"Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy
The Fort Lee Film Commission provided documentary
filmmaker Pamela Green open access to our film
commission archive for her research for this
documentary on Alice Guy Blache', who built and
operated Solax Studio here in Fort Lee. Alice built
her studio in 1912 on Lemoine Avenue at the present
day location of the Acme Supermarket. While at Solax
in Fort Lee she produced, directed and wrote
hundreds of films before women in this nation had
the right to vote. She operated Solax in Fort Lee
through World War I. Alice started in the film
industry with Gaumont in Paris, France in the 1890s
and by 1902 she was head of film production for
Gaumont and she was producing synchronized sound and
color films as early as 1902. She developed the
concept of narrative films.
Golden Door Film Festival at Landmark Loews in
Jersey City to showcase the 1916 Fort Lee film "He
Did and He Didn’t"
The annual Golden Door Film Festival
opens this Thursday, September 20th and runs through
Sunday, September 23rd at the Landmark Loews Jersey
in Journal Square in Jersey City, NJ. This festival
showcases the works of present day filmmakers. As
always, the festival also acknowledges the roots of
the American film industry in New Jersey by having
the Fort Lee Film Commission present a silent film
produced in Fort Lee, when Fort Lee was the first
American film town and birthplace of the American
The Fort Lee Film Commission has chosen the short
dark comedy He Did and He Didn’t. The film
features the wonderful Mabel Normand and Roscoe
Arbuckle. Arbuckle also directs this film, which was
produced out of the Triangle Studio on Linwood
Avenue in Fort Lee. The Fort Lee Film Commission had
the NYC based jazz band Gotham Easy create a new
score for this film, and Gotham Easy will play that
score live to this film at the Loews in Jersey City
on Sunday, September 23rd at 6pm.
The Fort Lee Film Commission and the Fort Lee
Public Library Present: Books on Film Festival –
200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
October 2nd, 9th, 16th, 30th at the Fort Lee
Public Library Meeting Room at 320 Main Street
Programs start at 7pm – admission free
This program celebrates the bicentennial of one
of the most important books ever written,
Frankenstein by author Mary Shelley. This book,
from the time of its original publication through
today has, like the monster, taken up a life of its
own. Films dating back to the first American film
version of Frankenstein produced by Thomas
Edison in 1910 in his Bronx studio through the
Universal franchise of Frankenstein films that
commenced in 1931, to the Hammer films and Mel
Brooks and beyond. We will discuss several of these
films as well as Shelley’s contribution to
literature in both the times she wrote this
masterpiece through the 21st century. Prior to each
night’s screening we will have a panel discuss the
films and the book. Panelists will include Fort Lee
Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers and on
the opening night of October 2nd entertainment
reporter for The Record Jim Beckerman.
Admission is free and programs start each night
at 7:00 pm and take place in the meeting room of the
Fort Lee Public Library at 320 Main Street. For
further info contact the Fort Lee Film Commission at
October 2nd – Edison’s Frankenstein (1910)
and Young Frankenstein (1974)
October 9th – The Curse of Frankenstein
October 16 – The Bride of Frankenstein
October 30th – Frankenstein (1931)
Fort Lee Historic Jitney Tour on Sunday,
October 28, 2018
The semi-annual Fort Lee Historic Jitney Tour
takes place on Sunday, October 28th out of the Fort
Lee Farmer's Market at the plaza of the Fort Lee
Community Center at 1355 Inwood Terrace. Admission
is free but seating is limited and there is a
sign-up sheet the date of the event from 9am - 11am
at the Fort Lee Film Commission table. For further
info call (201) 693-2763.
2018 Fort Lee Film Commission Barrymore Award
Presented to On the Waterfront Actor and Lifelong
Longshoreman Tom Hanley
The Fort Lee Film Commission presented our 2018
Barrymore award to "On the Waterfront" actor and
lifetime longshoreman Tom Hanley during a Q&A
following a screening of this classic American film
at the United Palace of Cultural Arts / formerly
Loews 175th Street in NYC.
"On the Waterfront", shot in nearby Hoboken, NJ
in 1954, is considered one of the greatest films
ever produced. Tom Hanley appeared in this film as
the teenager on the roof with film star Marlon
Brando (Terry Malloy). As adult, Tom spent his
career as a longshoreman in Hoboken and Bayonne for
over 50 years. This award is presented to him for
his role in this classic film and for his lifetime
as an honest longshoreman on the docks of New
Jersey. The video footage was captured by the Fort
Lee Film Commission's Donna Brennan.
Fort Lee Museum Exhibit Opens May 12th -
Coming Soon...The Barrymore Film Center
The Fort Lee Film Commission presents a new
exhibit at the Fort Lee Museum (1589 Parker Avenue):
Coming Soon...The Barrymore Film Center. The exhibit
opens on Saturday May 12th at 12 noon as part of
Fort Lee's fashion week. On display will be original
film costumes that were used in silent films
produced in Fort Lee over 100 years ago. The exhibit
will include images and video of the soon to be
built Barrymore Film Center, a 260-seat cinema with
attached film museum and second floor gallery and
archive to be built on Main Street and Park Avenue.
The exhibit will also feature artifacts and archival
photos from Fort Lee's days as the first American
film town and birthplace of Universal and Fox
Studios and home to the first woman director and
studio owner, Alice Guy Blache' of Solax Studio.
Admission is free. Hours are weekends noon to 4pm,
Wednesday nights 7pm-9pm and for groups during the
week by pre-appointment.
Fort Lee Fashion Week May 12th program at Fort Lee
Museum will showcase silent film costumes
On Saturday, May 12th from Noon to 4pm, Fort Lee
Fashion Week makes a stop at the Fort Lee Museum at
1589 Parker Avenue. The Fort Lee Film Commission
will display two silent film costumes which are
currently being restored by the NYU Costume Studies
Department. The costumes were used in Fort Lee films
in the 1910s dating to Fort Lee's days as the first
American film town, and the costumes were found in a
trunk with four other vintage costumes in the former
Rambo's Saloon in Coytesville, which was saved and
restored and was the location of silent film shoots.
These costumes will eventually be on permanent
display at the soon to be built Barrymore Film
May 12th will also be the opening at the Fort Lee
Museum of our new exhibit "Coming Soon...the
Barrymore Film Center". This exhibit will include
images of the soon to be built film center on Main
Street along with a display of archival photos and
artifacts of Fort Lee's film history courtesy of the
Fort Lee Film Commission.
For further information, please call (201)
Calling All New Jersey High School Garage Bands
for 2018 Battle of the Bands
The Fort Lee Film Commission hosts its annual
Battle of the High School Bands on May 18th at 7pm
at the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center at 1355
Inwood Terrace. Admission is free and doors open at
6:30pm. All high school aged garage bands can send
links to their music to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call
(201) 693-2763. There will be a winner take all
prize of $500 and the winning band will get a paid
gig at the June 3rd Fort Lee Arts & Music festival.
Deadline for entry is May 14th, 2018.
"The Champion" documentary featured on NPR (WNYC)
Filmmakers Tom Meyers and Dennis Doros discuss
The Champion: America’s First Film Town. It tells
the story of The Champion Film Company in Fort Lee,
New Jersey, the first of eleven studios that would
become the epicenter of the film industry for a
decade before Hollywood. With a mixture of amazingly
interchangeable scenery close to New York City’s
Broadway talent, it was the perfect location to
shoot pictures. The Champion is available via
Milestone Films on their website.
