October 12, 2011, Fort Lee, NJ
Sign on the Site of the Solax Studio in Fort Lee
On October 12th, 2011, The Fort Lee Film Commission held a press conference in Fort Lee, right next to the A&P on 2160 Lemoine Avenue that was once the location of Alice Guy Blaché's film studio, Solax.
The Fort Lee Film Commission has been working closely with state Senators Weinberg and Sarlo on the issue of the now defunct New Jersey tax credit for film & TV production. Senator Sarlo has reintroduced a bill to reinstate the tax credit for film & TV production. According to Tom Meyers, Executive Director of the Fort Lee Film Commission, the Governor seems bent on keeping this tax credit dead and since he removed there has been a drastic drop in film & TV production here in Fort Lee and throughout the state. For example, Law & Order SVU has not shot one scene in Fort Lee since Governor Christie removed the credit.
The Fort Lee Film Commission
The purpose of the press conference was to support Senator Sarlo's legislation for a reinstatement of a film & TV tax credit in NJ, and to place the face of Alice Guy Blaché, New Jersey's "Reel Jersey Gir"l on this legislation / discussion and remove the face of "Snooki" of Jersey Shore.
Here is a quote from the Fort Lee Film Commission's Press Release:
The Fort Lee Film Commission of course supports credits for all productions and we are against censorship BUT our Governor has now painted the entire tax incentive for film & TV production in this state with Snooki's face and we must replace that with Alice Guy Blache - we hope you can attend and participate at this press conference. We chose this date as it is one day from the DGA Honors Alice will receive. What better place to discuss the future of film & TV in this state than Fort Lee where the American film industry was born.
Meyers personally invited women filmmakers to support the press conference, and numerous women filmmakers answered his call, including Marquise Lepage from Montreal, who directed The Lost Garden, the exceptional documentary on Alice Guy, Janet Davidson from New Mexico, I flew up from Florida, and local filmmakers Christina Kotlar and Nancy O'Mallon.
After the press conference a few of us drove out to the Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah where Alice Guy Blaché is buried. I hadn't been out to her grave since Marquise and I filmed it for use in The Lost Garden in 1994. As you can see from an earlier blog, her grave is marked very simply. The Fort Lee Film Commission is arranging for a new gravestone that will carry the Director's Guild of America marker and carry an epitaph that indentifies Alice Guy Blaché as the first lady of cinema. It was a pleasing, quiet end to a day of activism on behalf of filmmakers in New Jersey.