Fort Lee Film Commission’s Reel Jersey Girls Women’s History Month Film Festival in March at the Fort Lee Public Library
The Fort Lee Film Commission and the Fort Lee Public Library present a month long film festival dedicated to the women filmmakers, from the pioneers of the early days of cinema in Fort Lee up to a modern young filmmaker of today. The films we screen on March 1st, March 8th and March 15th were all produced and filmed in Fort Lee studios and in Fort Lee locations. Our March 8th program centers on the first woman filmmaker in world cinema history, Alice Guy Blache’, who built her Solax studio in Fort Lee in 1912 where she produced, wrote and directed hundreds of films before women in this nation had the right to vote.
Dates all Wednesdays at 7pm: Wednesday, March 1, 8, 15 & 22
March 1st – Pearl of the Palisades: A Birthday Tribute to Cliffhanger Queen Pearl White
March 8th – Alice Guy Blache’ – Fort Lee NJ Solax Studio Owner and First Woman Director
March 15th – The Danger Game (1918) starring Madge Kennedy
March 22nd – China’s Forgotten Babies: Screening of 2016 documentary by filmmaker Michelle Yu.
Screenings are at the Fort Lee Public Library Meeting Room at 320 Main Street. Admission is free. This program is produced by the Fort Lee Film Commission and the Fort Lee Public Library. For further info call (201) 693-2763.
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.
Free film screening and live performance of A Streetcar Named Desire in Fort Lee
The Fort Lee Film Commission and the Fort Lee Public Library present a free screening of the classic 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. Screening is March 29th at 7pm in the meeting room of the Fort Lee Public Library at 320 Main Street. Admission is free.
On April 7th at 7:30 pm we will have a live performance of A Streetcar Named Desire by the Hudson Shakespeare Company in the Library Meeting Room at 320 Main Street in Fort Lee. Admission is free but seating is limited. Doors open at 7pm.
For further info call us at (201) 693-2763.
2017 Battle of the High School Bands
All bands in NJ of high school age are welcome! The Fort Lee Film Commission seeks all New Jersey based high school garage bands to send us their music and enter our annual Battle of the High School Bands scheduled for May 19th - winner take all for a prize of $500 and a gig at our upcoming June 4th Fort Lee Arts & Music Fest. For further info call (201) 693-2763 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners of 2016 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival
The Fort Lee Film Commission Presented the 2016 Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival Screening/Awards Ceremony at iPic Theaters in Fort Lee, NJ - James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award Winning Film:
CHORES from Waldwick High School - filmmakers Jake Schwenke and Daniel Rinaldi
The 12th annual Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow High School Student Film Festival took place on November 5th at 2pm at iPic Theaters 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 CHORES by Danny Rinaldi, Jake Schwencke, Sergio Scardigno, and Conor Gallagher.
Second Place: China's Forgotten Children by Michelle Yu of Cfreskill High School.
Third Place: Stake-Out by Urmil Dalal of Lodi High School.
We thank iPic theaters of Fort Lee and iPic's Jim Nowicki as well as all of our sponsors 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. For further info contact the Fort Lee Film Commission at (201) 693-2763.
Photo credit: Donna Brennan Fort Lee Film Commission
Above is second place film China's Forgotten Children by Michelle Yu (pictured in clip) from Cresskill High School
Our audience of student filmmakers and their parents in the iPic Theater in Fort Lee for the November 5th Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Finalist Screening and Awards Ceremony
Left to right - the team from the 2016 James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award: Sergio Scardigno, Danny Rinaldi, Conor Gallagher, and Jake Schwencke of Waldwick High School. Second Place winner was Michelle Yu of Cresskill High School for her film China's Forgotten Babies and Third Place winner Urmil Dalal of Lodi High School for his film Stake-Out.
Our top ten finalists for 2016
Left to right iPic's Jim Nowicki, host of the screening/awards ceremony, Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Festival Director and Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers, the team from the 2016 James Gandolfini Best of the Fest Award winning film Chores including Danny Rinaldi, Jake Schwencke, Sergio Scardigno
and Conor Gallagher, Fort Lee Film Commission member and Directors Guild of America board member Emmy Winning filmmaker Gary Donatelli (in baseball cap), sponsor Tom Richardson of Downtown Community Television, sponsor Crystal Kaplan of Bonded Film Storage and Fort Lee Film Commission Chairman Nelson Page
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.
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.
Fort Lee Film Commission documentary “The Champion” to screen in Hollywood at Cinecon in September 2015 and at the Pordeonone Silent Film Festival in October 2015 in Italy – The Champion to appear in Milestone Video Fort Lee Silent Film Set in 2016
The Fort Lee Film Commission thanks all of you who took the time to sign our online petition to save the oldest standing studio in America, the Champion Studio, the first home to Universal Studio. This building, erected in 1910, was situated just across the Fort Lee (Coytesville) border into Englewood Cliffs. The Fort Lee Film Commission was given no advanced warning of this demolition despite outreach to the municipality of Englewood Cliffs in the form of an October 2013 letter as well as telephone calls. A reporter contacted the Fort Lee Film Commission as the studio was being demolished and members of the commission were able to take photos and video to document the loss of this unique film history. Thanks to the demolition crew we were able to retrieve several bricks from the original foundation that will go along with a portion of the original dressing room wall and door we retrieved from the building from the original owner earlier in 2013. These elements of photo and video will be added to the documentary.
The Film Commission and Sirk Productions are at work with Dennis Doros and Amy Heller of Milestone Video on the production of a Fort Lee Silent Film DVD set to include The Champion, Goldwyn Studios The Danger Game (1918), Éclair Studio’s Robin Hood (the Film Commission maintains the only existing print of the earliest surviving American made Robin Hood film restored by the Film Commission), rare Champion Studio shorts and the 1935 documentary on Fort Lee the Film Town “Ghost Town: The Story of Fort Lee.” The release of this DVD set will coincide with the centennial of the founding of Goldwyn Studios in 1916 in Fort Lee, NJ. Goldwyn Studio spent their first two years in Fort Lee prior to their move to Hollywood.
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)