Winners of 2017 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival
The Fort Lee Film Commission Presented the 2017 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival Screening / Awards Ceremony at the Fort Lee Mayor & Council meeting in the Municipal Building on December 14, 2017
James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award Winning Film: A Train Ride Away from Fort Lee High School - filmmakers Shuzo Katayama and Nicholas Eom
The 13th annual Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow High School Student Film Festival took place in Fort Lee, NJ in the birthplace of the American film industry. Fort Lee was the first American film town and the birthplace of such studios as Universal and Fox and home to the world’s first woman director and studio owner, Alice Guy Blache’. We screened the top ten films selected from over 100 entries this year. Our panel of judges included Gary Donatelli of the Directors Guild of America and Michael Gandolfini, the son of the late New Jersey native and acclaimed actor James Gandolfini who we honor in the name of our Best of the Fest Award. Our top prize is $500 and internships at Downtown Community Television and Sirk Productions.
The James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award goes to A Train Ride Away by Shuzo Katayama and Nicholas Eom
Second Place: 15 Love by Ezra James Capiral
Third Place: Jeff’s Letters by Daniel Schwartz of Dwight-Englewood School
We thank all our sponsors including iPic theaters of Fort Lee and iPic's Jim Nowicki for helping make this the largest high school student film festival in the state of New Jersey. Thanks to Tom Richardson of DCTV, Michael Gandolfini and the Gandolfini family for their support as well as Sirk Productions of NYC. For further info contact the Fort Lee Film Commission at (201) 693-2763.
Photo credit: Donna Brennan, Fort Lee Film Commission
James Gandolfini Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow 2017 Best of Fest winners Shuzo Katayama and Nicholas Eom hold their plaques for their film A Train Ride Away. 2017 JFOT finalists include Second Place winning film 15 Love by Ezra James Capiral and Third Place winning film Jeff’s Letter by Daniel Schwartz.
2017 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival finalist at the December 14th screening and awards ceremony at the Fort Lee Mayor & Council meeting in the Municipal Building
Left to right, Fort Lee Film Commission Chairman Nelson Page, Film Commission members Richard Koszarski and Gary Donatelli and Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers and at podium Downtown Community TV’s Tom Richardson who presents the finalists with internships at Downtown Community TV in NYC
Fort Lee Historical Society New Year's Eve Party - Fundraiser Features Uncle Floyd
Spend New Year's Eve in Fort Lee and support the history of Fort Lee at our 2017 Fort Lee Historical Society Fundraiser! The Fort Lee Historical Society New Year's Eve Party / Fundraiser will feature Uncle Floyd! Not only will Uncle Floyd perform but he will be honored by the Fort Lee Film Commission with the 2017 Lou Costello Award for his lifetime work in entertainment. Seating is limited to 100 and tickets are $125 each - price includes open bar, cocktail hour, full buffet, champagne toast and countdown at midnight and desert. Call (201) 693-2763 to reserve your tickets.
Fort Lee Film Commission and Golden Door
International Film Festival Host Symposium on
Efforts to Reinstate the Tax Credit for Film & TV
Production in New Jersey
On September 26th, 2017, the Fort Lee Film
Commission and the Golden Door International Film
Festival sponsored a symposium on the reinstatement
of a tax credit for film & TV production in New
Jersey at the landmark Loews Jersey in Jersey City.
Fort Lee Film Commission member and Directors Guild
of America member, Emmy Award winning director Gary
Donatelli put the panel together. Panelists included
panel moderator Nancy Giles of CBS News Sunday
Morning, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg,
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, cinematographer Craig
DiBona (Godfather III, Blue Bloods, Die Hard with a
Vengeance), Diane Heery of Heery Loftus Casting, DGA
Location Manager Michael Kriaris, Parlay Studios CCO
Adam Himber, Producer and Production Manager Carol
Cuddy, cinematographer Doug Pelligrino and actor /
director Gary Pastore. We hope the video below
produced by Fort Lee Film Commission member Gary
Donatelli inspires our legislators to create an
aggressive tax credit program to create jobs and
studios in New Jersey, the birthplace of the
American film industry.
2017 Fort Lee Film Commission's Battle of the High School Bands Winner - Firefight!
Firefight won our Wendy's Best of the Bands $500 award and they performed as the lead band at the 2017 Fort Lee Arts & Music Fest on June 3rd. Members include Ava Fisher of Fort Lee.
Fort Lee Film Town USA Podcast
The Fort Lee Film Commission rings in 2017 with a monthly podcast that will center on the film history of America's first film town, Fort Lee, NJ. The podcasts include news about upcoming events, film screenings and details about the soon to be built Barrymore Film Center here in Fort Lee. The hosts of the podcast Fort Lee Film Town USA are FLFC Executive Director Tom Meyers and FLFC Chair Nelson Page. The podcast can be found at the following link: fortleefilmtownusa.com.
Fort Lee Film Commission and Golden Door International Film Festival Present A Centennial Screening of The Fort Lee Produced Silent Film "A Reckless Romeo" Shot at Palisades Amusement Park
The Fort Lee Film Commission and the Golden Door International Film Festival will sponsor a rare screening of the Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle 1916 film A Reckless Romeo at the closing night of the Golden Door International Film Festival at the Landmark Loews in Jersey City on September 25th at 7pm. The Fort Lee Film Commission commissioned the NYC based Jazz Band Gotham Easy to create a score and the band will preform the score live at this screening. This film was shot in the summer of 1916 with exteriors shot at Palisades Amusement Park and on Main Street in Fort Lee and interiors shot at the Triangle Studio on Linwood Avenue in Fort Lee. The film was directed by Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and stars Arbuckle. The archival production still displayed here is of Arbuckle at Palisades Amusement Park with his co-stars Alice Lake and Corinne Parquet. Also pictured is the exterior of Triangle Studio Fort Lee circa 1916.
The Fort Lee Film Commission that night will present their 2016 Barrymore Award to the Golden Door International Film Festival and the festival founders the Sorvino Family. For ticket info visit http://goldendoorfilmfestival.org. For further info contact the Fort Lee Film Commission at (201) 693-2763.
Fort Lee Film Commission 2016 Battle of the High School Bands Winning Band: Roque
Our 2016 Fort Lee Battle of the High School Bands winners "Roque" on June 10th at the Fort Lee Community Center - to the left our MC and lead judge WFDU DJ Christine Vitale and on extreme right Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers. This four piece rock band is from Bergen Tech in Teterboro and the musicians are Marc Shoji from Fort Lee, Steven Vidal, Nick Ramos and Gabe Wehrle. Our sponsor Wendy's made it possible for us to present the winners with $500 and in addition they will perform at the October 2nd Fort Lee Arts and Music Fest along with our 2015 winning band After the Spider....thanks to Donna Brennan of the Film Commission for the photo!
Fort Lee Film Commission 2015 Awards Dinner Honors the Centennial of Fox Studio's Birth in Fort Lee
On Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday, December 12th, 2015, the Fort Lee Film Commission held its awards dinner. Among the honorees were Fox Studio founder William Fox's great granddaughters JoAnn Fox-Weingarten and
Bonnie-Fox Peltcher. They were honored with the 2015 Fort Lee Film Commission Barrymore Award presented to them by 2014 Barrymore Award winner acclaimed actor Paul Sorvino.
