A Silent Film Experience Fort Lee Film Town USA Episode08

The Champion StudioWhat makes a perfect movie? What did eager audiences in the early days of cinema experience as they sat in a dark room waiting for the flickering silent images appear on screen, the inter-titles providing dialogue and exposition? Was it the action, the story, the actor? Live music presentation? Join the discussion with Fort Lee Film Commissioners, Nelson Page and Tom Meyers and Kristian Fraga, co founder of Sirk Productions, a NYC-based hybrid media and advertising agency specializing in original entertainment and creative agency services, as they delve into how  film restoration vs film preservation, melding the creative with historian objectives, can make today’s audiences experience the awe of silent movie making the way movie goers did a hundred years ago.

Tom @the ChampionAlso, insights into what was the last vestige of a sprawling movie making complex in Fort Lee, the Champion Studio, and the last effort to save it from demolition reminds us that preserving cinema history involves more than just film restoration.

Coming soon: a DVD The Champion– a tale from the birthplace of the motion picture industry, Fort Lee Film Town USA.

 The Champion DVD Cvr


Film Archaeology Digs Up Edison’s Frankenstein Episode 07

Edison's Frankenstein

Edison KinetogramMore discoveries from Fort Lee Film Commission‘s Nelson Page and Tom Meyers – Library of Congress’ recent acquisition of film collection that includes Thomas Edison’s Frankenstein.

Considered the first filmed version of Mary Shelley’s famed novel Frankenstein and the first horror film, it was made by the Edison Company in 1910. this 16-minute short film was written and directed by J. Searle Dawley, and was shot in three days at the Edison Studios in the Bronx, New York City.

Alice Guy Blache’s Birthday Bash Fort Lee Film Town USA Episode 06

AGB marker

Reel Jersey GirlsThe greatest personal discovery for Fort Lee Film Commission is first woman film director Alice Guy Blache, an original Reel Jersey Girl and cinematic pioneer recognized in 2011 at the Director’s Guild of America’s (DGA) 75th anniversary celebration. Members and guests of Fort Lee Film Commission arrived for a birthday celebration at noon, Saturday, July 1st, Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, New Jersey. That’s just the start of events planned for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening for “all things Alice.”

FLFC celebrates Alice Guy Blache

Living History Part I Fort Lee Film Town USA Episode 04

Map Fort Lee Film Studios

Jimmy Viola & MapInterview with long time Fort Lee resident James Viola, “Uncle Jimmy” part of Fort Lee Museum/Fort Lee Film Commission Living History Project.  Uncle Jimmy who worked in the film plant at the back end of the lot for Consolidated Film Industries on Main Street in Fort Lee in the 1940s and stories surrounding the film lab, storage facility and distribution center with people like Bud Stone and Eddie Mannix of MGM. Originally built in 1914, he tells his stories–“I worked in building 2, and we took the studio negatives from Hollywood and we made the prints. This plant produced thousands of prints from the negatives for such studios as MGM, RKO, Paramount and Fox.”

Read more on Fort Lee Patch.

Women in Film History Month Fort Lee Film Town USA Episode 3

Reel Jersey Girls

Celebrating Women in Film History Month all through March as Tom Meyers, Nelson Page and Christina Kotlar are back for Episode Three–bringing out the best out of Fort Lee, the original Film Town USA remembering  film pioneers, Pearl White, Mabel Normand, Alice Guy Blache and those who support them.

“Barrymore More or Less” Fort Lee Film Town USA Episode 02

Barrymore & friendsFort Lee Film Town USA Barrymore More or Less Episode 02 podcast kicks off with a Happy Birthday to a Fort Lee Film Commission fave, John Barrymore as well as more from Nelson Page and Tom Meyers about FLFC’s work on getting a film tax credit for New Jersey and the future plans for the Barrymore Film Center. According to executive director, Tom Meyers, “John Barrymore spent his 18th year in Fort Lee living with his dad, Maurice in Maurice’s Coytesville house. In that same year of 1900, he made his stage debut in the play Man of the World directed by his dad and staged at Buckheisters on Main and Central Road in Fort Lee. This was a fundraiser for the Coytesville fire department and the funds raised purchased uniforms and built a firehouse on Washington Avenue. On February 15th, we celebrate his 135th birthday by raising funds in his name at a restaurant near Main and Central Road…Santorini’s. All funds go toward programs for the Fort Lee High School Drama Department students. This pic shows John with some of his Bundy Drive boys– WC Fields, Gene Fowler, John Carradine, Jack LaRue and artist John Decker. They make the Rat Pack look like amateurs!”

Fort Lee Film Town USA Episode 001

Over a century ago, before there was Hollywood, there was Fort Lee, New Jersey– Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry– where independent filmmakers flocked to make movies for mass audiences eagerly consuming this experimental and imaginative technology. Today, Fort Lee is once again showcased as the epicenter for cinema history as well as an economic development engine with Fort Lee Film Commission members– Tom Meyers, executive director, and Nelson Page, chairman of the board –  at the helm.

Episode 1 Podcast Description:
Fort Lee Film Commission executive director, Tom Meyers and chairman of the board, Nelson Page explain the viable economic development and future impact with filmmaking and digital media in the State of New Jersey.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is showing a silent film that was mostly filmed in Fort Lee, The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912) often noted as one of the first gangster films depicting social issues of the time. USA. Directed by D. W. Griffith. 16 min. Music by Ben Model. Until Jan 13th.