Champion Film Company
FoundersMark M. Dintenfass
United States
ProductsMotion pictures

The Champion Film Company was an independent production company founded in 1909 by Mark M. Dintenfass.[1][2][3][4] The studio was one of the film companies that merged to form Universal Pictures.

Champion was the first film production company to establish itself in the area around Fort Lee, New Jersey, when the town was the home of America's first motion picture industry[5][6][7] It built its studio in the vicinity of Fort Lee, at the town line with Englewood Cliffs in Coytesville, then a relatively remote area, to make them look as little like a studio as possible. The building was demolished on 2013.[8]

Movie still from In the Great Big West

Dintenfass tried avoid the investigators of Thomas Alva Edison, always looking for the "pirates" who escaped the rigid conditions posed by the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC), the monopoly of the sector that it imposed, between the other, to use only the technical material (film cameras, film, etc.) that was to be provided exclusively by the trust.[9][10] To circumvent the MPPC, the independents - including Dintenfass - distributed their films through the Motion Picture Distributing and Sales Company of Carl Laemmle.

On April 30, 1912, Laemmle brought together Pat Powers of Powers Motion Picture Company, Mark Dintenfass of Champion Film Company, William Swanson of Rex Motion Picture Company, David Horsley of Nestor Film Company, and Charles Baumann and Adam Kessel of the New York Motion Picture Company, to merge their companies with Independent Moving Pictures and create Universal Film Manufacturing Company, with Laemmle assuming the role of president.[11] Dintenfass later founded the Vim Comedy Company (1915)[12]

In its four years of activity, Champion produced more than two hundred films. It specialized initially in westerns and historical reconstructions of military episodes of the American Civil War and American Revolution. Later, he[who?] produced numerous drama films, documentaries and some movies related to famous people, such as the aviators Blanche Scott and Robert G. Fowler. Among those who appeared in Champion films were John G. Adolfi, Irving Cummings, Jeanie Macpherson.




  1. ^ "MARK M. DINTENFASS, FILM PIONEER, DIES; Once Had Studio at Ftt. Leeu Ran for Governor of New Jersey as Single-Taxer". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c "The Champion: A Story of America's First Film Town". Trailers From Hell. September 23, 2017.
  3. ^ Fort Lee: Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry. Arcadia Publishing. August 19, 2006. ISBN 9780738545011 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Grilli, Jon (December 4, 2018). "The Birth of the Universal Studios Tour". KCET.
  5. ^ Kannapell, Andrea. "Getting the Big Picture; The Film Industry Started Here and Left. Now It's Back, and the State Says the Sequel Is Huge.", The New York Times, October 4, 1998. Accessed December 7, 2013.
  6. ^ Amith, Dennis. "Before Hollywood There Was Fort Lee, N.J.: Early Movie Making in New Jersey (a J!-ENT DVD Review)", J!, January 1, 2011. Accessed December 7, 2013. "When Hollywood, California, was mostly orange groves, Fort Lee, New Jersey, was a center of American film production."
  7. ^ Rose, Lisa."100 years ago, Fort Lee was the first town to bask in movie magic", The Star-Ledger, April 29, 2012. Accessed December 7, 2013. "Back in 1912, when Hollywood had more cattle than cameras, Fort Lee was the center of the cinematic universe. Icons from the silent era like Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish crossed the Hudson River via ferry to emote on Fort Lee back lots."
  8. ^ "From the Archives: Remember the Champion Studio!". Fort Lee, NJ Patch. December 21, 2013.
  9. ^ Koszarski, Richard (March 2, 2005). Fort Lee: The Film Town (1904-2004). Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780861969425 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "Fort Lee Film Commission | Fort Lee, NJ". April 5, 2011. Archived from the original on April 5, 2011.
  11. ^ Dick, Bernard F. (May 1, 1997). City of Dreams: The Making and Remaking of Universal Pictures. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 9780813120164.
  12. ^ "State Archives of Florida Online Catalog, Creator:Bletcher, Billy, 1894-1979, Title, Dates:Billy Bletcher's Vim Southern Studio motion picture photographs, 1915–1917". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-07-26.