The Fort Lee Film Commission presented Fox News correspondent Laura Ingle with our 2015 Alice Guy Blache' Award presented by Directors Guild of America Vice President Gary Donatelli. The 2015 Oscar Micheaux Award was presented by Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers to Fox News Director of Specials Clay Rawson. Film historian Joe Yranski received the 2015 Tom Hanlon Award and Original member of the legendary Rock & Roll group The Royal Teens. Fort Lee native Tom Austin, received the 2015 Lewis J. Selznick Award.
Standing, left to right: NJ Motion Picture & TV Commission Executive Director Steve Gorelick, State Senator Bob Gordon, Michele Sorvino, Film Commission members Richard Koszarski and Lou Azzollini, volunteer Scott Manganelli, Film Commission Chair Nelson Page, Councilman Mike Sargenti, Councilwoman Ila Kasofsky, Councilman Armand Pohan, actor/singer Dominic Chianese, Councilman Harvey Sohmer and 2015 Alice Guy Blache honoree Fox News correspondent Laura Ingle. Seated, left to right:
Roberta Sorvino, Bill Sorvino, actor Paul Sorvino, Billy Sorvino and Dee Dee Sorvino.
Mayor Sokolich Presents Paul Sorvino with the Fort Lee Film Commission 2015 William Fox Award
Paul Sorvino presents Bonnie Fox-Pletcher and JoAnn Fox-Weingarten with the Fort Lee Film Commission 2015 Barrymore Award
Fox News correspondents Laura Ingle accepts the 2015 Fort Lee Film Commission Alice Guy Blache' Award
Actor/singer Dominic Chianese with Laura Ingle and her husband Kenny Kramme
Fort Lee Film Commission Sinatra Sing Off Winner is NYC Based Street Performer Marqiese Marc
Fort Lee Film Commission 2015 Sinatra Sing Off finals Saturday night, December 5th at the GW Grill in Fort Lee...the winner on the extreme right Marqiese Marc as he stands with the other finalists, on the left Newark police officer Tommy Scala and in center George Chartofillis our 2014 Sinatra Sing Off champ. Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers congratulates Marqiese. We thank our judges WFDU DJ Christine Vitale and original member of the legendary Rock & Roll group The Royal Teens Tom Austin.
Marqiese performed at the Fort Lee Film Commission Frank Sinatra Centennial Birthday Dinner on December 12th at 7PM in the party room of In Napoli Restaurant in Fort Lee, NJ (116 Main Street) just a few blocks west from the former Bill Miller’s Riviera Nightclub atop the Palisades where Sinatra performed in the 1940s and early 1950s and where he made his comeback during a two week engagement in September of 1953.
Fort Lee Film Commission holds first public screening since 1956 of Bing Crosby TV film High Tor - a film about the preservation of our Palisades
First public screening of Bing Crosby's High Tor since it aired on network television in 1956! On October 24, 2015, the Fort Lee Film Commission and Palisades Interstate Park screened the film courtesy of HLC Properties and Kathryn Crosby with the assistance of film historian Joe Yranski. The screening took place at the Fort Lee Historic Park Theatre in Fort Lee, NJ and we had a full house. This was the first made for TV film and it was shot with the intent to release it theatrically but by 1956 most studios felt theatrical musicals had to be in color so it was shelved all these years. The film was damaged severely a few years ago but archivists and the family of Bing Crosby were able to preserve and restore this unique film that has yet to be released in any form. We thank the family of Bing Crosby for their cooperation and assistance in making this screening possible. Pictured at podium is Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers and in fg film archivist Joe Yranski. Photos courtesy of the Fort Lee Film Commission's Donna Brennan.
2015 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Winner: Urmil Dalal of Lodi High School for his film “Parallel Parking”
On November 7, 2015, the Fort Lee Film Commission sponsored our 11th annual Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival in the auditorium of Fort Lee High School. This festival is open to all high school students who reside in Bergen County. This year the festival finalists screening & awards ceremony moved back to Fort Lee from Media Mix Studio in Allendale in preparation for the future home of this annual festival at the soon to be built Barrymore Film Center cinema and museum on Main Street in Fort Lee, NJ, the first American film town and birthplace of the American film industry.
This year we had over 125 submissions from around Bergen County and there were 8 finalists. The judges this year include Michael Gandolfini, son of the late great acclaimed New Jersey native and actor James Gandolfini. Our sponsors include Downtown Community Television Center and Sirk Productions, both of Manhattan. We also thank James Gandolfini’s great friend Tom Richardson for his support as well as Mr. Gandolfini’s sister Johanna Antonacci and Leta Gandolfini. Johanna presented our top prize, the James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award to our 2015 winner Urmil Dalal.
The James Gandolfini Best of the Fest winner receives $500 and an internship with Downtown Community Television Center. James Gandolfini had a working relationship with DCTV and they make this internship available to us in his memory. Also the winner receives 72 hours of post-production time at Sirk Productions Digital Studio on West 31st Street in New York City. Fort Lee Film Commission member Marc Pérez is one of the co-founders of Sirk.
The Second Place winner is Anthony Lorelli of Bergenfield High School for his film Generation Z. Our Third Place Winner is Andrew Favorito of Pascack Valley High School for his film The Idea.
All of the finalists can intern at Sirk Productions and the Fort Lee Film.
Left to right, Johanna Antonacci (sister of the late actor James Gandolfini), 2015 James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award Winner Urmil Dalal of Lodi High School and Tom Richardson of Downtown Community Television Center of NYC following the Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow awards presentations on Nov. 7th, 2015
JFOT Festival Director Tom Meyers opens the 2015 JFOT Screening / Awards Ceremony at Fort Lee High School on Nov. 7th, 2015
2015 JFOT finalists with Johanna Antonacci (sister of the late actor James Gandolfini), FDU Professor of film Elliot Hoffman and Tom Richardson of Downtown Community Television Center of NYC
20 Influential Silent Films Every Movie Buff Should See - Fort Lee at number 19!!!!!
Hooray for The Musketeers of Pig Alley shot here in Fort Lee, NJ in 1912 on Main Street opposite Gerome Ave! This film was ranked 19th out of the top 20 all time silent films to be considered a must see by Taste of Cinema http://www.tasteofcinema.com/…/20-influential-silent-fil…/3/. We have a Gangs of Fort Lee Film History tour once a year where we pass by this site and other film and real life mobster sites including the site where director Martin Scorsese shot some scenes for the classic gangster film Goodfellas in Fort Lee. The Musketeers of Pig Alley, directed by DW Griffith, holds up very well due in part to the innovative and ground breaking camera work by Billy Bitzer!
Fort Lee Film Commission Going Hollywood: The Champion Documentary to Screen at the Cinecon 51 Film Festival in Hollywood, CA in September, 2015
Cinecon 51 Film Festival has selected the Fort Lee Film Commission documentary The Champion to screen as part of their 2015 Film Festival in Hollywood, California in September.
The film is scheduled to screen Sunday, September 6th at the landmark Grauman's Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers and Chairman Nelson Page will attend and will travel to Hollywood at their own cost as this is an event not to be missed and a great honor for Fort Lee, NJ the first American film town to have a documentary about our film history screened in the most famous film town in the world, Hollywood.
