Before there was Hollywood, there was Fort Lee, Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry. Over a century ago, independent filmmakers flocked to New Jersey making motion pictures 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 at the helm.
The Fort Lee Film Commission (FLFC), a non-profit organization, raises money for its restoration efforts through direct donations and merchandise sales of t-shirts and historic reproductions. Funds are used to obtain historic artifacts that are on display at the Fort Lee Museum, home of the Fort Lee Historical Society, a key supporter. Items on display include an original and fully operational Pathé silent film crank camera; original glass slides; movie posters; and photos.
Another area of the commission’s work is the restoration of still photos. A cache of photos from the 1910s, movie costumes and props have come out of the old Rambo’s Saloon building on First Street in the Coytesville section of Fort Lee formerly owned by the late Gloria Limone. The building is presently owned by the Fort Lee Housing Authority, purchased it in 2013 at the urging of the Fort Lee Film Commission. The Fort Lee Film Commission is working with interns from Seton Hall and Rutgers Universities to document and archive this material in preparation for its display in the future Barrymore Film Center and Fort Lee Film Museum.
The Fort Lee Film Commission actively raises funds to preserve films made in Fort Lee and works with filmmakers who support promotion of Fort Lee’s role as birthplace of the American film industry.
Filmmakers are welcome in Fort Lee. The Fort Lee Film Commission can assist in location scouting, expediting police and parking requirements, and providing information on sites available for shooting. For more information, please contact the Commission at 201-592-3663.