice of Wall-E, the sounds of the lightsaber and Darth Vader’s breathing from STAR WARS, and the crack of Indiana Jones’ whip.

    Burtt received a Special Achievement Oscar for the creation of the alien, creature and robot voices featured in STAR WARS (1977) and for Sound Effects Editing for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981); he won Oscars for Sound Effects Editing for E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989).

    Followed by THE PHANTOM EMPIRE - Chapter 1 (1935).

    Introduced by Ben Burtt.

    The only science-fiction western serial with songs, as cowboy Gene Autry discovers an advanced civilization below his ranch. DIR Otto Brower, Reeves Eason. Not Rated. DCP. Library of Congress.

  • SPRING PARADE (1940)

    Saturday June 17, 3:45 pm

    Introduced by David Stenn.

    Box office singing sensation Deanna Durbin hit her stride as a farm girl visiting a romanticized pre-World War I Vienna in search of her dreams. DIR Henry Koster. B&W. 90 min. Not Rated. 35mm print from the Library of Congress.

    Preceded by Hollywood Home Movies #3. Presented by Randy Haberkamp. Rare footage selected by the Academy Film Archive from the private collections of Hollywood stars. 10 min. Not Rated.

  • CALL HER SAVAGE (1932)

    Saturday June 17, 7:00 pm

    Introduced by David Stenn

    Iconic “It girl” Clara Bow left the 1920s behind with this torrid story about a Texas debutante turned wicked wild woman. One of the raciest movies ever to come out of Hollywood, this lurid film is filled with melodrama and debauchery. One of the definitive “pre-Code” films that led to the censorship of American cinema just two years later. “Enough melodrama for three movies” – David Stenn. Fox Film Corp. DIR John Francis Dillon. SCEN Edwin Burke, based on the novel by Tiffany Thayer. PROD Sam Rork. B&W. 90 min. Not Rated. Restored 35mm print from Museum of Modern Art.


    Saturday June 17, 9:15 pm

    Introduced by Steven C. Smith, author of “A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann.”

    One of the most inventive and imaginative films ever, as a desperate farmer sells his soul to the satanic Mr. Scratch (a gleeful Walter Huston) for seven years of prosperity. As other elements of his life unravel, he turns to famed congressman and orator Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold) to argue for the return of his soul. Fresh from CITIZEN KANE, composer Bernard Herrmann won an Oscar for this, his second film score. DIR William Dieterle. SCR Stephen Vincent Benet, Dan Totheroh. STORY Stephen Vincent Benet. SCORE Bernard Herrmann. B&W. 107 min. Not Rated. New 35mm restoration from the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Sunday, June 18, 2023


    Sunday June 18, 9:00 am

    Introduced by Richard Koszarski.

    Live piano accompaniment by Andrew Simpson.

    An atypical film for Mary Pickford, a comedy- drama focused on the impact of the first world war on the homefront. The quiet life of farmgirl Johanna (Pickford in a restrained performance) is uprooted when a battalion of soldiers set up camp nearby. Screenwriter Frances Marion built the story around Pickford character’s reaction to the changes, her gradual maturity and her dawning awareness of boys, tenderness and commitment. Pickford Film Corporation. Artcraft Pictures Corporation. PROD Mary Pickford. DIR William Desmond Taylor. SCEN Frances Marion, from a story by Rupert Hughes. CAMERA Charles Rosher. 64 min. B&W. Not Rated. DCP. New digital restoration by the Mary Pickford Foundation.

  • CRAIG’S WIFE (1936)

    Sunday June 18, 10:30 am

    Introduced by Maria Elena de las Carreras.

    Pioneering director Dorothy Arzner made one of her finest films based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a strong-willed woman whose focus on control over her family leads her to risk everything she holds dear.  Rosalind Russell brilliantly portrays the title role. One of the best and most overlooked films of the 1930s. “One of the most powerful dramas to reach the screen ... polished and gripping entertainment.” PhotoplayColumbia Pictures. DIR Dorothy Arzner. SCEN Mary C. McCall Jr. based on the play by George Kelly. CAMERA Lucien Ballard. PROD Harry Cohn. B&W. 75 min. Not Rated. 35mm print from the Library of Congress.


    Sunday June 18, 1:00 pm

    Presentation by Steven C. Smith, author of “Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer” 24-time Oscar-nominee Max Steiner created the sound of Hollywood film music with screen classics as KING KONG, CASABLANCA, and NOW, VOYAGER, establishing the rules of scoring still used today. The presentation includes Steiner’s creative struggles and interactions with producers and stars.

  • MELODY CRUISE (1933)

    Sunday July 18, 1:00 pm

    Introduced by Steven C. Smith

    A delightful Pre-Code musical comedy featuring rhyming dialogue over musical underscore. Max Steiner’s contribution as Musical Director here set the pattern of rhythm that Fred and Ginger would follow. RKO Radio. DIR Mark Sandrich. B&W. 77 mins. Not Rated. New 35mm print from the Library of Congress

  • THE LADY (1925)

    Sunday June 18, 3:45 pm

    Introduced by Richard Koszarski.

    Livepiano accompaniment by Jon Mirsalis.

