FORT LEE FILM COMMISSION

 
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Nelson Page

Chairman

Chairman of the Fort Lee Film Commission, Mr. Page is a movie theater owner, President of the American Theater Organ Society, and Chairman of the Lake Placid Film Festival. 


Tom Meyers

Executive Director

Executive Director of the FLFC and Director of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, Tom Meyers worked at both the NBC News and ABC News archive, is a former Fort Lee Councilman, founder of the Fort Lee Film Commission, founder of the Fort Lee Historic and Preservation Commission where he serves as Chair, and is the Executive Director of the Barrymore Film Center.

He is the third generation of his family involved in the film industry. His grandmother was a film cutter for Eclair Studio in Fort Lee, his grandfather worked in the vaults of Fox Studio in Fort Lee and his mother and uncles worked for Consolidated Film Industries in Fort Lee.  Tom has been appointed by the Fort Lee Mayor and Council as Borough Historian.

Councilman Paul K. Yoon

Borough Council Liaison

Paul Yoon is a Partner at the law firm Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Cappelli. Paul’s legal career has taken him from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office to work as a Special Assistant to Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams. Paul is active with numerous community organizations and he is past President of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey and the Korean American Association of Fort Lee. Paul is working with Mayor Sokolich, his Council colleagues and the Fort Lee Film Commission to make the soon to be built Barrymore Film Center a reality and one of the premiere film centers in the nation.


Richard Koszarski

Secretary

A Rutgers University professor, Mr. Koszarski is a film scholar and author. Among his works is Von: The Life and Films of Erich von Stroheim (Limelight, 2001). He is the author of ten books, including Fort Lee, the Film Town and Hollywood on the Hudson, and was awarded the Prix Jean Mitry by the Pordenone Silent Film festival for his contributions to silent film scholarship. He was associated with the Museum of the Moving Image for twenty years in such capacities as Chief Curator and Head of Collections and Exhibitions, and is the founder and editor emeritus of Film History: An International Journal.


Drake Stutesman 

Drake Stutesman edits the peer-reviewed, cinema and media journal, Framework. She is an adjunct professor at New York University where she teaches theoretical film costume and co-founded the Film Costume/ conference with Nancy Deihl. She is the author of Hat: Origins, Language, Style (Reaktion Books, forthcoming 2019). Her work has been published by, among others, the British Film Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and Bookforum and her subjects include millinery history, subjectivity, the 1960s, experimental literature, melodrama, film costume and silent cinema. She is writing a biography of Clare West, costume designer for D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, a monograph on milliner/couturier Mr. John and a monograph on George James Hopkins, costume and set designer for Fort Lee’s Fox studio whose long career started in 1917 as the designer of costumes and sets for Theda Bara and continued into the 1970s as a set decorator for films as diverse as Auntie Mame and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Donna Brennan

Ms. Brennan is also a member of the Fort Lee Historical Society. She is a freelance photographer and her work appears in North Jersey and New York City newspapers. Ms. Brennan has been an FLFC volunteer for two years and in that time has become the official photographer of the Commission. She also collects early silent films shot in Fort Lee, her latest acquisition being The Italian Barber shot in Fort Lee by D.W. Griffith in 1910.


Gary Donatelli

Gary Donatelli is a 7-time Emmy Award winning Director and Producer. Early in his career as a cameraman he won 4 Emmy awards for his work with ABC Sports. Gary also covered major news events for ABC News, such as presidential inaugurations and space shuttle events. As his career progressed, he rose from shooter to technical director and, finally, to a director of daytime dramas: Loving, Another World, One Life to Live, General Hospital, and The Bold & The Beautiful, resulting in over 1,000 cumulative hours of broadcasted work in that genre. Gary was recently a Producer on his first feature film, 23 Blast, winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Heartland Film Festival and released theatrically and on Netflix, and is currently serving as both a producer and director on a documentary entitled Clearing Larry Floyd. Gary was 2nd Vice President of the Directors Guild of America, is an Adjunct Professor at NYU, and author of the ABC Monday Night Football Cookbook and Restaurant Guide. Gary was instrumental in working with the Directors Guild of America and the Fort Lee Film Commission in the 2011 DGA honors for Alice Guy Blache' at the DGA Headquarters in New York City. Gary also is recipient of the 2009 Fort Lee Film Commission Alice Guy Blache' Award.


