Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival, a program of the Sundance Institute, takes place annually in Park City, the largest independent film festival in the United States with more than 46,660 attending in 2016. It is held in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as at the Sundance Resort, it is a showcase for new work from international independent filmmakers. The festival consists of competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both feature films and short films, a group of out-of-competition sections, including NEXT, New Frontier, Midnight and Documentary Premieres; the 2019 Sundance Film Festival began January 24 and ran through February 3. Sundance began in Salt Lake City in August 1978, as the Utah/US Film Festival in an effort to attract more filmmakers to Utah, it was founded by John Earle. The 1978 festival featured films such as Deliverance, A Streetcar Named Desire, Midnight Cowboy, Mean Streets, The Sweet Smell of Success. With chairman Robert Redford, the help of Utah Governor Scott M. Matheson, the goal of the festival was to showcase American-made films, highlight the potential of independent film, to increase visibility for filmmaking in Utah.
At the time, the main focus of the event was to conduct a competition for independent American films, present a series of retrospective films and filmmaker panel discussions, to celebrate the Frank Capra Award. The festival highlighted the work of regional filmmakers who worked outside the Hollywood system; the jury of the 1978 festival was headed by Gary Allison, included Verna Fields, Linwood G. Dunn, Katharine Ross, Charles E. Sellier Jr. Mark Rydell, Anthea Sylbert. In 1979, Sterling Van Wagenen left to head up the first-year pilot program of what was to become the Sundance Institute, James W. Ure took over as executive director, followed by Cirina Hampton Catania as executive director. More than 60 films were screened at the festival that year, panels featured many well-known Hollywood filmmakers; that year, the first Frank Capra Award went to Jimmy Stewart. The festival made a profit for the first time. In 1980, Catania left the festival to pursue a production career in Hollywood. Several factors helped propel the growth of Utah/US Film Festival.
First was the involvement of actor and Utah resident Robert Redford, who became the festival's inaugural chairman. By having Redford's name associated with the festival, it received great attention. Secondly, the country was hungry for more venues that would celebrate American-made films as the only other festival doing so at the time was the USA Film Festival in Dallas. Response in Hollywood was unprecedented, as major studios did all they could to contribute their resources. In 1981, the festival moved to Park City and changed the dates from September to January; the move from late summer to midwinter was done by the executive director Susan Barrell with the cooperation of Hollywood director Sydney Pollack, who suggested that running a film festival in a ski resort during winter would draw more attention from Hollywood. It was called the US Video Festival. In 1984, the now well-established Sundance Institute, headed by Sterling Van Wagenen, took over management of the US Film Festival. Gary Beer and Van Wagenen spearheaded production of the inaugural US Film Festival presented by Sundance Institute, which included Program Director Tony Safford and Administrative Director Jenny Walz Selby.
The branding and marketing transition from the US Film Festival to the Sundance Film Festival was managed under the direction of Colleen Allen, Allen Advertising Inc. by appointment of Robert Redford. In 1991, the festival was renamed the Sundance Film Festival, after Redford's character the Sundance Kid from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. UK-based publisher C21 Media first revealed in October 2010 that Robert Redford was planning to bring the Sundance Film Festival to London, in March the following year, Redford announced that Sundance London would be held at The O2, in London from 26–29 April 2012. In a press statement, Redford said, "We are excited to partner with AEG Europe to bring a particular slice of American culture to life in the inspired setting of The O2, in this city of such rich cultural history, it is our mutual goal to bring to the UK, the best in current American independent cinema, to introduce the artists responsible for it, in essence help build a picture of our country, broadly reflective of the diversity of voices not always seen in our cultural exports."The majority of the film screenings, including the festival's premieres, would be held within the Cineworld cinema at The O2 entertainment district.