A Fox Studio Centennial Exhibit: From Fort Lee, NJ to Century City, CA 1915-2015 at the Fort Lee Museum from March 28th through the end of the Year
The Fort Lee Film Commission has mounted a centennial exhibit on Fox Studio, a studio started in Fort Lee, NJ in 1915 when Fort Lee was the first American film town. This exhibit follows Fox Studio from Fort Lee through the 1910's to California by the late teens and 1920s through today. The exhibit includes archival photos and artifacts from the Fort Lee Film Commission collection and artifacts from private collectors and archival stills from Fox News. Museum hours are weekends Noon to 4pm, Wednesday evenings 7 pm to 9 pm and for groups during the week by appointment. For further info, call (201) 693-2763. The Fort Lee Museum is located at 1589 Parker Avenue with free parking on the Palisade Avenue side of the building.
Fox News correspondent Laura Ingle in the Fort Lee Museum as she handles live network feed per coverage of the Fox Centennial exhibit in the museum. Fox News Senior Producer Pater Russo in fg. Photo courtesy of Donna Brennan.
Left to right Fort Lee Film Commission Chair Nelson Page, Fox News Director of Development Clay Rawson,Fort Lee Historical Society Vice President Lou Azzollini, Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers. JoAnn Fox Weingarten (Great-Granddaughter of Fox Studio Founder William Fox), Barbara Bordiga Fox (Granddaughter of William Fox) artist and Fort Lee Historical Society member Tom Austin, Fort Lee Film Commission member Kay Nest and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. The Fort Lee Film Commission presented the painting Founding of Fox Studio: Fort Lee, NJ 1915 by artist Tom Austin to the Fox family during this exhibit reception at the Fort Lee Museum on May 12, 2015 in celebration of the exhibit Fox Studio Centennial: From Fort Lee, NJ to Century City, CA 1915-2015.
FORT LEE FILM COMMISSION OPENS NEW OFFICE AT 1363 INWOOD TERRACE
The Fort Lee Film Commission / Fort Lee Department of Cultural & Heritage Affairs formally opened its new office on October 7th, 2014 with a "film" cutting ceremony.
Pictured left to right are Borough Administrator Al Restaino, Fort Lee Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Margaret Maclay, Councilman Joseph Cervieri, Fort Lee Historical Society Treasurer Paul Umrichin, Fort Lee Film Commission Chairman Nelson Page, Mayor Mark Sokolich, Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers, Councilman Harvey Sohmer, Councilman Michael Sargenti, Councilwoman Ila Kasofsky, Councilman Peter Suh, Police Chief Keith Bendul and Deputy Chief Tim Ford. Photo courtesy of Donna Brennan of the Fort Lee Film Commission.
Fort Lee Film Commission documentary "The Champion: A Story of America's First Film Town" premiered at the Golden Door International Film Festival at the Landmark Loew's Theatre in Jersey City on September 20, 2014
The Fort Lee Film Commission documentary "The Champion: A Story of America's First Film Town" premiered at the Landmark Jersey Loew's Theatre in Jersey City on Saturday, September 20th , 2014. This documentary will be submitted to film festivals nationwide through 2015. This film not only documents the first studio built in the Fort Lee area but it tells the story of the rise and fall of Fort Lee as the first American film town.
Left to right, Champion documentary Producer Tom Meyers, Executive Producer Kris Fraga, Producer John Sikes, Director Marc Perez and Associate Producer Nelson Page at the premiere screening at the Golden Door International Film Fest in the Landmark Loew's Theatre in Jersey City
2014 Fort Lee Film Commission Barrymore Award Presented to Acclaimed Actor Paul Sorvino
The Fort Lee Film Commission presents our annual Barrymore Award to acclaimed actor Paul Sorvino at the Golden Door International Film Fest in Jersey City on September 20, 2014.
Left to right: Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers, Golden Door Film Fest Executive Director Bill Sorvino, Fort Lee Film Commission Chair Nelson Page and Paul Sorvino.
Frank Sinatra Birthday Sing-Off - Friday, December 12, 2014
The vibe from the Friday night Dec. 12 Fort Lee Film Commission / GW Grill Frank Sinatra Birthday Sing Off is still strong - what a night and we will do it bigger and better next year for Old Blue Eyes centennial! Right in the shadow of the old Riviera Nightclub in Fort Lee where he performed many a night! Here are some great photos from Fort Lee Film Commission member and photographer Donna Brennan! Congrats to all 11 of our contestants and to our winner, George Chartofillis who will soon have a gig at the GW as his first prize award! He killed when he sang That's Life.
Photos Courtesy of Donna Brennan of the Fort Lee Film Commission
Winner of our Frank Sinatra Birthday Sing Off - George Chartofillis
Left to right, Fort Lee Film Commission Chair Nelson Page, our winner George, Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers and
GW Grill public relations person Lisette
Crowd shot during event
Close up of Sinatra Sing Off contestant Ricky Blake at the mic
Sinatra sing off contestant Alanna Q. Boyneello
2014 Battle of the High School Bands
Congratulations to our 2014 Fort Lee Film Commission Battle of the High School Bands winning band "Owen Mack And The Immaculates." The band won our winner take all prize of $500 and the chance to play at the 2015 Fort Lee Arts & Music Fest. Band members are Owen McCloskey, who is a junior at Northern Valley Old Tappan, Andre Broomes, who is a senior at Bogota High School, and Dominick Calabrese, asenior at Bogota High School. Also thanks to our Battle of the Bands MC Christine Vitale, legendary DJ at WFDU radio in Teaneck.
Fort Lee Film Commission Presents the 2013 Barrymore Award to American comic legend of stage, screen and TV and Fort Lee Riviera Nightclub Performer Larry Storch at Fort Lee Historical Society Night at the Riviera New Year's Eve Fundraiser
Left to right Fort Lee Film Commission chairman Nelson Page, Boxing legend Jake LaMotta, 2013 Barrymore Award winner Larry Storch, Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers and Fort Lee Historical Society Vice President Lou Azzollini.
Sellout crowd at Fort Lee Historical Society New Year's Eve Night at the Riviera Fundraiser at In Napoli
Restaurant in Fort Lee - guests of honor in fg Larry Storch and Jake LaMotta appear at table in fg during
short film on the Riviera history and honoree Larry Storch produced by the Fort Lee Film Commission.
