The beginnings of film go back to the 19th century and to the
pace of technogical innovation in the last third of that century.
Although European advances in recording movement (such as those by
Eadweard Muybridge in England and Etienne Jules Marey in France)were
key, it was Thomas Alva Edison in America and his assistant William
Kennedy Laurie Dickson who are generally credited with the inventions
that created the film industry. From Edison's laboratory in West
Orange NJ came the precursors of two essential technologies for film
entertainment : a camera (called the Kinetograph) and a projector
device (called the Kinetoscope). Edison also established the world's
first film studio, a tar-paper-covered room with a retractable roof
called the Black Maria. There was produced the world's first
copyrighted film, "The Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze," which
recorded employee Fred Ott sneezing (not much of a plot!.
As for the "cultural influences" that pertain in early film industry,
one above all must be cited: the rapid evolution of "mass society" and
"mass communications." The drive to inform, entertain, influence and
market to the largest numbers of people possible was reshaping the
industrial world. And new technologies were enabling this change to
happen with great speed.
May I highly recommend to you this Website as an excellent source of
information on all of film history: www.filmsite.org.
Happy moviegoing to you!