The 2013 Sundance London Festival was held 25–28 April 2013, sponsored by car-maker Jaguar. Sundance London 2014 took place on 25–27 April 2014 at the O2 arena; the Sundance London 2015 Festival was cancelled in an announcement on 16 January 2015. Sundance London returned to London from 2–5 June 2016 and again 1–4 June 2017, both at Picturehouse Cinema in London's West End. Inaugurated in 2014, Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong took place from 22 September to 2 October 2016 and is scheduled again for 21 September to 1 October 2017, it is held at The Metroplex in Kowloon Bay each year. From 2006 through 2008, Sundance Institute collaborated with the Brooklyn Academy of Music on a special series of film screenings, panel discussions, special events bringing the institute's activities and the festival's programming to New York City. M
Focus Features LLC is an American film production and distribution company, owned by Comcast through Universal Pictures, a division of its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal. Focus Features distributes foreign films in the United States and internationally. Focus Features was formed from the 2002 divisional merger of USA Films, Universal Focus and Good Machine. USA Films was created by Barry Diller in 1999 when he purchased October Films and Gramercy Pictures from Seagram and merged the two units together. In March 2004, Focus Features revived Rogue Pictures as a genre label. In 2014, FilmDistrict was merged into Focus. In May 2015, Gramercy Pictures was revived by Focus as a genre label, on action, sci-fi, horror films. In February 2016, Focus merged with Universal Pictures International as part of a new strategy to "align the acquisition and production of specialty films in the global market". In April 2017, Vine Alternative Investments re-acquired the pre-2008 Rogue film library from Focus Features.
In August 2011, Focus Features launched Focus World, a label focusing on the video on demand market with initial plans to distribute 15 films per year, with one film being released per month. Roadshow Entertainment Icon Film Distribution Universal Pictures Momentum Pictures Entertainment Film Distributors Universal Pictures Universal Pictures Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Entertainment One Alliance Films Universal PicturesAs a distributor, Focus' most successful release in North America to date is Brokeback Mountain, which earned $83 million at the North American box office. However, this is not counting the domestic total of Traffic, which earned $124.1 million under the USA Films banner. The animated film Coraline was highly profitable for the company. Although suffering its share of unsuccessful releases, Focus has been profitable, its international sales arm allows it to receive the foreign as well as domestic revenues from its releases, its DVD and movie rights revenues are boosted by cult classics including Wet Hot American Summer.
List of Focus Features films Rogue FilmDistrict Sony Pictures Entertainment Stage 6 Films Official website Focus Features on IMDb
About a Boy (novel)
About a Boy is a 1998 coming of age novel written by British writer Nick Hornby which has sold over a million copies. The novel was adapted into a feature film in 2002 and a television series in 2014. Set in 1993 London, About a Boy features two main protagonists: Will Freeman, a 36-year-old bachelor, Marcus Brewer, an incongruous schoolboy described as'introverted' by his suicidal mother, despite his tendencies to bond and interact with people. Will's father wrote a successful Christmas song, the royalties of which have afforded Will the ability to remain voluntarily redundant throughout his life – he spends his huge amounts of free time immersing himself in 1990s culture and pursuing sexual relations with women. After a pleasant relationship with a single mother, Will comes up with the idea of attending a single parents group as a new way to pick up women. For this purpose, he invents. Will makes a number of acquaintances through his membership of the single parents group, two of which are Fiona and her son Marcus.
Although their relationship is somewhat strained, they succeed in striking up a true friendship despite Will being uninterested during the early-middle stages of the novel. Will, a aware and "trendy" person, aids Marcus to fit into 1990s youth culture by encouraging him not to get his hair cut by his mother, buying him Adidas trainers, introducing him to contemporary music such as Nirvana. Marcus and Will's friendship strengthens as the story progresses after Marcus and Fiona discover Will's lie about having a child. Marcus is befriended by Ellie McCrae, a tough, moody 15-year-old girl, in trouble at school because she insists on wearing a Kurt Cobain jumper, he spends some time with his dad Clive, who visits Marcus and Fiona for Christmas together with his new girlfriend Lindsey and her mother. Clive has a minor accident during some D. I. Y work, breaks his collar bone; this prompts Clive into having'a big think' about the meaning of his life, he summons Marcus to Cambridge to see him. Marcus decides to bring Ellie along with him for support, however they are arrested on the way as Ellie smashes a shop window displaying a cardboard cut-out of Kurt Cobain – accusing the shopkeeper of'trying to make money out of him' after his suicide.
