Production company: A. – F. Parnaland (1896-1907)
Parnaland is a name which is almost completely unknown, apart from its links to the “Doyen Affair” and the founding of the Éclair company. Ambroise-François Parnaland, one of the pioneers of animated photography, registered his patent in February 1896, and presented his first “filmed views” beginning in 1897. From the foundation of his first company with his brother, until the premises became the Éclair company, in 1907, Parnaland made more than 500 films, of all genres: “actualities, historical, scientific, comedies, films that can be run backwards, transformations, trick films, etc., etc.” (Parnaland Catalogue, 1901). But this is not the place for an in-depth history of the company; that has already been published by Laurent Mannoni.
The history of the Éclair company is as well known as the films it produced, but the “Anciens Etablissements Parnaland”, and the films made there, are almost completely unknown. Among the hundreds of films acquired between 1897 and 1906 by Sagarmínaga – one of Spain’s cinema pioneers, whose collection is currently being restored by the Filmoteca Española – are about 30 films produced by Parnaland, which constitute about one-third of the 35mm (Edison format) films in the collection.
Despite the important role played by Parnaland in the very first years of cinema, it is difficult to find the information needed to identify their films. This is why we are thrilled to be able to show around 40 Parnaland films at this year’s festival, nearly all the titles recovered so far. These films have been conserved and restored by the Filmoteca Española (Madrid), Lobster Films (Paris), and the Filmoteca de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Barcelona). We hope that this screening will lead to many more Parnaland productions being identified and restored.