Independent Moving Pictures
The Independent Moving Pictures Company or Imp Films was a movie studio/production company founded in 1909 by Carl Laemmle, and was located at Eleventh Avenue and 53rd Street New York City, and in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
The first movie produced by IMP was Hiawatha (1909) starring Gladys Hulette, a one-reel drama short based on the 1855 poem The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. At a time when leading screen players worked anonymously, IMP performers Florence Lawrence, formerly known as "The Biograph Girl," and King Baggot became the first "movie stars" to be given billing and screen credits, a marquee as well as promotion in advertising, which contributed to the creation of the star system.
In the early 20th century, the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC), or the Trust, was fought by the unlicensed independent films (dubbed "pirates" or "outlaws"), led by Laemmle. Others against the MPPC included Harry E. Aitken (Majestic Films), William Fox (founder of the Fox Film Corporation), and Adolph Zukor (Famous Players Film Company, a precursor to Paramount). The flexible, stealthy and adventurous independents avoided coercive MPPC restrictions (the requirement to use only Trust film stock and projectors, for example) by using unlicensed equipment, obtaining their own film materials, and making movies on the sly. After the independents incorporated themselves into the Motion Picture Distributing and Sales Company, with Laemmle as their president, the Trust issued an injunction against Laemmle for the camera being used, claiming that it was an infringement on their patents, but eventually lost.
Before long, the independents began moving to Southern California, and opened up a West Coast movie-making industry. In 1910, IMP began production in Los Angeles, and had a studio in Hollywood at Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street, which became known as "Gower Gulch" due to the actors dressed as cowboys and Indians waiting on that corner to be cast in westerns.
Then the Motion Picture Distributing and Sales Company began fighting among themselves, and that was disorganized. On June 8, 1912, IMP and other independent companies were absorbed into the newly incorporated Universal Film Manufacturing Company, with Laemmle as president.
- Rose, Liza (April 29, 2012), "100 years ago, Fort Lee was the first town to bask in movie magic", The Star-Ledger, retrieved 2012-11-11
- Hiawatha at the Internet Movie Database.
- New York Times, Dec. 1, 1912, "How Carl Laemmle Succeeded In Breaking The Moving Picture Trust," p. SM 14.