Meanwhile, to Will's despair, he falls in love with a woman called Rachel. Rachel is a single mother with a son named Ali, the same age as Marcus; the two fight, but become friends. Will's emotional faculties are liberated and he begins to'shed old skin' of emotional indifference – Marcus is becoming more typical of his age, he begins to enjoy his life more; the penultimate scene takes place in a police station in a small suburban town, where nearly every significant character in the novel is present. The novel ends during a three-way dialogue between Marcus and Fiona where Will, to see if Marcus has changed, proposes the idea that he play a Joni Mitchell song on Fiona's piano, which she is enthusiastic about. However, Marcus responds saying he'hates' Joni Mitchell whereby Hornby concludes the novel with the narration saying "Will knew Marcus would be OK." The title is a reference to the song "About a Girl" by Nirvana. This was confirmed by the author in the edition of 2 December 2001 of the BBC Radio 4 series, "Book Club".
The band is mentioned several times in the book. A film adaptation was released in 2002 by Paul Weitz, it starred Nicholas Hoult as Marcus, Hugh Grant as Will, Toni Collette as Fiona, Rachel Weisz as Rachel. While the screenplay follows Hornby's novel, it omits scenes involving drug use and has a different ending, it removes any reference to the band Kurt Cobain. The soundtrack to the film, including several full songs and numerous incidental pieces, was composed by British singer-songwriter Badly Drawn Boy; the film received positive reviews from critics, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, earned $130,549,455 on a $30 million budget. The movie, was the basis for a 2014 American television series, which aired on NBC; the show's pilot episode was directed by Jon Favreau. It lasted for two seasons before being cancelled by NBC on 8 May 2015. About a Boy is available on abridged audiobook, read by Alan Cumming. Too Cool for Words The New York Times review by Hal Espen
Variety is a weekly American entertainment trade magazine and website owned by Penske Media Corporation. It was founded by Sime Silverman in New York in 1905 as a weekly newspaper reporting on theater and vaudeville. In 1933 it added Daily Variety, based in Los Angeles. Variety.com features breaking entertainment news, box office results, cover stories, photo galleries and more, plus a credits database, production charts and calendar, with archive content dating back to 1905. Variety has been published since December 16, 1905, when it was launched by Sime Silverman as a weekly periodical covering theater and vaudeville with its headquarters in New York City. Sime was fired by The Morning Telegraph in 1905 for panning an act which had taken out an advert for $50, said that it looked like he would have to start his own paper in order to be able to tell the truth. With a loan of $1,500 from his father-in-law, he launched Variety as editor. In addition to Sime's former employer The Morning Telegraph, other major competitors on launch were The New York Clipper and the New York Dramatic Mirror.
The original cover design, similar to the current design, was sketched by Edgar M. Miller, a scenic painter, who refused payment; the front cover contained pictures of the original editorial staff, who were Alfred Greason, Epes W Sargeant and Joshua Lowe, as well as Sime. The first issue contained a review by Sime's son Sidne known as Skigie, claimed to be the youngest critic in the world at seven years old. In 1922, Sime acquired The New York Clipper, reporting on the stage and other entertainment since 1853 and folded it two years merging some of its features into Variety. In 1922, Sime launched the Times Square Daily, which he referred to as "the world's worst daily" and soon scrapped. During that period, Variety staffers worked on all three papers. After the launch of The Hollywood Reporter in 1930, which Variety sued for alleged plagiarism in 1932, Sime launched Daily Variety in 1933, based in Hollywood, with Arthur Ungar as the editor, it replaced Variety Bulletin, issued in Hollywood on Fridays.