Fort Lee Development Project adds Barrymore Theatre
A one-screen cinema and large scale film museum that is slated to be part of the major downtown redevelopment project in Fort Lee will be named the Barrymore Theatre in honor of the American stage and screen's most famous family with ties to the borough. This film museum will document the role Fort Lee and New Jersey played as
birthplace of the American film industry. The cinema will showcase independent films, retrospectives and student films in addition to being a location for film symposiums and festivals. The sidewalk area outside the
cinema / film museum will include a Walk of Fame honoring both the film pioneers of Fort Lee and modern day filmmakers with roots in New Jersey. The Fort Lee Film Commission successfully petitioned the Fort Lee Mayor and
Council to pass a resolution to name the cinema after the Barrymore family due to the fact that 18-year-old John Barrymore made his stage debut on Main Street in an area very close to the theatre location. John's father Maurice Barrymore, famous Broadway thespian, was a resident of the Coytesville section of Fort Lee having moved to a house on Hammett Avenue in the late 1890's. Here John Barrymore lived with his dad in 1900-1901 and his dad, a Captain of
the Coytesville fire company, directed a fundraiser for the department at Buckheister's Hotel on Main Street and Central Road where 18-year-old John made his stage debut in the play A Man of the World. John's sister Ethel and brother Lionel went on to start their film careers in Fort Lee. The resolution was approved by the Fort Lee Mayor and Council unanimously on February 14, 2013, on the eve of John Barrymore's 131st birthday.
still 1 - Robin Hood title card
still 2 - Pictured are Barbara Tennant as Maid Marian and Robert Frazier as Robin Hood
Eclair's Robin Hood Film Centennial
2012 marks the centennial of the production of the film Robin Hood at Eclair Studio in Fort Lee, NJ. This film was found, restored and preserved by the Fort Lee Film Commission in 2004. Currently the Fort Lee Film Commission is at work with the Fort Lee High School music department in hopes that Fort Lee High School student musicians, under the direction of their instructor, can score this film for a borough wide screening. Earlier this year, Rutgers University professor and Fort Lee Film Commission member Richard Koszarski introduced a screening of Robin Hood at the
National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. A centennial screening of the 1912 film Robin Hood and rare presentation of the Maurice Tourneur film Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915) with live piano accompaniment were introduced by film historian Koszarski, author of Fort Lee, the Film Town and Hollywood on the Hudson. Koszarski's presentation outlines the influence of French culture on early cinema production and investigates the history of the studios, the directors, and the stars established in Fort Lee, New Jersey, known as the "birthplace of the motion picture industry."
Fort Lee Celebrates the Centennial of a Fort Lee Born Studio: Keystone
The Fort Lee Film Commission thanks the student actors / crew of Fort Lee High School and their teacher and our Mack & Mabel director Jodi Etra for the recent Fort Lee Film Commission production of the Jerry Herman musical Mack & Mabel about the founding of Keystone Studio in Fort Lee in 1912. We also would like to thank film historian Paul E. Gierucki for the loan of the 1912 Keystone film A Grocery Clerk's Romance, shot outside Rambo's Hotel in Fort Lee in 1912 - this
film was screened as part of the musical. We thank Fort Lee High School graduate Alexis Marnel, Executive Director of The Artists Collective for Social Change, the New Jersey Education Association and the Bergen County Division of Cultural & Heritage Affairs for their grants and assistance in making this project possible. Also a great big thanks to Film Commission member Marc Perez and his partners Kris Fraga and John Sikes at Sirk Productions for their creation of our wonderful clip reel used to open the performances. We thank all our cast members including our Mabel (Sarah
Moore) and our Mack (Jonathan Portee) who helped, along with the rest of the cast, to bring this chapter of Fort Lee and American film history alive on the stage of the Fort Lee High School.
This production was funded in part with a Bergen County History grant and a New Jersey Education Association grant along with support from the Artists' Collective for Social Change in NYC. As thanks to our cast & crew we were able to bring them to the Circle in the Square Theatre to see the hit Broadway show Godspell. Thanks to Fort Lee High School graduate and Executive Directive of the Artists' Collective Alexis Marnel for providing the tickets to this performance and for setting up a Q&A with the Godspell cast after the show for our Mack & Mabel Fort Lee High School cast.
Fort Lee High School students and Mack & Mabel actors (left to right) Jasmine Asgari, Deanna
Morin, Godspell actor Telly Leung, Fort Lee High School students and Mack & Mabel actors
Kimberly Barbosa, Keila Haskins and Stephanie Spivak.
Godspell star Corbin Bleu and Mack & Mabel director and Fort Lee High School drama
department teacher Jodi Etra.
Fort Lee Film Commission Film History Map of Fort Lee Available Free to the Public
The Fort Lee Film Commission was awarded a 2011 Bergen County History Grant to develop and print a film history map of Fort Lee, the first American film town. This guide to the birthplace of the American film industry includes rare archival photos from the Fort Lee Film Commission collection as well as informative narrative and a descriptive map of the borough listing the locations of film history sites and information as to if the structures still exist. For copies of this map, call the Film Commission at (201)
693-2763 or visit the Fort Lee Museum (1588 Palisade Avenue, hours weekends Noon to 4PM and Wednesdays 7-9PM), the Fort Lee Borough Hall, 309 Main Street, or the Fort Lee Public Library, 320 Main Street.
New Jersey Education Association Awards Fort Lee Film Commission $5,000 Grant
The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) recently presented a $5,000 sponsorship check to the Fort Lee Film Commission. The NJEA via this sponsorship will partner with the Fort Lee Film Commission on a number of programs in 2012. These programs include the annual Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival in November and the birthday luncheon for the first woman director in cinema history Alice Guy Blache on July 1. This sponsorship funding was also used to mount the recent Reel Jersey Girls Film Symposium at the Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. The funding is much appreciated and will also be accessed for outreach and education to New Jersey students as regards the film history of this pioneer film state of New Jersey.
Hooray for Hollywood and TCM's "Movies & Moguls"
Reproduced from newsobserver.com - submitted by adriennj on 11/01/2010 - 07:35
Movies are one of America's greatest contributions to culture, and that's what makes "Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood" (TCM, 8 tonight), so wonderful. [www.tcm.com/moguls]
The rise of "Hollywood" is the story of immigrants, ingenuity, creativity and big business; in other words, the history of movies has all the elements for great storytelling.
The seven-part series (each only an hour) looks at the industry from its very beginnings, through the ground shifting that occurred via the 1960s film auteurs.
The scope and depth of the documentary, narrated by the regal Christopher Plummer, is impressive. There's rarely seen and never-before-seen footage, but more than that, it's packed with facts presented in an agile way.
I screened two parts; the first, "Peepshow Pioneers," introduces such great names as the Warner Brothers (who opened their first theater, the Bijou, in a storefront using borrowed chairs from an undertaker), Louis B. Mayer and Carl Laemmle. Thomas Edison, who invented moving picture machine, comes across as a genius, not above using thuggery to protect his intellectual property. (Penny arcade films, by the way, sound a lot like an early version of YouTube.) We learn Fort Lee, N.J. was the first Hollywood, and D.W. Griffith was a stage actor who worked for Edison's movie company, then went to a competitor for more money, somewhat reluctantly, to work as a director. And there were women involved in those early years. One, Alice Ghee, was a secretary who made films after work.
The second part "The Birth of Hollywood," covers 1907 to 1920 when films went west and films starting to become full-length and diversified in genre -- animated, comedy, Westerns all sprung up. We meet Charlie Chaplin, and learn about the rise of Mary Pickford and the star system. Indeed, women are highlighted in this part; it's interesting that women played a major role in Hollywood's development, as artists and audience, (one historian says the industry was built by 'immigrants, women and Jews'), and nowadays, women struggle to find roles on screen and as directors. Griffith's controversial "Birth of a Nation" also undergoes clear-headed analysis.
Besides film historians, the documentary includes descendants of some of these great pioneers, so you get a more personal sense of them.
TCM is following each hour with films that reflect the period covered in the hour. At 9, after "Peepshow Pioneers" the network will air the films of Thomas Edison, 30 narratives shorts and documentaries. Then at 11, the documentary airs again, followed just after midnight with eight shorts by D.W. Griffith (before "Birth of a Nation"), and then at 2:10 a.m. there are 16 shorts by French filmmaker Georges Melies, who incorporated special effects into his films.
