For decades, the film industry was dominated by silent film, which showcased actors using gestures or miming to communicate unspoken ideas. Though efforts were made as early as 1900 to introduce synchronized sound to film, it wasn’t until 1927 that the first talking picture was released. This first film, called the The Jazz Singer, was a musical starring Al Jolson as an aspiring jazz entertainer whose career is threatened by his family and Jewish heritage. The Jazz Singer paved the way for other “talkies”, and sound film became a global phenomenon during the 1930s.

Movies have come a long way since their predecessor films of almost a century ago. Today, Hollywood films include exceptional sound quality and even special effects to enhance the viewer experience. The Talking Pictures Festival is a Chicago film-festival that exists to celebrate the art of independent filmmaking, while paying homage to the origins of modern “talking” movies. Join us as we celebrate over eight decades of talking pictures.