Daily Variety was published every day other than Sunday but on Monday to Friday. Ungar was editor until 1950, followed by Joe Schoenfeld and Thomas M. Pryor, succeeded by his son Pete; the Daily and the Weekly were run as independent newspapers, with the Daily concentrating on Hollywood news and the Weekly on U. S. and International coverage. Sime Silverman had passed on the editorship of the Weekly Variety to Abel Green as his replacement in 1931. Green remained as editor from 1931 until his death in 1973. Sime's son Sidne succeeded him as publisher of both publications. Following his death from tuberculosis in 1950, his only son Syd Silverman, was the sole heir to what was Variety Inc. Young Syd's legal guardian Harold Erichs oversaw Variety Inc. until 1956. After that date Syd Silverman managed the company as publisher of both the Weekly Variety in New York and the Daily Variety in Hollywood, until the sale of both papers in 1987 to Cahners Publishing for $64 million, he remained as publisher until 1990 when he was succeeded on Weekly Variety by Gerard A. Byrne and on Daily Variety by Sime's great grandson, Michael Silverman.
Syd became chairman of both publications. In 1953, Army Archerd's "Just for Variety" column appeared on page two of Daily Variety and swiftly became popular in Hollywood. Archerd broke countless exclusive stories, reporting from film sets, announcing pending deals, giving news of star-related hospitalizations and births; the column appeared daily for 52 years until September 1, 2005. On December 7, 1988, the editor, Roger Watkins and oversaw the transition to four-color print. Upon its launch, the new-look Variety measured one inch shorter with a washed-out color on the front; the old front-page box advertisement was replaced by a strip advertisement, along with the first photos published in Variety since Sime gave up using them in the old format in 1920: they depicted Sime and Syd. For twenty years from 1989 its editor-in-chief was Peter Bart only of the weekly New York edition, with Michael Silverman running the Daily in Hollywood. Bart had worked at Paramount Pictures and The New York Times.
In April 2009, Bart moved to the position of "vice president and editorial director", characterized online as "Boffo No More: Bart Up and Out at Variety". From mid 2009 to 2013, Timothy M. Gray oversaw the publication as Editor-in-Chief, after over 30 years of various reporter and editor positions in the newsroom. In October 2012, Reed Business Information, the periodical's owner, sold the publication to Penske Media Corporation. PMC is the owner of Deadline Hollywood, which since the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike has been considered Variety's largest competitor in online showbiz news. In October 2012, Jay Penske, Chairman and CEO of PMC, announced that the website's paywall would come down, the print publication would stay, he would invest more into Variety's digital platform in a townhall. In March 2013, Variety owner Jay Penske appointed three co-editors to oversee different parts of the publication's industry coverage; the decision was made to stop printing Daily Variety with the last printed edition published on March 19, 2013 with the headline "Variety A
Juliet, Naked is a novel by the British author Nick Hornby, released on 29 September 2009 by Riverhead Books. It tells the story of Annie, the long-suffering girlfriend of obsessed music fan Duncan, the object of his obsession, fictional singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe; the plot revolves around the release of Juliet, the first new Tucker Crowe release in over two decades. The novel has been compared with High Fidelity. Hornby has identified parenting and relationships as themes in Juliet, Naked. Duncan, an obsessive music fan, receives a CD of'Juliet, Naked', an album of solo acoustic demos of the songs on the album'Juliet' by his favourite artist, Tucker Crowe. Duncan's girlfriend Annie listens to it on her own. Duncan is angry when she expresses her dislike for it, he writes an enthusiastic review for the fan website. Annie writes a passionate article criticising it and receives an email response from Tucker Crowe himself. Further email correspondence ensues, much of which consumes Annie's thoughts.