"The Champion" release trailer
Coming Soon...The Barrymore Film Center
The Borough of Fort Lee, NJ and the Fort Lee Film
Commission will break ground in 2018 on the Barrymore Film
Center, a 260-seat cinema and attached film museum to be
built on the very street where the American film industry
was born over a century ago. The BFC will showcase classic
American and foreign films, art house films, films of
emerging filmmakers, student films and numerous film
festivals throughout the year including one operated by
the Fort Lee Film Commission. In addition, the Fort Lee
Film Commission will operate a yearly silent film festival
to showcase the films produced here in Fort Lee, NJ as
well as silent films from around the world and these films
will be screened with live music as the cinema will
include a musicians pit. The BFC will also operate a
student filmmakers boot camp as part of our annual Jersey
Filmmakers of Tomorrow High School Student Film Festival
and the top student filmmaker each year will win our James
Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award named after the New
Jersey native and famed actor. The BFC will work with film
archives from across the country and around the world to
bring film programs, museum exhibits and speakers into
Fort Lee, NJ, the birthplace of the American film
WORLD DVD PREMIERES THIS OCTOBER 17!
THE CHAMPION: A STORY OF AMERICA’S FIRST FILM TOWN. (2-DISC DELUXE EDITION)
TWO-DISC DELUXE EDITION INCLUDES 2 DOCUMENTARIES, 8 FILMS FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF FILMMAKING IN FORT LEE, NJ AND A BOOKLET WRITTEN BY RENOWNED FILM HISTORIAN RICHARD KOSZARSKI
Milestone Film & Video and The Fort Lee Film Commission are thrilled to announce the home video release on October 17, 2017, of the deluxe 2-disc, 3-hour edition of The Champion. The Fort Lee Film Commission worked with the Library of Congress and the Eastman House to obtain rare films not publicly distributed prior to this release. Also included from an original nitrate print, is the first American produced film version of Robin Hood, produced by Éclair Studios in Fort Lee in 1912 and given to the Fort Lee Film Commission by a collector. This deluxe 2-disc DVD set features a new 2K restoration of the complete Ghost Town (1935) an astonishing and haunting amateur documentary about post-cinema Fort Lee.
For stills, press kit, screener or interviews with Richard Koszarski or Tom Meyers of the Fort Lee Film Commission please contact Dennis Doros of Milestone Films at (201) 767-3117 / Email: email@example.com
On disc one is the incredible Fort Lee Film Commission-produced documentary, The Champion A Story of America’s First Film Town by the Fort Lee Film Commission and Sirk Productions. When Mark Dintenfass arrived in Fort Lee in 1910, the sleepy New Jersey town just a ferry ride away from Manhattan was already a favorite location for nickelodeon-era filmmakers. Why not, he reasoned, build a studio and save on the expense and hassle of travel across the Hudson? Purchasing land and a building in nearby Englewood Cliffs, Dintenfass founded the Champion Studios, where he produced silent westerns and Civil War epics. Others followed, and soon there were movie studios all over Fort Lee. Sadly, the land rush proved to be a bubble that burst when the American film industry moved west to Hollywood. Based on Richard Koszarski’s book, Fort Lee, the Film Town, The Champion tells the story of that brief golden age and of a modern-day fight to save the era’s last remaining studio — reminding us the preservation of cinema history involves more than just the restoration of the films.
This set will also include the five remaining films produced at the Champion Studio, which have never been released on DVD prior to this set. The films include a timely story on the rights of Native Americans The Indian Land Grab (1910). These films make up the beginnings of Universal Studio, which purchased the Champion Studio building in Fort Lee in 1912 at their birth.
Additional films include the recently restored A Grocery Clerk’s Romance (1912) produced by Mack Sennett and shot outside the historic Rambo’s Hotel in Fort Lee. This film was used in the successful efforts to save this structure from demolition and preserve it for future generations. A wonderful addition to the DVD set is the 1918 charming comedy feature film The Danger Game starring Madge Kennedy and produced at Goldwyn Studios in Fort Lee. New scores have been created for the films by the fine composers/musicans Ben Model, Donald Sosin and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
This DVD of films from America’s first film town is dedicated to the late Gloria Viola Meyers, who worked for Consolidated Film Industries, a division of Republic Studio, and to all the residents of Fort Lee who worked in the studios, film laboratories and film storage facilities in the birthplace of the American film industry.
Funding has been made possible in part through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.
THE CHAMPION: A STORY OF AMERICA’S FIRST FILM TOWN includes:
* The Champion. 2015. 35 minutes. Directed by Marc J. Perez. Based on the book Fort Lee, the Film Town by Richard Koszarski. Produced by Tom Meyers and John L. Sikes. Executive producer, Kristian Fraga. Associate producers Richard Koszarski and Nelson Page. Photography by Donna Brennan, Michael Grand, Marc J. Perez, Dylan Russell. Edited by B.B. Enriquez. Music by Ryan Shore. Narrated by Matt Zoller Seitz with Richard Koszarski, Tom Meyers, Nancy O’Mallon, Armand Pohan and Albert H. Wunsch III.
* GHOST TOWN: THE STORY OF FORT LEE* by THEODORE HUFF AND MARK A. BORGATTA, 1935, 17 MINUTES
* THE INDIAN LAND GRAB* CHAMPION STUDIOS, 1910, 11 MINUTES
* A DAUGHTER OF DIXIE* CHAMPION STUDIOS, 1911, 10 MINUTES
* NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS* UNIVERSAL VICTOR, 1912, 9 MINUTES
* FLO’S DISCIPLINE* UNIVERSAL VICTOR, 1912, 11 MINUTES
* MARKED CARDS* UNIVERSAL CHAMPION, 1913, 10 MINUTES
* THE DANGER GAME** by HARRY POLLARD, 1918, 61 MINUTES, starring Madge Kennedy and Tom Moore
* ROBIN HOOD*** by ÉTIENNE ARNAUD, 1912, 31 MINUTES
* A GROCERY CLERK’S ROMANCE*** by MACK SENNETT, 1912, 8 MINUTES. Courtesy of Paul E. Gierucki.
*Music Composed and Performed by Ben Model.
**Music Composed and Performed by Donald Sosin.
***Music by Rodney Sauer and performed by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
2017 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival Entry Period Starts March 1st
The Fort Lee Film Commission announces its 13th annual Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow High School Student Film Festival. The festival is open to all high school age students who reside in Bergen County. The entry period runs from March 1st through July 1st, 2017. Applications are available at www.jerseyfilmmakersoftomorrow.org.
The deadline to receive films is October 1st. Our judges will then select the top ten finalist films and we will have a screening / awards ceremony on Saturday, November 4th at iPic Theaters in Fort Lee. Our top prize, the James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award, is a $500 cash prize and internships with both Sirk Productions and Downtown Community Television both in New York City. Our panelists of judges include Emmy Award winning director and member of the Executive Board of the Directors Guild of America Gary Donatelli and Award Winning actor and New Jersey native the late James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini.
