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The Capitol Theatre
220 W. Dominick St., Rome, NY, 13440
Capitolfest is Central New York's premier summer Cinephile film festival—a place to see rarely-shown and newly-discovered films of the silent and early talkie era, held at the historic 1,788-seat movie palace, the Capitol Theatre, in Rome, New York, which opened in December, 1928 as a movie house. Set in the small upstate New York city of Rome (population c.33,000) and regarded by attendees from the U.S., Canada, and Europe as the movie lover’s dream vacation, the weekend festival starts late Friday morning and ends early on Sunday evening. Screenings are arranged by session, with each session essentially comprised of a double feature plus short subjects. Each session contains intermissions and there are generous breaks between sessions (allowing for meals) as well. The philosophy of Capitolfest is that there should be time to savor the films, thus our slogan, “A vacation, not a marathon.”
To date, Capitol remains the only building in Rome constructed for the specific purpose of exhibiting motion pictures. Although the theatre received an Modernistic face-lift in 1939, the auditorium is configured exactly as it was in 1928, and much of the original décor remains. Included as part of Capitolfest's silent film line-up is live organ accompaniment for each film, played on our original installation, 3-manual, 10-rank Style 70 Möller Theatre Organ. Restoration work on the organ was started in 2002, and since then it has been used on a regular basis to accompany silent movies. Each of the silent films will be accompanied by some of the world’s foremost exponents of authentic silent movie accompaniment. Eminent musicians such as Avery Tunningley, Bernie Anderson, Dr. Phillip C. Carli, Robert Israel and Dennis James have performed for films on the Capitol's Moller in the past. Additionally, ensembles such as the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra have graced the Capitol's orchestra pit in accompaniment of films.
The goal of the Capitol Theatre's film series is to not only showcase vintage films, but to re-create the experience of seeing movies as when they were new. All of the films at the Capitol are shown in 35 mm prints on the theatre’s carbon-arc, variable-speed projectors. Capitolfest prints are provided by such archives as the Library of Congress, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Universal Pictures, the George Eastman House, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Sony Pictures, as well as rarer prints from private collections. The festival's line-up focuses on obscure films that received critical praise in their time, but are now near-impossible to see.
Capitolfest 14 will be held on August 12, 13, & 14, 2016.
Capitolfest 14 promises to surpass its thirteen previous installments, with three days of eclectic and critically-acclaimed programming. Each year chooses a “tribute star,” and several of their films are showcased throughout the weekend. Capitolfest 14’s star will be Gary Cooper!
Registration for Capitolfest will be open in 2016.
A special dealer’s room will be featured in an adjacent building on the Capitol Theatre property about 25 yards northwest of the main building entrance. The room is well-lit, air conditioned, has on-site bathroom facilities, and convenient ground-level loading from three doors.
Capitolfest 14 attendees are free to browse the dealers’ room at any time during these hours. Other patrons who do not wish to view the films may visit the dealers’ room for a $3.00 charge.
Dealer's room hours will be announced at the beginning of 2016.
Thursday Night Mixer
In addition, Capitolfest will also host a Thursday night party for early-arriving festival attendees. Times and attractions for this mixer will be announced in 2016.
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