Marc Perez

Marc co-founded Sirk Productions, with Director/Producer Kristian Fraga. In 2005, Marc Executive Produced the award-winning documentary Anytown, USA, a look at the charade of partisan politics in an increasingly polarized nation. In 2010, he produced Severe Clear (SXSW, Rome, IDA Docuweeks) based on video footage shot by members of the Marines at the outset of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He is currently Executive Producer of the documentary The Troublemaker: Behind the Scenes at the United Nations which recently made its world premiere at the Havana Film Festival. Marc’s television background has included the award-winning PBS documentary The Inside Reel: Digital Filmmaking and NBC Telemundo’s Tu Nite, the network’s first late night talk show.  Marc directed a documentary short, The Champion, based on the town’s rich film history with the support of a public grant.   In April 2018, Marc was nominated for an Emmy Award for directing The Champion.  Marc also serves as Head of Creative at Sirk, managing creative for clients like consumer electronics brand Altec Lansing.   Marc is also an accomplished awarding-winning director and animator, creating commercials, videos and 2D/3D animation for clients like Konami, BET, and Schumacher & Co.   

 
 

 

The Fort Lee Film Commission's site has been relocated to the BFC website.

Work of the Film Commission

Fort Lee Film Commission and NYU Costume Studies MA Program partner on restoration of silent film costumes discovered in Fort Lee

On Saturday, October 21, 2017, the New York University Costume Studies MA program held their annual symposium on Film Costume / State of the Art and featured as a topic the film costumes from Fort Lee. Fort Lee, NJ was the first American film town and as many as 17 studios operated in Fort Lee prior to World War I. Studios such as Fox, Universal and Goldwyn were born in the borough. The Fort Lee Film Commission retrieved a trunk from historic Rambo's Hotel on First Street in the Coytesville section of the borough a few years ago after the borough housing authority purchased this historic film location for renovation and restoration as affordable housing units. The trunks contained over a dozen costumes from the silent film period. The second floor of Rambo's Hotel was used by film companies as a dressing room.

Fort Lee Film Commission Executive Director Tom Meyers delivered was the keynote speaker at the NYU event and on display were two silent film costumes from the archive of the Fort Lee Film Commission that were 
carefully cleaned and prepared by the graduate students and their professors at NYU. The Fort Lee Film Commission has applied for a Bergen County History Grant to restore all of the costumes through the efforts and skills of the NYU Costume Studies Program. NYU Costume Studies Director Nancy Diehl and NYU and Pratt Institute Professor Drake Stutesman examined all the garments and determined that they do in fact date to the silent film period of the 1910s in Fort Lee and that the garments were made specifically as film costumes. The students and professors are going to determine the actual year the costumes were made in hopes to find the films the costumes were featured in here in Fort Lee.


The Barrymore Film Center - Fort Lee to have a 260-seat cinema and an attached Fort Lee Film Museum

As part of the new development project underway on Main Street near the George Washington Bridge, the Fort Lee Mayor and Council included in the developer's agreement the developer's building of a structure to house a one-screen, 260-seat multi-purpose theatre and an attached film museum, to be operated for the borough by the Fort Lee Film Commission. This project is expected to be completed by 2017. The cinema / film museum will be located on Main Street at the corner of Park Avenue, a location rich in cinema history as this was where, among others, cinema pioneers D.W. Griffith, Mack Sennett, Mabel Normand, and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle shot many of the scenes for some of the most popular early American films including the groundbreaking The Musketeers of Pig Alley, (1912) the first American gangster film. One block east of this cinema / film museum, 18-year-old John Barrymore made his stage debut in 1900 at then Buckeheister's Hotel in the play A Man of the World directed by his father, Fort Lee (Coytesville) resident and acclaimed Broadway thespian Maurice Barrymore. This play was a fundraiser for the Coytesville Fire Department and the result was the building of the Fire House on Washington Avenue and the purchase of uniforms for the firefighters. John, his sister Ethel and brother Lionel all went on to make their first films in Fort Lee in the 1910's.

The Barrymore Film Center and Fort Lee Film Museum will be the home to annual film festivals, retrospectives, and the screening of new independent films, as well as live stage programs which will include the students of the Fort Lee High School Drama Department and Film Program and their instructor, Ms. Jodi Etra.


Film & Stills Restoration/Preservation

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.

In 2004, the Fort Lee Film Commission restored the only existing print of the 1912 film Robin Hood, produced at Eclair Studio in Fort Lee (present day site of Constitution Park on the Linwood Avenue side). This film, sent to the Commission by the late film collector Al Dettlaff of Wisconsin, has ben restored and screened at the annual Pordenone Film Festival in Italy, the largest silent film festival in the world, as well as in Hollywood, the National Gallery in Washington D.C., and the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Most recently, the Commission has worked with Los Angeles based filmmaker Pamela Green on her documentary on cinema pioneer Alice Guy Blaché, Be Natural, which is currently in production. The Commission has also worked with and assisted film historian and archivist Paul Gierucki most recently on his restoration of the 1916 Fort Lee produced film The Waiter's Ball, starring and directed by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, and the 1912 early Mack Sennett Keystone Studio film A Grocery Clerk's Romance, shot on the grounds of Rambo's Saloon. This restored The Waiter's Ball film will have its premiere on September 28, 2014 at 7pm at the landmark Loews Theatre in Jersey City as the closing night program at the 2014 Golden Door International Film Festival. The Red Hook Ramblers will play live to the film.

