Career Achievement Award

Each year, the Denver Silent Film Festival recognizes one person for outstanding contributions to silent film, whether through filmmaking, film preservation, film education or the conservation of film collections. The recipient attends the Denver Silent Film Festival as our guest, and participates in introductions to the films, post-film conversations with the audience and also joins in several meetings with students. This page is dedicated to those whose work has helped to keep alive the beautiful art of silent cinema throughout the world.

2016 Recipient – Donald Sosin

donald-sosinDonald Sosin, born in 1951, is foremost a silent film accompanist. He grew up in Rye, New York, and Munich, Germany. He holds composition degrees from the University of Michigan and Columbia University. His compositions range from chamber, symphonic and choral pieces to children’s theater, dance and TV music, from opera and sacred cantatas to songs about Ayurveda, and Christmas carols in the styles of various composers. He has received commissions from orchestras all over the world.

Donald Sosin began accompanying silent films during his student days at the University of Michigan from 1971 to 1974. Since then, he has accompanied silent films for America’s great museums, the New York and Seattle Film Festivals, the Telluride Film Festival, the San Francisco Silent Festival, as well as international venues including Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy, and Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna.

Sosin met his wife, singer/actress/writer Joanna Seaton in 1980 in a theater workshop production on 42nd Street. They began writing songs and shows together, married in 1987, and in 1999, started writing and performing songs for silent films at most of the above venues.

Among Donald Sosin’s video releases: A Story of Floating Weeds, Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Cinderella (starring Mary Pickford), The Hands of Orlac, and dozens of short comedies. Donald has been a fixture at the Denver Silent Film Festival since its inception. For the spoof Love Among the Ruins, produced by 2015 DSFF honoree Richard Meyer and his wife Susan Harmon, Donald composed and played the score.

Each year, Donald works with music students from the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Denver to compose and perform a score for a film featured in the Denver Silent Film Festival.

From their home in northwest Connecticut, Donald and Joanna teach and conduct local choral and theater groups and church music. They have one son and one daughter. For further information, visit:

Past Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award

Sign up to receive updates…

If you'd like to be kept up-to-date with the latest from the Denver Silent Film Festival, enter your email below…