The mission of The Bronx International Film Festival is to celebrate the history of film in The Bronx by showcasing promising filmmakers while promoting The Bronx as a cultural destination and Bronx venues, like Lehman Stages, as prominent New York performance spaces.
A century ago, The Bronx was home to two well-known silent film studios: The Edison Studios on Decatur Avenue & Oliver Place (a few blocks from the location of the Film Festival) and Biograph Studios a.k.a. The Gold Medal Studios at 807 E. 175th Street.
Edison Studios’ notable contributions to cinema included one of the first horror films, Frankenstein, released in 1910 and the first serial film, “What Happened to Mary?” released in 1912. The 14-minute Frankenstein, starring Charles Ogle, took an entire week to film. This was a highly unusual schedule for the time. Silent movies were usually filmed in one day. “What Happened to Mary?” began a series of 12 episodes starring Mary Fuller. The silent film studio closed in 1918, but the Terry Brothers reopened the space in 1935 to start Terrytoons employing Bronx artists to hand paint the first animated color cartoon films.