Historic Fort Lee Film History Site Rambo’s Saloon Dedication Ceremony September 28, 2016
The Fort Lee Film Commission, Fort Lee Historic Preservation Commission and the Fort Lee Historical Society are pleased to announce that the Fort Lee Mayor & Council on August 22nd, 2013, approved an ordinance that will allow the Fort Lee Housing Authority to purchase the historic Rambo's Saloon building on First Street in the Coytesville section of Fort Lee. We thank those that supported our efforts including those in Fort Lee and around the world via signatures on our online petition on the Fort Lee Historical Society and Fort Lee Film Commission web sites. We also thank Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for his leadership on this issue and Councilman Armand Pohan for his creative solution to save the building. The entire Mayor & Council deserve praise as this is one of the few times in Fort Lee’s long history that a historic building was saved from demolition.
On September 28th, 2016 the Fort Lee Film Commission joined the Fort Lee Housing Authority, Fort Lee Mayor & Council and the Office of the Bergen County Executive to dedicate the restored Rambo’s Saloon in the Coytesville section of Fort Lee on First Street. This house, dating to the mid 19th century, was the location of many film shoots and hosted on a daily basis film crews from nearby studios in the 1910s during Fort Lee’s days as the birthplace of the American film industry and the first American film town. Hundreds of films were shot at the exterior and one survives and can be seen on the Fort Lee Film Commission web site (www.fortleefilm.org) (A Grocery Clerk’s Romance, 1912 – Keystone Studio). The building was also used by films crews as a dressing room on the second floor and in fact a truck full of silent film costumes has been retrieved from the building and the Fort Lee Film Commission will have them restored and displayed at the soon to be built Barrymore Film Center in Fort Lee. The Fort Lee Film Commission petitioned the Borough of Fort Lee to save it when Rambo’s faced destruction when it was sold to a developer to replace with a new duplex two years ago. An online petition was created by the Film Commission and people around the world signed on to help save this historic site important to world cinema history. We especially thank film historian and preservationist Paul Gierucki for making available to us his recently discovered and restored film A Grocery Clerk’s Romance (1912, Keystone) which was shot entirely at the exterior of Rambo’s and showcased the building. This along with Arthur C. Miller and Fred J. Balshofer’s 1967 book One Reel a Week played a large part in the successful drive to save the site.
On hand for the dedication ceremony was Fort Lee Housing Authority Executive Director Terry Corriston, members of the Fort Lee Housing Authority including chair Judy Silver, Bergen County Executive James Tedesco, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and Fort Lee Council Persons Ila Kasofsky and Harvey Sohmer (liaison to the Fort Lee Historic Preservation Commission). Members of the Fort Lee Film Commission in attendance were Tom Meyers, Executive Director, Nelson Page (Chair), Richard Koszarski, Donna Brennan and former Film Commission Chair Lou Azzollini. Members of the Fort Lee Historic Preservation Commission on hand were Bob Donohue, Councilman Sohmer, Bert Rosenbluth and Jackie Kates. Also present were Milestone Films founders Amy Heller and Dennis Doros and Bergen County Division of Historic and Cultural Affairs Director Cynthia Foster. The structure will be used for two affordable apartment units for veterans. The historic marker, created by the Fort Lee Film Commission, was unveiled during the ceremony.
Bergen County Executive James Tedesco presents the Fort Lee Housing Authority with a check for the restoration of the historic Rambo's Hotel on first Street in Fort Lee for the conversion of the structure into two affordable housing unites for US military veterans. Pictured left to right, County Executive Tedesco, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, Fort Lee Councilwoman Ila Kasofsky, Fort Lee Councilman and Historic Preservation Commission Liaison Harvey Sohmer, Fort Lee Housing Authority Chair Judy Silver and Fort Lee Housing Authority Executive Director Terry Corriston.
Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers speaks at dedication of the restored Rambo's Hotel film history site.
Recently Discovered Keystone Film "A Grocery Clerk's Romance" shot outside Rambo's Saloon circa 1912
Fort Lee Film Commission Asks Your Support in Kickstarter Campaign to Raise Funds to Produce Documentary on Pioneer Filmmaker Alice Guy Blaché of Solax Studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey
The Fort Lee Film Commission has been assisting LA based filmmaker Pamela Green over the past two years re her quest to produce a documentary on pioneer filmmaker Alice Guy Blaché. As you know, Madame Blaché built her Solax Studio here in Fort Lee, NJ in 1912 and produced, directed and wrote hundreds of films before women had the right to vote in the US.
We have made available to Pamela our archival still and film footage for use in her doc. I recently took my vacation to travel to LA to visit with Pamela and her production team in her studio and to see first hand what she has accomplished.
She needs to raise completion funds for this doc - see the link below:
Please spread this link around as any help you can provide will not only lead to the completion of this doc, but as you can see in the trailer re the link above, it will bring great notice to Fort Lee and in light of the cinema and film museum that will be built in the not to distant future, it will help us establish Fort Lee as a center of film awareness and history that can and will support a tremendous annual film festival.
Alice Guy Blaché Voted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2013
On June 25, 2013, the New Jersey Hall of Fame announced that among its inductees for 2013 is the first woman filmmaker in cinema history, film pioneer Alice Guy Blaché of Solax Studio in Fort Lee, NJ. Madame Blache' will be inducted posthumously on October 21, 2013 during ceremonies in the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. All 2013 Inductees will be announced that night during the Monday night Giants vs. Vikings NFL game at the adjacent Met Life Stadium. The Fort Lee Film Commission has lobbied for the election of Alice Guy Blaché into the New Jersey Hall of Fame for the past several years and we thank all the commissioners of the New Jersey Hall of Fame, along with the voters, for their support in making the inclusion of this cinema pioneer possible.
Fort Lee Film Commission Dedicates New Grave Marker to Cinema Pioneer Alice Guy Blache on Her July 1st, 2012 Birthday
Members of the Fort Lee Film Commission and guests dedicated a new marker at the grave of Alice Guy Blache at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, NJ on Madame Blache's 139th birthday, July 1st, 2012. The Fort Lee Film Commission designed the marker which includes the logo of her Fort Lee, NJ Studio Solax at center and includes this wording on the stone:
First Woman Motion Picture Director
First Woman Studio Head
President of Solax Company, Fort Lee, NJ
This grave marker is dedicated on the centennial of Madame Blache building and opening her Solax Studio in Fort Lee, NJ at the present day site of the A&P on Lemoine Avenue - the Fort Lee Film Commission erected a marker at that site several years ago honoring Madame Blache.
Pictured above from left to right: New York Women in Film & Television's Christina Kotlar, For Lee Film Commission volunteer Stacy D'Arc, New York Women in Film & Television representatives Susan Lazarus, Kimberly Skyrme, Gloria Lazarus, Alice Guy Blache biographer Alison McMahan, New Jersey based filmmaker Nancy O'Mallon, Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers, Fort Lee Historic Committee member Patrick Hammer, Fort Lee Film Commission member Rutgers Professor of Film Richard Koszarski and former Fort Lee Councilman Larry Goldberg.
Directors Guild of America Bestows Special Directorial Lifetime Achievement Award on Fort Lee's Alice Guy Blache
The DGA bestowed a Posthumous Special Directorial Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement to the first woman director in cinema history, Alice Guy Blache at their DGA Honors ceremony in New York City on October 13th. Madame Blache built Solax Studio on Lemoine Avenue in Fort Lee in 1912 and she produced, directed and wrote hundreds of films at this location through World War I. The Fort Lee Film Commission has been lobbying for this DGA award for Madame Blache for the past decade. We thank the entire DGA for this honor and most especially DGA Vice President and 2009 Fort Lee Film Commission Alice Award winner Gary Donatelli for his leadership within the DGA to make this honor possible. Members of the Fort Lee Film Commission attended this ceremony.
