If you've ever heard that Snow White was the first feature-length animated movie then, according to film historian Phil Hall, you'd be wrong.
In 1917, an Argentine animator named Quirino Cristani shot a satire film entitled El Apostol, predating Disney's Snow White by 20 years. While technically correct, it's important to note that El Apostol was made with cutout animation, as opposed to traditional cel animation in which each frame is drawn by hand, how Snow White was made.
Sadly "all the materials related to the film were destroyed" by a fire that took down Quirino's entire studio, which would make it a "lost film."
In this interview Phil Hall addresses this, and many other lost films (such as the Marx Brothers first film Humor Disk) as he promotes his new book on the subject.
A testament to how important it is to find, restore, and preserve as much of film history as possible.
American films were very popular overseas – especially in the silent cinema era, when it was easy to change the intertitles to accommodate non-English-speaking audiences. And Hollywood’s output was so overwhelming in quantity and quality that few global film industries were able to compete in terms of content creation or audience appreciation. When films were sold for overseas sales, many of them remained uncollected by their sales agents after their theatrical releases were completed. Thankfully, a lot of these works wound up being donated to museums or archives in those nations – an act of altruism that saved many, many American films that disappeared in their nation of origin.