Tucker Crowe is in Pennsylvania preparing for a visit from his daughter Lizzie, whom he has never met. He has five children from four relationships, his youngest son Jackson and Jackson's mother Cat are the only ones he lives with. Lizzie reveals. Duncan meets, he tells Annie of his affair and she insists he move out. The next day Annie talks to her judgmental therapist Malcolm. Duncan regrets leaving Annie but she refuses to take him back. Cat breaks up with Tucker remains looking after Jackson. Annie places a photo of Tucker and Jackson on her fridge and invites Duncan round to make him see it, gleeful that he doesn't know the significance, tells him she is in a relationship with him, she ponders the years she has wasted with Duncan and ends up going to the pub with her friend Ros, during which she meets Gav and Barnesy, two Northern Soul dancers. Barnesy comes back to her house and tells her he loves her, but leaves after she says she won't sleep with him. Annie discusses the incident the next day with Malcolm.
Tucker discovers that Lizzie has lost the Cat talks him into visiting Lizzie. On arrival in London, Tucker is taken into the hospital. Lizzie invites all their mothers to visit for a family reunion. A mini-narrative describes the events which caused Tucker to end his career after hearing that he had a daughter, Grace from the relationship before/during Juliet. Annie visits him in the hospital and he suggests staying at her house to avoid the family reunion; the next day Annie visits again and they do, though Annie discovers he had not yet met with Grace. Tucker tells her about Grace and Juliet and Annie insists he call his family, they discuss his work. She admits that she was in a relationship with Duncan, whom Tucker knows of from the website. Annie encourages Tucker to meet Duncan but he refuses; the next day they bump into Duncan. Tucker introduces himself but Duncan doesn't believe him. After considering it, Duncan comes over and Tucker shows Duncan his passport as proof, they have tea together and Tucker clarifies some of Duncan's beliefs about him, while Duncan expresses his love of his music.
Grace calls Tucker. She says she understands how he and she can't be close because it would mean giving up'Juliet'. An exhibition Annie has been working on opens at the Gooleness museum, she suggests that Tucker could open it but the councillor in charge says he's never heard of him and invites Gav and Barnsey to do it instead. At the party Annie admits to Tucker that she likes him romantically and afterwards they have sex. Annie says she didn't. Tucker and Jackson return to America. Annie tells Malcolm about it all and tells him that she would like to sell her house and move right away to America to join Tucker and Jackson. Malcolm's paternalistic comment lets, she can leave him. In the epilogue and other fans review on the fan website a new release from Tucker, which they think is terrible. Only one new member says she and her husband love the new album, while they find'Juliet' too gloomy for their liking. Reviewing the novel for The Observer, Julie Myerson writes "Its likably bleak humour lies in Hornby's pitch-perfect examination of male fandom and the sinister way in which the advent of the internet has fed and enabled it.
He's every bit as good as you'd expect on the crazed dynamic of the messageboard and the way in which the web has enabled fans to stalk and somehow, take possession of their idols from the safety of darkened bedrooms. It's no joke, and Hornby knows how such an obsession can haunt a relationship: when Annie observes that she has long accepted the Crowe thing as ‘part of the package, like a disability’, you know all you need to know about life with Duncan. However, so convincing is the Tucker Crowe who inhabits Duncan's mind that when we meet the real person pushing a trolley around a supermarket somewhere in America with his six-year-old son, it feels deflating; that is Hornby's point – idols are only as big as the fantasies we project on to them. Still, as Crowe establishes himself as the third narrator of this tale, the writing loses its engaging fluidity."In his review for The Daily Telegraph, Roger Perkins wrote: "A burnt-out case in rural Pennsylvania and a frustrated
Ethan Green Hawke is an American actor and director. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards and a Tony Award. Hawke has directed three feature films, three Off-Broadway plays, a documentary, he has written three novels. He made his film debut with the 1985 science fiction feature Explorers, before making a breakthrough appearance in the 1989 drama Dead Poets Society, he appeared in various films before taking a role in the 1994 Generation X drama Reality Bites, for which he received critical praise. Hawke starred alongside Julie Delpy in Richard Linklater's Before trilogy: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, all of which received critical acclaim. Hawke has been nominated twice for both the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Hawke was further honored with SAG Award nominations for both films, as well as BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for the latter, his other films include the science fiction drama Gattaca, the contemporary adaptation of Hamlet, the action thriller Assault on Precinct 13, the crime drama Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, the horror film Sinister.