The Fort Lee Film Commission worked with DGA VP Gary Donatelli, The Whitney Museum's Joan Simon, Alice Guy biographer Alison McMahan, New York Women in Film & Television, Christina Kotlar and Nancy O'Mallon and Garden State Film Festival Executive Director Diane Raver to make the DGA Special Directorial Lifetime Achievement Award to Alice Guy Blache possible. We thank Mr. Scorsese and the DGA for a wonderful presentation and tribute to Fort Lee's own Madame Blache of Solax Studio.
FLFC holds symposium on first woman director in film history
The Fort Lee Film Commission sponsored a symposium on the first woman director in world cinema history, Alice Guy Blache of Solax Studio, which was located in Fort Lee, NJ. This April 2nd, 2011 symposium was held in the Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ as part of the 2011 Garden State Film Festival. Visit http://www.gsff.org for further information on the 2011 Garden State Film Festival (March 31-April 3) at Asbury Park, NJ.
Symposium panel members (left to right): Fort Lee Film Commission program organizer Christina Kotlar Turchyn, casting director Kimberly Skyrme, writer / curator and arts administrator Joan Simon, symposium moderator and Executive Director of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFTV) Terry Lawler, New Jersey based writer / director / producer Hisani Dubose and New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission Executive Director Steve Gorelick. Not pictured is symposium member and GSFF Executive Director Diane Raver.
Left to right, symposium panelists Hisani Dubose, GSFF Executive Director and 2011 Fort Lee Film Commission Alice Guy Blache Award winner Diane Raver and Steve Gorelick.
Fort Lee Film Commission presents 2010 Alice Guy Blache Award to Parker Posey
The Fort Lee Film Commission presents its 2010 Alice Guy Blache Award to one of the great American actresses of our day - Ms. Parker Posey - June 11 at the Lake Placid Film Forum, which hosted this award ceremony as part of a fantastic annual film festival. Pictured belowe from left to right: Tom Meyers, Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director, Parker Posey, Lake Placid Film Forum Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll, and Fort Lee Film Commission Chairman Nelson Page.
HOLLYWOOD ON THE HUDSON - New Book Authored by Fort Lee Film Commission's Richard Koszarski
Rutgers University Professor and film historian Richard Koszarski's new book HOLLYWOOD ON THE HUDSON is available in book stores. This comprehensive study of the film industry on the East Coast tells a unique story that has not been well documented over the years. When the film industry left for California there remained a vibrant and active film community in the New York City / Fort Lee, NJ area. Professor Koszarski uncovers the facts and details of this interesting chapter of American film history.
Left to right - Fort Lee Film Commission Chairman Nelson Page, 2006 Barrymore Award Honoree Academy Award winning actress Celeste Holm, Fort Lee Film Commission executive Director Tom Meyers and Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Festival Director Christina Kotlar at the Lafayette Theatre during the 2006 "Evening with Celeste Holm" tribute (photo by Donna Brennan).
2005 FORT LEE FILM COMMISSION BARRYMORE AWARD RECIPIENT THREEE-TIME ACADEMY AWARD WINNING FILM EDITOR THELMA SCHOONMAKER WITH JERSEY FILMMAKERS OF TOMORROW FINALISTS
Above: Fort Lee Film Commission 2005 Barrymore Award recipient three-time Academy Award winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker joins Festival Director Alan Hofmanis with Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow finalists at the 2005 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow awards dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Fort Lee. The Fort Lee Film Commission congratulates Thelma Schoonmaker on her 2007 Academy Award for film editing for the 2007 Best Picture "The Departed."
Law & Order in Fort Lee
Left to right - actress Kim Delaney, Law & Order SVU director and Fort Lee High School graduate Peter Leto, Law & Order Emmy-winning actress Mariska Hargitay, and Fort Lee Film Commission members Donna Brennan and Tom Meyers at recent film shoot in In Napoli Restaurant in Fort Lee (photo courtesy Donna Brennan).
Fort Lee Film Commission Restores 1912 Eclair Film "Robin Hood"
The Fort Lee Film Commission recently completed a two-year restoration of the only known existing print of the first surviving American film version of Robin Hood. This film, made at the Eclair Studio in Fort Lee in 1912 (current day site of Constitution Park on Linwood Avenue), was restored from a 16mm print and 35mm nitrate elements provided to the Film Commission by the late film collector Al Dettlaff. The film was restored and blown to 35mm. Fuji Films donated the film stock and the restoration process was directed by Sirk Productions' Kris Fraga, Marc Perez, John Sikes and B.B. Enriquez. Metropolis Film Labs of Manhattan under the direction of Jack Rizzo performed the lab work. Film historian and commission member Richard Koszarski led the restoration team in the reconstruction of inter title cards and insertion of 35mm elements. The Film Commission premiered Robin Hood at a June 23 screening at the Fine Arts Theatre in Hollywood, California. Pictured at the screening are film historian and Entertainment Tonight movie critic Leonard Maltin (center), Film Commission Chairman Nelson Page (left) and Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers (right). The Film Commission will hold the New Jersey premiere of "Robin Hood" during the October "Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow" program.
Photo by Donna Brennan
Teens of the Lou Costello Jr. Youth Center of East Los Angeles Complete "The Lou Costello Project" Film
The teens of the Lou Costello Jr. Recreation Center premiered their film "The Lou Costello Project" on June 24 at the Fine Arts Theatre in Hollywood, California. This film, produced jointly by the Mary Pickford Institute and the Fort Lee Film Commission, details the history of the Center and its founder Lou Costello and highlights the life of the kids of the Center today. A special thanks to documentary filmmaker Andie Hicks of the Mary Pickford Institute for her work with the teens of the Center. The Fort Lee Film Commission hopes to enter this film in film festivals across the country including the 2007 Garden State Film Festival.
Former FLFC Chair Lou Azzollini, Chris Costello, FLFC Exeuctive Director Tom Meyers, FLFC volunteer Scott Manganelli and Lou Costello Jr. Youth Center Recreation Coordinator Louis Euzarraga are pictured holding photos of Lou Costello at the Center.
TCM Moguls & Movie Stars Producer Jon Wilkman Thanks Fort Lee Film Commission
HBO THE PACIFIC Actor Jon Seda Receives Fort Lee Film Commission 2011 Lewis J. Selznick Award
The Fort Lee Film Commission presented actor Jon Seda with the 2011 Lewis J. Selznick Award during a recent screening of HBO's The Pacific at the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center. The Lewis J. Selznick Award is named after the man who founded World Pictures Corporation in Fort Lee in 1914 and eventually Peerless Pictures Studios in Fort Lee. Mr. Seda portrayed New Jersey born US Marine Medal of Honor winner John Basilone. Sergeant Basilone was killed in at Iwo Jima in World War II. Currently Mr. Seda stars in HBO's Treme. Jon Seda grew up locally in Clifton and has not forgotten his Jersey
roots. His portrayal of Sergeant Basilone remains one of the finest performances of a soldier in war ever seen in film or television.
Pictured left to right, Tom Meyers FLFC Executive Director, Jon Seda, Diane Hawkins (niece of Sergeant John Basilone) and Lou Azzollini, Fort Lee Historical Society Vice President (photo credits: Donna Brennan, FLFC / HBO)