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An evening of silent films Saturday will benefit poor students in Haiti

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CARTHAGE — A fundraiser by two youth groups will offer an opportunity Saturday to watch movies the way it was done in the early 1900s, when the only sounds came from the organ accompaniment.

The Carthage United Community Church Youth Group and the Carthage Middle School French Club are sponsoring an evening of classic silent film comedies to benefit the Mitspa School in Haiti. The church began supporting the Mitspa School Mission in 2012.

Because of the island nation’s economic blight, which worsened following the 2010 earthquake, there is no public education. Tuition, books, uniforms, a daily hot meal and a backpack are provided for a child at a cost of $200 for program sponsors.

The French Club wished to sponsor a child, and since the Haitian children speak French, students have been corresponding through letters. The students made and sold bracelets to raise the tuition money. The UCC Youth Group is supporting a student by selling candy bars.

Together the groups are sponsoring the silent film festival to help more children get an education.

Jason Comet will accompany the silent comedies on organ. The musician, owner and founder of Comet Music Studio, Watertown, he researched and obtained the music that originally accompanied the films.

“It’s like experiencing movie history,” the Rev. Jane E. Wagner of United Community Church said. “Add to that the opportunity to help young people help other young people get an education, and it’s almost a gift to be able to help them out.”

The two films to be featured are “The Pilgrim” starring Charlie Chaplin and “The Goat” with Buster Keaton.

Chaplin’s 1923 film is about an escaped convict who disguises himself as a parson. After he settles into his role as in a small town, the escapee’s former cellmate shows up, stealing from the church and the landlord. Chaplin’s character saves the day by retrieving the money but is arrested and later released to Mexico. Chaplin wrote and directed the film as well.

The 1921 Keaton classic involves comic mistaken identity with the star on the lam as a criminal while the real crook runs free. Chase scenes and other mistaken identities abound in this comedy, which Keaton wrote and directed.

The screening is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Carthage Central High School auditorium, 36500 Route 26. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children or $20 per family. Children younger than 5 are admitted free.

For more information, call the church at 493-1132.

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