In its early days around 1900, cinema was a live event, usually enjoyed with music accompaniment. In the framework of the SpielFilmPioniere (Fiction Film Pioneers) project, we invited children and adolescents to develop a musical-tonal and dramatic score to accompany early silent films. The participating groups also got insight into the history of the film as a performance event.

The project participants organised a historical silent film screening during which they performed as silent film musicians, sound makers and narrators. Under the guidance of film and music educators, they developed their own musical or playfully experimental sound score for a number of early short films that they had selected themselves. By developing a new soundtrack, the participants learned how the film’s perception and message can be influenced by sound.

At the end of the project we celebrated “The Loud Festival of Silent Films” at the DFF. In our cinema, the children and adolescents performed the jointly developed soundtracks and dramatizations of the early films live in front of an audience.

For educators interested in carrying out a similar project, we offer a free DVD with extensive teaching materials, practical tips, a sound collection, a silent film collection and numerous background texts on early cinema. The DVD also answers questions about project organisation and the different steps involved. The teaching DVD is available free of charge at the DFF. If you want us to send it to you, please get in touch with your address via museumspaedagogik@dff.film or call +40 (0)69-961 220-223.

The project was funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).

Project partners:

DFF in cooperation with

Carl-von-Weinberg-Schule, Frankfurt (IGS, Stummfilm-AG)

Hartmut-Schule, Eschborn (Grundschule, Klasse 3d)

Heinrich-Kraft-Schule, Frankfurt (IGS, Klasse 6a)