image for Slapstick offers a custard  pie in the face as part of  online fund-raising campaign

Slapstick offers a custard pie in the face as part of online fund-raising campaign

Published on Thursday, 5th November 2015

Bristol’s annual Slapstick Festival of silent and vintage screen comedy is offering an unusual reward to supporters of its newly-launched online fund-raising campaign - a custard pie in the face.

The festival - held every January and now recognised as the biggest of its kind in the world – is turning to Kickstarter in a bid to raise £5,000 towards the rising annual costs of running a programme that involves multiple venues, rare and precious film prints, specialist equipment, live music and specially commissioned scores.

To encourage donations, Slapstick is offering a choice of incentives, including backstage passes, afternoon tea with The Goodies, celebrity meet-ups or the chance to be custard pied by a star guest during the festival which next takes place from 21-25 January 2016.

Festival Director Chris Daniels explains: “Although Slapstick is a hugely popular event, now attracting some 5,000 UK and international visitors, funding it is a perennial problem despite all our celebrity guests appearing for free and the many hours of low cost or no cost support we get from local companies and individuals.

For instance, one of the stand-out attractions of every Slapstick is that we show wonderful old silent comedies which hardly anyone will have seen before on a full-sized screen. But these films are rare; costly to track down, transport and insure and deserve to be viewed in the traditional way, with a live accompaniment, which often means commissioning a suitable new score for them, too – all very expensive.”

He added: “One solution would be to increase our ticket prices but we feel very strongly that we need to keep our prices affordable so that as many people as possible, including the next generation, can enjoy the experience of being introduced to the best screen comedy of the past 100 odd years by those of today’s top entertainers who also admire them.”

So instead Slapstick is looking for help from Kickstarter – www.kickstarter.com – the website which unites creative projects with potential financial backers worldwide.

Veteran comedian Barry Cryer is leading the appeal by appearing in a short video during which he illustrates one of the perks on offer by giving Chris Daniels the custard pie treatment.

If the Kickstarter campaign reaches its target any money raised will be go towards enhancing the next Slapstick festival and other events.

To view the appeal and find out more about the perks on offer to donors, please visit http://tinyurl.com/q4sozwl.

The launch of the Kickstarter campaign coincides with Slapstick’s unveiling of the events it will be staging at St George’s Brandon Hill, Bristol, in January next year. The line-up includes Marcus Brigstocke quizzing Aardman writers/directors about the secrets of Shaun The Sheep’s global popularity; The Goodies sharing anecdotes and footage from their award-winning TV shows; gag master Tim Vine saluting his hero, Phil Silver, AKA Sgt Bilko; DAD’S ARMY actor Ian Lavender and music legend Rick Wakeman chatting about their mutual passion for Buster Keaton before introducing two of his wildly funny Wild West comedies,  both accompanied live by the European Silent Screen Virtuoso, featuring guest player Adrian Utley of Portishead and, to finish, an evening with the legendary Ken Dodd, 88 this month, still touring and still a master of the one-liner and tickling stick!

Other events are taking place at Colston Hall and Watershed. To stay up-to-date with Slapstick news, special offers and competitions, please find Slapstick Festival on Facebook, follow @SlapstickFest on Twitter or sign up for the festival’s free e-bulletins by visiting www.slapstick.org.uk.

Slapstick is a not-for-profit venture run mainly by volunteers. The festival’s principal funders are Aardman Animations (www.aardman.com) and the British Film Institute (www.bfi.org.uk).