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Fort Lee Historical Society, Film Commission Grow, Evolve

Tom Meyers, director of the Fort Lee Film Commission, addresses one of the display cases. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Tom Meyers, the director of the Fort Lee Film Commission said the organization received a $13,000 grant to help them with research. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

FORT LEE, NJ — The Fort Lee Historical Society will be expanding its Palisade Avenue space as the borough film commission moves into the Barrymore Film Center, a construction project slated for completion in 2017.

The society also plans to add a tower to its building, creating even more space.

“This will give this museum more room to grow," said Tom Meyers, the film commission's director and a member of the historical society. "There is an immense history here.”

Meyers expects to screen the work of independent filmmakers as well as high school students in the 250-seat cinema, which will also house a number of film relics from the community and Rambo’s Saloon.

Interns and researchers work in tight spaces in a century-old Palisade Avenue building.

All of their efforts are intended to preserve the legacies of Barrymore family, William Fox, actress Theda Bara, as well as others who worked in the area 100 years ago.

“Our long-term goal is to develop an art community here,” Meyers said.

“We’re thinking of hosting a bi-state film festival that may be the first of its kind where films are shown here and also two blocks south of the George Washington Bridge in New York,” he said.

Meyers not only aims to preserve film but also borough history.

“They had construction workers walking off with muskets and bayonettes when they were excavating for the high rises," he said. "We have about a dozen boxes of artifacts.

"Now, the people in those high rises do not want to see another strip mall or a 7-Eleven.”


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