In 2018 he garnered critical acclaim for his performance as a protestant minister in Paul Schrader's drama First Reformed receiving numerous accolades including New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards and Critics' Choice Awards. In addition to his film work, Hawke has appeared in many theater productions, he made his Broadway debut in 1992 in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 2007 for his performance in Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia. In 2010, Hawke directed Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play. Hawke was born in Austin, Texas, to Leslie, a charity worker, James Hawke, an insurance actuary. Hawke's parents were high school sweethearts in Fort Worth and married young, when Hawke's mother was 17. Hawke was born a year later. Hawke's parents were students at the University of Texas at Austin at the time of his birth, separated and divorced in 1974.
After the separation, Hawke was raised by his mother. The two relocated several times, before settling in New York City, where Hawke attended the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights. Hawke's mother remarried when he was 10 and the family moved to West Windsor Township, New Jersey, where Hawke attended West Windsor Plainsboro High School, he transferred to the Hun School of Princeton, a secondary boarding school, from which he graduated in 1988. In high school, Hawke aspired to be a writer, but developed an interest in acting, he made his stage debut at age 13, in a production at The McCarter Theatre of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, appearances in West Windsor-Plainsboro High School productions of Meet Me in St. Louis and You Can't Take It with You followed. At the Hun School he took acting classes at the McCarter Theatre on the Princeton campus, after high school graduation he studied acting at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh dropping out after he was cast in Dead Poets Society.
He enrolled in New York University's English program for two years, but dropped out to pursue other acting roles. Hawke obtained his mother's permission to attend his first casting call at the age of 14, secured his first film role in Joe Dante's Explorers, in which he played an alien-obsessed schoolboy alongside River Phoenix; the film was met with favorable reviews but had poor box office results, a failure which Hawke has admitted caused him to quit acting for a brief period after the film's release. Hawke described the disappointment as difficult to bear at such a young age, adding "I would never recommend that a kid act."In 1989, Hawke made his breakthrough appearance in Peter Weir's Dead Poets Society, playing one of the students taught by Robin Williams's inspirational English teacher. The Variety reviewer noted "Hawke, as the painfully shy Todd, gives a haunting performance." The film received considerable acclaim, winning the BAFTA Award for Best Film and an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
With revenue of $235 million worldwide, it remains Hawke's most commercially successful picture to date. Hawke described the opportunities he was offered as a result of the film's success as critical to his decision to continue acting: "I didn't want to be an actor and I went back to college, but the success was so monumental that I was getting offers to be in such interesting movies and be in such interesting places, it seemed silly to pursue anything else." While filming Dead Poets Society he auditioned for what would be his next film appearance, 1989's comedy drama Dad, where he played Ted Danson's son and Jack Lemmon's grandson. Hawke's next film, 1991's White Fang, brought his first leading role; the film, an adaptation of Jack London's novel of the same name, featured Hawke as Jack Conroy, a Yukon gold hunter who befriends a wolfdog. According to The Oregonian, "Hawke does a good job as young Jack... He makes Jack's passion for White Fang real and keeps it from being ridiculous or overly sentimental."
He appeared in Keith Gordon's A Midnight Clear, a well-received war film based on William Wharton's novel of the same name. In the survival drama Alive, adapted from Piers Paul Read's 1974 book, Hawke portrayed Nando Pa
Universal Pictures is an American film studio owned by Comcast through the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group division of its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal. Founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, Robert H. Cochrane, Jules Brulatour, it is the oldest surviving film studio in the United States, the world's fifth oldest after Gaumont, Pathé, Nordisk Film, the oldest member of Hollywood's "Big Five" studios in terms of the overall film market, its studios are located in Universal City and its corporate offices are located in New York City. Universal Pictures is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America, was one of the "Little Three" majors during Hollywood's golden age. Universal Studios was founded by Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, Robert H. Cochrane and Jules Brulatour. One story has Laemmle watching a box office for hours, counting patrons and calculating the day's takings.
