Fort Lee Development Project adds Barrymore Theatre
A three-screen cinema and 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 selected first run movies. 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.
The Fort Lee Film Commission and Palisade Interstate Park Present: The Gangs of Fort Lee - April 17th at 7:30 PM at the Fort Lee Historic Park Theatre (Hudson Terrace and Bruce Reynolds Blvd)
This one night film festival celebrates to origins of the gangster film genre born in Fort Lee in 1912 with the DW Griffith directed film The Musketeers of Pig Alley. The Fort Lee Film Commission's Tom Meyers and Palisade Interstate Park Historical Interpreter Eric Nelsen will discuss the seminal role Fort Lee played in the birth of the gangster film. There will be a free screening of the short 1912 film The Musketeers of Pig Alley as well as a rare screening of the 1962 classic Italian film Mafioso directed by Alberto Lattuada and staring Alberto Sordi. The final portions of the film Mafioso were shot in For Lee, West New York and Union City, NJ in addition to the Italian locations. For further info call the Fort Lee Film Commission at (201) 693-2763.
Fort Lee Film Commission Annual Battle of the High School Bands June 7th at 7 PM at the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center
Calling all high school garage bands! Send us your CD's / web links to enter this contest. Winner take all $500 top prize and $250 Wendy's sponsored Audience Choice Award. The event location is the indoor stage of the Fort Lee Community Center at 1355 Inwood Terrace. Deadline for application is June 1st. This event MC will be WFDU-FM
89.1's DJ Christine Vitale. Send music via links to firstname.lastname@example.org. Call (201) 693-2763 for further info.
Fort Lee Film Commission Presents April 12-14th Inherit the Wind Film and Live Play in the Fort Lee Municipal Courtroom
Join us for a free screening of the classic 1960 film Inherit the Wind starring Spencer Tracy - this free screening is on April 12th at 8 PM in the Fort Lee Municipal Courtroom in Borough Hall (309 Main Street). Join us again on April 13th and 14th at 7 PM for a live performance of the stage play Inherit the Wind performed in the Municipal Courtroom in Borough Hall by the Hudson Shakespeare Company - tickets at the door are $10 and $5 for seniors and children. All proceeds go towards programs for the Fort Lee High School Drama Department. Call the Fort Lee Film Commission at (201) 693-2763 for further info.
"Ingredients" to be screened on May 4, 1013
The Fort Lee Environmental Committee / Fort Lee Film Commission screening of the film "Ingredients" on May 4, 2013 at 2 PM on the second floor of the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center (1355 Inwood Terrace). The film will be followed by a symposium organized by the Fort Lee Environmental Committee. The event is free to the public. For further information, call the Fort Lee Film Commission at (201) 592-3663.
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."
The Fort Lee Film Commission Remembers Our Friend and Our 2006 Barrymore
Award Winner Celeste Holm
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 Produced Mack & Mabel Musical
The Fort Lee Film Commission is proud to present our ninth annual Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival. All high school students who reside in Bergen County are eligible to participate in the festival. Below are the application pages - entry forms are due back by July 1st, 2013 and films are due by October 1st, 2013. Last year we received over 100 submissions. This year we will hold our finalists screening on Saturday, November 9th, 2013 at at 3 PM at MediaMix Studio (4 Pearl Court, Allendale, NJ). This studio is the largest sound stage in Bergen County and a perfect venue for our young filmmakers. We thank our sponsors, MediaMIx Studio, NJEA, FDU, the Fort Lee Suburbanite and the County of Bergen. For further info contact the Fort Lee Film Commission at (201) 693-2763.
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.
SOS...Help us save the historic Rambo's Hotel building on First Street in Fort Lee, one of the most important film sites in American film history! Sign the petition today!
The Fort Lee Film Commission and the Fort Lee Historical Society asks you to sign this petition which will be delivered to the Fort Lee Mayor & Council and Fort Lee Zoning Board of Adjustment to Save the historic Rambo's Saloon building on 2423 First Street. This building, which dates back to the Civil War era, was used in the early 20th century as a film location, dressing room area, and meeting place for many of the early film pioneers and studios when Fort Lee was the first American film town. DW Griffth, Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, Mack Sennett and many other film pioneers developed the American film industry in their work on this property in this structure. This is the most important surviving building in the Borough of Fort Lee that was used during Fort Lee's days as the first American film town and this building helped give birth to the American film industry.
Fort Lee Film Commission produced documentary on the first woman director
in cinema history, Alice Guy Blache, is in production
The Fort Lee Film Commission will participate in the Whitney Museum Fall 2009 Alice Guy Blache Retrospective. This will be the largest film retrospective to date on this first lady of the cinema. We will highlight her role as the owner / operator of Solax Studio in Fort Lee. The Fort Lee Film Commission will be filming the Whitney Museum retrospective for inclusion in our documentary on Alice Guy Blache. We hope that this work will lead to Alice Guy Blache's entry into the Director's Guild of America.
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)