Skip to main content

Slapstick Conversations: Buster Keaton With James Curtis

Buster Keaton

Watershed  |  £6.50 / £4

Share this

A special event to celebrate the life and work of one of the best known and most respected stars of the silent era, Buster Keaton.

James Curtis, admired biographer of Preston Sturges, W. C. Fields and Spencer Tracy, gives us the richest, most comprehensive life story to date of the legendary actor, stunt artist, screenwriter, director and comedic master Buster Keaton, in his latest biography, Buster Keaton: A Filmmakers’ Life.

Keaton transformed movie-making by elevating physical comedy on film to the highest of art forms. His silent shorts and features remain as startling, innovative, and irresistible today as they were when they first beguiled audiences almost a century ago.

Slapstick is proud to present a special ‘in conversation’ with James Curtis, live on Zoom from California, hosted by Bristol Ideas director Andrew Kelly.

This event is part of Slapstick Festival 2022. See the full programme here. It is also part of Film 2021 which marks the centenary of the death of Bristol-born film pioneer William Friese-Greene and the 125th anniversary of the first public cinema screening in Bristol, which took place at the Tivoli on 8 June 1896, as well as celebrating Bristol – a UNESCO City of Film since 2017. It is generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

James Curtis

James Curtis is the author of James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters; Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges; William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come; Spencer Tracy: A Biography, and W. C. Fields: A Biography (winner of the 2004 Theatre Library Association Award, Special Jury Prize). His most recent work is Last Man Standing: Mort Sahl and the Birth of Modern Comedy. His new biography of Buster Keaton will be published February 2022 by Alfred A. Knopf. In addition, Curtis has edited three books on film-related subjects, including a biography of actor Walter Huston.

Andrew Kelly

Andrew Kelly is Director of Bristol Ideas. He is also a film historian. His projects include We The Curious, Bristol Legible City, Brunel200, Bristol800, Bristol Film 2021 and the annual Bristol Great Reading Adventure. He is a visiting professor at the University of the West of England and has published 15 books on issues ranging from film and cinema history to Brunel and engineering, the future of cities and 100 years of Bristol aerospace.

Booking Information

Booking is managed by Watershed’s Box Office. Book online or call 0117 927 5100.

Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit latecomers. 

Keeping Everyone Safe

Watershed wants to ensure that it is a welcoming and inclusive place for all. Please note that:

  • You are required to wear a mask when moving around the building, and when seated in either the cinemas or Waterside spaces (unless exempt).
  • The capacity of the cinemas and event spaces is at 75%, ensuring there is space between you and other customers on your row.
  • You should not visit you’re feeling unwell and have COVID symptoms.
  • Watershed will continue with measures currently in place, including increased and enhanced cleaning regime, provision of hand sanitiser throughout the building, maintaining air flow management plans to ensure adequate ventilation throughout, staff wearing face coverings and keeping contactless payments. If you would like to check in via NHS Test and Trace please feel free to do so, although it will no longer be required to enter the building.


  • Watershed’s main entrance and Box Office are both on the ground floor which is accessible via a ramped, electronically assisted entrance door.
  • There are two Blue Badge parking spaces to the rear of Watershed on Canons Road.
  • Guide dogs and hearing dogs are very welcome.
  • The first floor of Watershed is accessible via lift from the main entrance and includes level access to all areas, including the cinemas and event spaces.
  • The cinemas and event spaces have induction loops.
  • There is an accessible toilet (with baby changing facilities) near Cinema 1. Follow the signs for the Cinemas and the accessible toilet is just on your left through the double doors before Cinema 1.
  • There are gender neutral toilets in the cinema corridor on the first floor.
  • We offer companion seats without additional charge if required.

Visit Watershed’s Access page for more information.

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update