Within weeks of his Chicago trip, Laemmle gave up dry goods to buy the first several nickelodeons. For Laemmle and other such entrepreneurs, the creation in 1908 of the Edison-backed Motion Picture Trust meant that exhibitors were expected to pay fees for Trust-produced films they showed. Based on the Latham Loop used in cameras and projectors, along with other patents, the Trust collected fees on all aspects of movie production and exhibition, attempted to enforce a monopoly on distribution. Soon and other disgruntled nickelodeon owners decided to avoid paying Edison by producing their own pictures. In June 1909, Laemmle started the Yankee Film Company with partners Abe Julius Stern; that company evolved into the Independent Moving Pictures Company, with studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where many early films in America's first motion picture industry were produced in the early 20th century. Laemmle broke with Edison's custom of refusing to give screen credits to performers. By naming the movie stars, he attracted many of the leading players of the time, contributing to the creation of the star system.
In 1910, he promoted Florence Lawrence known as "The Biograph Girl", actor King Baggot, in what may be the first instance of a studio using stars in its marketing. The Universal Film Manufacturing Company was incorporated in New York on April 30, 1912. Laemmle, who emerged as president in July 1912, was the primary figure in the partnership with Dintenfass, Kessel, Swanson and Brulatour. All would be bought out by Laemmle; the new Universal studio was a vertically integrated company, with movie production and exhibition venues all linked in the same corporate entity, the central element of the Studio system era. Following the westward trend of the industry, by the end of 1912 the company was focusing its production efforts in the Hollywood area. On March 15, 1915, Laemmle opened the world's largest motion picture production facility, Universal City Studios, on a 230-acre converted farm just over the Cahuenga Pass from Hollywood. Studio management became the third facet of Universal's operations, with the studio incorporated as a distinct subsidiary organization.
Unlike other movie moguls, Laemmle opened his studio to tourists. Universal became the largest studio in Hollywood, remained so for a decade. However, it sought an audience in small towns, producing inexpensive melodramas and serials. In its early years Universal released three brands of feature films—Red Feather, low-budget programmers. Directors included Jack Conway, John Ford, Rex Ingram, Robert Z. Leonard, George Marshall and Lois Weber, one of the few women directing films in Hollywood. Despite Laemmle's role as an innovator, he was an cautious studio chief. Unlike rivals Adolph Zukor, William Fox, Marcus Loew, Laemmle chose not to develop a theater chain, he financed all of his own films, refusing to take on debt. This policy nearly bankrupted the studio when actor-director Erich von Stroheim insisted on excessively lavish production values for his films Blind Husbands and Foolish Wives, but Universal shrewdly gained a return on some of the expenditure by launching a sensational ad campaign that attracted moviegoers.
Character actor Lon Chaney became a drawing card for Universal in the 1920s, appearing in dramas. His two biggest hits for Universal were The Phantom of the Opera. During this period Laemmle entrusted most of the production policy decisions to Irving Thalberg. Thalberg had been Laemmle's personal secretary, Laemmle was impressed by his cogent observations of how efficiently the studio could be operated. Promoted to studio chief, Thalberg was giving Universal's product a touch of class, but MGM's head of production Louis B. Mayer lured Thalberg away from Universal with a promise of better pay. Without his guidance Universal became a second-tier studio, would remain so for several decades. In 1926, Universal opened a production unit in Germany, Deutsche Universal-Film AG, under the direction of Joe Pasternak; this unit produced three to four films per year until 1936, migrating to Hungary and Austria in the face of Hitler's increasing domination of central Europe. With the advent of sound, these productions were made in the German language or Hungarian or Polish.
In the U. S. Universal Pictures did not distribute any of this subsidiary's films, but at least some of them were exhibited through othe