Ambroise Francois Parnaland
- Category : 1854-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (1)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 1
French film director, businessman and inventor, his patents include the Photothéagraphe and the Cinepar cameras.
Ambroise-François Parnaland arrived in Paris in 1890 as a chartered accountant. Like his brother Louis, he was fascinated by mechanics, and they both filed several patents for various devices. On 24 April 1895, he founded the company Parnaland Frères in order to exploit his inventions. The PF logo would later cause confusion with Pathé Frères.
Parnaland was quickly drawn to chronophotography. On 26 February 1896, he filed his first patent for a camera, the Photothéagraphe. After further clumsy attempts, Parnaland achieved near perfection with a 9 June patent, having devised an efficient movement mechanism. The Parnaland camera, the Cinepar, was marketed in 1896. The following year Parnaland made his first films, built and sold cameras.
In 1898, he filmed the surgical operations of Dr Eugène-Louis Doyen, with the cameraman Clément Maurice. Parnaland marketed the films without Doyen's permission, and Doyen sued him. During this time, the Parnaland camera was used by Clément Maurice to make the sound films Phono-Cinéma-Théâtre. In 1904, Parnaland collaborated with Emmanuel Ventujol, a former colleague of Lumière. Several dozen films, intended for use at fairs, were produced until 1907.
He parted ways with Ventujola and Charles Jourjon, a lawyer, decided to provide financial support. On 22 April 1907, the public limited company "Films L'Éclair, Anciens Etablissements Parnaland", was created by Jourjon and Parnaland, and a catalog listing all the Parnaland films made between 1897 and 1907 was published. But the beginnings of the Éclair company were difficult and expensive (a château in Épinay was purchased to serve as a studio and office). Parnaland, a somewhat naive partner, was quickly withdrawn from the management.
Between 1910 and 1911 he again designed and marketed cameras, but business took a turn for the worse. In 1912, Parnaland returned to accounting. He died a year later, on 23 May 1913 at age 59, when the company Éclair, the third French company after Pathé and Gaumont, triumphed on the screens with the adventures of Zigomar.