Another arena of the Commission's work is the restoration of still photos. A cache of photos from the 1910's have come out of the old Rambo's Saloon building on First Street in the Coytesville section of Fort Lee. The building is presently owned by the Fort Lee Housing Authority and formerly owned by the late Gloria Limone. Stills and actual movie costumes and props have been found in the building since the 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 University and Rutgers University to document and archive this material in the Fort Lee Museum in preparation for its display in the future Barrymore Film Center and Fort Lee Film Museum.

The Fort Lee Film Commission is also in receipt of scrapbooks of silent film star Gail Kane which were donated to the Commission by Kane's grandson. Gail Kane both made films and operated her own production studio in Fort Lee.

The Commission has worked with the Fort Lee Public Library and its director and film scholar Rita Altamora to digitize the library’s collection of over 1000 stills of Fort Lee-related film/studio history. These stills will eventually be made available to the public through web sites and the Library database.

The FLFC, a non-profit organization, raises money for its restoration efforts through direct donations and through the sale of t-shirts and historic reproductions, at such venues as the annual Feast of St. Rocco in August and the Movies & Music Under the Stars summer film series. Funds are also used to obtain historic artifacts that are on display at the Fort Lee Museum, home of the Fort Lee Historical Society, a key supporter of the work of the FLFC. Items on display include an original Pathé silent film crank camera which is fully operational (a similar camera sold at the same time is displayed in the lobby of MGM Studios in Hollywood); original glass slides; movie posters; and photos.


The Fort Lee Film Commission's site has been relocated to the BFC website.

 

Contact Us

 
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Fill in the form below regarding the following:

Feedback

The Fort Lee Film Commission appreciates your comments and suggestions about its work–what it has done, and what you think it should be doing. Have you enjoyed a recent program or event? Would you like to see a particular program in the future? Please let the Commission members know.

 Donate/Submit Materials On Loan

The FLFC welcomes and encourages submissions from those with photos and other historical artifacts of the film industry in Fort Lee, either as donations or on loan. The Commission will transfer your images digitally and enter them into the FLFC database, and will restore photos on loan. If you would like to share your images and memorabilia, please contact the FLFC at 201-592-3663 or via e-mail.


Sponsorship & Financial Contributions

Financial contributions and corporate sponsorships are needed for the Cliffhanger Film Festivals, the Movies & Music Under the Stars summer film series, and for the restoration, preservation, and general work of the Commission.


Volunteer Opportunities

Would you like to contribute as a volunteer, either with the work of the Fort Lee Film Commission or as a member of the Fort Lee Historical Society?

 

For more information, please contact the Fort Lee Film Commission at 201-592-3663 or via e-mail form below

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The Fort Lee Film Commission's site has been relocated to the BFC website.

Our Office

309 Main St,
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

 

The Metropolis Newsletter

 

The Commission also produces a quarterly newsletter, Metropolis. This newsletter is distributed throughout Fort Lee and to film industry/studio officials throughout the United States. Universal Studios’ archive in Universal City maintains Metropolis on file to commemorate its connection to Fort Lee as the location of its first studio, as well as the location of its first film (Hiawatha, shot on location in Coytesville in 1909, was IMP’s first film production, and IMP founder Carl Laemmle later consolidated IMP with other studios to form Universal in 1912). Universal Studios sponsored the Cliffhanger 2001 Fall Film Festival held in October at the Fort Lee Historic Park auditorium. Fort Lee Film Commission liaison Tom Meyers has been invited to the Universal archive in Los Angeles to view their archive of historic photos and research additional information on Fort Lee’s role in the history of the oldest and largest studio in operation today.

 

Mail carrier not delivering Metropolis to your door? Simply fill in the form below and indicate you’d like to be added to the Commission’s “snail mail” mailing list.

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The Fort Lee Film Commission's site has been relocated to the BFC website.

 

Bring Your Next Production to Fort Lee!

 
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Film where it all started

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 FORT LEE FILM COMMISSION AT 201-592-3663 OR VIA E-MAIL FORM BELOW

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The Fort Lee Film Commission's site has been relocated to the BFC website.