Before movie production moved to Hollywood in the mid-20th century, New York filmmakers churned out silent movies from a makeshift studio atop a boiler factory on West 56th Street and Eleventh Avenue. But when producers needed to film a “wild and woolly” western, the crew headed to the tip of Manhattan where the dirt roads, hills, and trails could still pass for the American west. This is the story behind the origins of the film industry, and the pioneering films, directors, and actors whose legacy was defined in the hills of northern Manhattan more than a century ago.
Join New York Adventure Club on a stunning voyage back in time as we explore the exciting beginnings of film craft, from the indoor studios of midtown to the dusty lots and rural trails of northern Manhattan.
Led by uptown historian and best–selling author Cole Thompson, our virtual deep dive into the world of the early film industry, which took place in and around New York City, will include:
-The true story of how renegade NYC film companies subverted Thomas Edison’s strangle-hold on the movie industry
– Why uptown Manhattan and Fort Lee, NJ were chosen as sites for American West scenes over the Independent Motion Picture Company indoor sets in midtown
– Movie stars of the uptown films , including actresses Mary Pickford and Florence Lawrence
– Forgotten uptown movie palaces erected during this Golden Age of filmmaking, some of which still stand today
– Modern movies taking advantage of the uptown scenery , from Coogan’s Bluff starring Clint Eastwood to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Basketball Diaries
– Rare photos and video clips featuring this incredible moment in history
Afterward, we’ll have a Q&A with Cole — any and all questions about New York’s cinematic past are welcomed and encouraged!
Can’t make it live? Don’t worry, you’ll have access to the full replay for one week !
See you there, virtually!
*Immediately upon registering, you will receive a separate, automated email containing the link to join this webinar
**For the best possible viewing experience, please ensure you’re using the latest version of your internet browser — Google Chrome is the most compatible. Exact technical requirements and a webinar user guide will be shared in the automated confirmation email upon registration.
***A full replay of the experience will be available to all registered guests for up to a week
An award winning former television producer and best-selling author, Cole has hosted the popular uptown history blog MyInwood.net for nearly fifteen years. Cole has been profiled in the New Yorker in connection with his knowledge of Uptown history. In 2019 Cole co-authored a history of his neighborhood titled, Lost Inwood , with colleague Don Rice.
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Categories: Virtual, Arts & Entertainment