American Mutoscope was the first production company to visit Rhode Island (that we're aware of), and also happens to be the oldest movie company in the United States, established in 1896.
This short, silent, black-and-white clip from the Edison Manufacturing Company shows the USA's Columbia beating Ireland's Shamrock during the 1899 America's Cup competition.
Columbia was designed and built by Bristol's Herreshoff Manufacturing Company.
Against a background of well defined clouds, the Light Boat is seen marking the finishing line in this great aquatic struggle.As the Columbia crosses the line, followed closely by the Shamrock, we see the steam from the whistle of the Light Ship announcing the well earned victory of the American yacht." The races took place October 16 to 20, 1899, not in Rhode Island, but off Sandy Hook, New Jersey.Parades were apparently very popular subjects in the early days of film, perhaps because they showed lots of movement and pageantry.Since the early days of cinema, Rhode Island has been a prime filming location.Things were a little slow around here filmwise during the 1930s and '60s, but the '90s made up for that, earning our state the sobriquet "Hollywood of the East." And ever since the General Assembly passed legislation in 2005 granting tax breaks to productions filming in the Ocean State, the number of local projects has exploded.
Listed below are dozens of features, documentaries, and shorts with Rhode Island connections.We've tried our best to list every location, within our borders, that has been immortalized on celluloid.If you know of one we've missed, drop us a line at [email protected] further information on film production in Rhode Island, see the Rhode Island Film and Television Office website. This silent, black-and-white short is perhaps the very earliest filmed record of anything connected with Rhode Island.Copies of many of the early, silent films listed below are owned by the Rhode Island Historical Society and are in need of preservation. It was shot by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1898.We're guessing it shows a Providence military unit marching in a Pittsburgh parade.