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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Brinton silent film festival today, Saturday in Ainsworth

By David Hotle, The Washington Evening Journal | Jul 28, 2017

AINSWORTH (GTNS) — The 21st annual running of the Ainsworth Brinton Film Festival and Ice Cream Social will be today and Saturday in the Ainsworth Opera House and give people the chance to view the Brinton silent movies narrated by local historian Michael Zahs.

The doors open for the event at 7 p.m. both today and Saturday. The Brinton silent movies will be shown from 7:45-8:45 p.m. The films have been called the most significant collection of their kind in the world and date from 1895 to 1908. They were originally shown in Ainsworth over 100 years ago. A free will donation will be collected and proceeds will go to support the opera house.

Frank Brinton began shooting the films as early as 1879. The festival is like the traveling festivals that were held 120 years ago.

“[The Brinton Extravaganza] is a big deal every place but here. We’re not making it a big deal — it just is. I don’t know that people understand what all it is and how it is of worldwide importance and here, it’s just part of our everyday lives,” Zahs said of the event in a previous interview.

The Brinton films and slides have attracted attention from around the world.

“One of the films is the earliest known newsreel film in the world,” Zahs said. “The earliest films of Egypt, the earliest films of Burma, the earliest films of India — just on and on and on and on. But the earliest newsreel film is of the hurricane in Houston, Texas. They called it a cyclone — Galveston, 1900, I think. Anybody photographing or filming was ordered to be killed on the spot by the government of the city. So these people were risking their lives to cover news. Notice the difference in how ‘news’ is looked at. They did not want the people to know what was happening in that area.”

Another interesting thing Brinton did in his life was to follow his father, Jonathan, to the Holy Land.

Zahs said that Jonathan was a brilliant man, but one who didn’t like paying taxes.

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