Champion: A Story of America's First Film Town — Two Disc DVD Set!
When Mark Dintenfass arrived in Fort Lee in 1910, the sleepy New Jersey town just a ferry ride away from Manhattan was already a favorite location for nickelodeon-era filmmakers. Why not, he reasoned, build a studio and save on the expense and hassle of travel across the Hudson? Purchasing land and a building in nearby Englewood Cliffs, Dintenfass founded the Champion Studios, where he produced silent westerns and Civil War epics.
Others followed, and soon there were movie studios all over Fort Lee. Sadly, the land rush proved to be a bubble that burst when the American film industry moved west to Hollywood. Based on Richard Koszarski’s book, Fort Lee, the Film Town, The Champion tells the story of that brief golden age and of a modern-day fight to save the era’s last remaining studio — reminding us that the preservation of cinema history involves more than just the restoration of the films themselves.
This deluxe 2-disc DVD set includes a new 2K restoration of Ghost Town (1935) an astonishing and haunting amateur documentary about post-cinema Fort Lee. Disc 1 also features five films made at Champion Studios — thanks to the efforts of the Library of Congress and the Fort Lee Film Commission. Disc 2 includes exciting NJ film rediscoveries — a slapstick comedy from director Mack Sennett, a “melodramatic comedy” starring Madge Kennedy, and the earliest surviving film version of Robin Hood!
This DVD of films from America’s first film town is dedicated to the late Gloria Viola Meyers, who worked for Consolidated Film Industries, a division of Republic Studio, and to all the residents of Fort Lee who worked in the studios, film laboratories and film storage facilities in the birthplace of the American film industry.
2015. 35 minutes. Directed by Marc J. Perez. Based on the book Fort Lee, the Film Town by Richard Koszarski. Produced by Tom Meyers and John L. Sikes. Executive producer, Kristian Fraga. Associate producers Richard Koszarski and Nelson Page. Photography by Donna Brennan, Michael Grand, Marc J. Perez, Dylan Russell. Edited by B.B. Enriquez. Music by Ryan Shore. Narrated by Matt Zoller Seitz with Richard Koszarski, Tom Meyers, Nancy O’Mallon, Armand Pohan and Albert H. Wunsch III.
FILMS FROM FORT LEE WITH NEW SCORES:
GHOST TOWN: THE STORY OF FORT LEE* by THEODORE HUFF AND MARK A. BORGATTA, 1935, 17 MINUTES
THE INDIAN LAND GRAB* CHAMPION STUDIOS, 1910, 11 MINUTES
A DAUGHTER OF DIXIE* CHAMPION STUDIOS, 1911, 10 MINUTES
NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS* UNIVERSAL VICTOR, 1912, 9 MINUTES
FLO’S DISCIPLINE* UNIVERSAL VICTOR, 1912, 11 MINUTES
MARKED CARDS* UNIVERSAL CHAMPION, 1913, 10 MINUTES
THE DANGER GAME** by HARRY POLLARD, 1918, 61 MINUTES, starring Madge Kennedy and Tom Moore
ROBIN HOOD*** by ÉTIENNE ARNAUD, 1912, 31 MINUTES
A GROCERY CLERK’S ROMANCE*** by MACK SENNETT, 1912, 8 MINUTES. Courtesy of Paul E. Gierucki.
*Music Composed and Performed by Ben Model.
**Music Composed and Performed by Donald Sosin.
***Music by Rodney Sauer and performed by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
An Explanation of Home, Classroom, and Public Performance Rights
US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to show a film publicly outside of a scheduled class need to purchase DVDs, DVD-Rs, and Blu-rays at the institutional rate — which grants 3-year in-house streaming rights and an on-site public performance license. This in-house streaming license is for a term of three years from the date of purchase and grants the purchasing institution the right to stream over a single secure server with a password-protected connection. Streaming access must be strictly limited to currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff. Streaming rights extensions can be negotiated with Milestone after the initial three-year term has lapsed. Milestone retains the right to terminate this agreement at any time. No broadcast, Internet or other rights are granted or implied.These rights are for on-site use only per the license agreement. For more information on
Similarly, US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to show a film publicly outside of a scheduled class via Milestone’s streaming site must contact Milestone to arrange a separate public performance license. For more information, please email email@example.com.
US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to screen a DVD, DVD-R, or Blu-ray they already own in an open showing must purchase a public performance license. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purchase of DVDs, DVD-Rs, and Blu-rays at the institutional rate by anyone outside of a North American non-profit educational institution does not grant rights for public performance or streaming.
Any continuous or loop screenings as part of a museum exhibition must also be licensed separately. Inquiries must be negotiated directly with Milestone by emailing email@example.com.
Information for Exhibitors Screening DCPs and Film Prints
All bookings must be made by phone or email correspondence with Amy Heller (201.767.3117 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to negotiate terms and insure a screening copy is available. An order is only finalized when Milestone sends a written confirmation.
DCPs are shipped insured for their cost via Federal Express or UPS and must be returned the same way or by an equivalent method. Shipping and handling charges for outgoing DCPs appear on your invoice. The immediate return or transshipment (as directed) of all DCPs is your responsibility.
DCPs should be returned to:
Milestone Film & Video
38 George Street
Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640-0128
35mm and 16mm prints are shipped insured for their cost via Federal Express or UPS and must be returned the same way or by an equivalent method. Please do not ship prints back via US Mail. Exhibitor pays to ship both ways. Shipping and handling charges for outgoing prints appear on your invoice. The immediate return of all prints is your responsibility.
Prints should be returned insured for $1,000 to:
Attn: Milestone Account
235 Main Street
Little Falls, NJ 07424
For public screenings, advertising materials can be requested by contacting email@example.com.
Milestone is the exclusive licensor for all the titles in this catalog, all of which are available here in their complete versions.