    Director Frank Borzage derived a career-best performance from actress Norma Talmadge in this maternal melodrama of tragedy and circumstance. DIR Frank Borzage. B&W. 90 min. Not Rated. DCP. U.S. premiere of the Library of Congress restoration.

    Preceded by Hollywood Home Movies #3.Presented by Randy Haberkamp. Rare footage selected by the Academy Film Archive from the private collections of Hollywood stars. 10 min. Not Rated.


    Sunday June 18, 7:00 pm

    Introduced by Maria Elena de las Carreras.

    Best remembered for the Spanish DRÁCULA (1931), Mexican actress Lupita Tovar is a dance hall girl trying to navigate in a man’s world. DIR: William Cabana. DIALOG DIR: Eduardo Arozamena. 


    B&W. 97 min. Not Rated. DCP. Premiere of new Library of Congress restoration.

  • STATE SECRET (1950)

    Sunday June 18, 9:15 pm

    Introduced by Jon Mirsalis

    A terrific, dark film noir, with doctor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. brought to an Eastern European country where he is forced to go on the run when he learns a secret that could bring down the government.Great Britain. London Films. 

    Distributed by British Lion Films. DIR Sidney Gilliat; B&W. 106 min. Not Rated. Digital.

Special Guests

The first announced guests include:

  • Ben Burtt standing next to his computer with Spy Smasher web site displayed on his screen

    Ben Burtt - Ben Burtt is a four-time Oscar winner including the creation of the alien, creature and robot voices featured in Star Wars (1977) and for Sound Effects Editing for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); he won Oscars for Sound Effects Editing for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). He also earned nominations in the Sound Mixing category for Return of the Jedi (1983) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; in Sound Effects Editing for Return of the Jedi, Willow (1988) and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), and for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing for WALL-E (2008).

  • Maya smiling, seated in an empty movie theater with red velvet seating

    Maya S. Cade, the creator and curator of Black Film Archive – a first-of-its-kind digital archive likened to be the definitive history of Black cinema by – and the inaugural Connecting Communities Digital Initiative scholar-in-residence at the Library of Congress. Cade is the only person in history to win multiple esteemed special critic awards in the same season, receiving special distinctions by the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Society of Film Critics, and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists.

    photo credit: (c)Academy-Museum-Foundation,-Photo-by-Owen-Kolasinsk

  • María Elena de las Carreras - a Fulbright scholar and film critic from Argentina. She has a Ph.D. in film and television studies from UCLA. She is the editor with Jan-Christopher Horak of “Hollywood Goes Latin” (2019). She is a lecturer in film history and esthetics at California State University, Northridge. Since 2014 she conducts research and interviews for the Visual History Program of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is a regular collaborator of the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles.

  • Tracey Goessel - author of the acclaimed biography “The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks” (2015). She founded the Los Angeles–based Film Preservation Society in 2014 and leads a multi-archive project to digitally preserve and restore the Biograph films of D.W. Griffith.

  • close up headshot of Randy Haberkamp smiling

    Randy Haberkamp, executive vice president of the Library, Archive and SciTech for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Haberkamp has direct oversight of the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, the Academy Film Archive, the Academy's Science and Technology Council, and the Academy's Scientific and Technical Awards. is the founder of The Silent Society, a silent film preservation and appreciation group that has presented and preserved silent films in Los Angeles for more than 35 years.

  • Richard Koszarski is a film historian. He was formerly the chief curator at the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York. He was the founder of Film History: An International Journal, and served as editor-in-chief from 1987 to 2012. He is a professor emeritus of English and film at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

  • Jon Mirsalis - a scientist, film historian and silent film accompanist who has been creating silent film scores for over 40 years. He has performed at many venues throughout the U.S. including the George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Castro Theater in San Francisco, the Cleveland Cinematheque, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Pacific Film Archive.

  • Steven C. Smith - an award-winning author and four-time Emmy™ nominated documentarian. His books include “A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann” and “Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood's Most Influential Composer.” Steven has produced over 200 documentaries on the arts for such networks as TCM, History Channel, A&E, and National Geographic.

  • David Stenn – his writing-producing credits for television span from Hill Street Blues to Boardwalk Empire and also include 21 Jump Street, Beverly Hills, 90210 and The L Word. Stenn's first biography, “Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild,” became a national bestseller. It was followed by “Bombshell: The Life and Death of Jean Harlow,” cited by the New York Times as one of the year's Notable Books.

About the AFI Silver Theatre

The AFI Silver Theatre features the largest screen in the DC Metro area outside the Smithsonian Institution, and main screen seats 400. The theater opened in 1938 and was designed by movie palace architect John Eberson, who designed more than 100 theatres across the United States. The restored theater reopened in 2003.

The AFI Silver Theatre is easily reachable by mass transit, including the Silver Spring stop on the Red Line of the DC Metro (subway) system. Visitors to Washington, DC, can fly to the Washington Dulles airport (IAD) or the Reagan National airport (DCA) and take the DC Metro from the airport to Silver Spring. There are numerous restaurants within walking distance of the theater, several hotels nearby and inexpensive municipal parking that is free on the weekends.

Hotels near the AFI Theatre

There are several hotels within two block walking distance of the AFI Silver Theater, including


Contact us at or via this web form.