“Motion Pictures at a Great Savings: A History of Florida’s Film and Television Industry” to be next Distinguished Speaker Series Talk featuring Dr. David Morton
May 30, 2023 – (KEY WEST, FL). On Wednesday, June 7, history and media studies professor Dr. David Morton will give a talk on the history of filmmaking in Florida as part of the Key West Art & Historical Society’s Distinguished Speaker Series. His lecture entitled, “Motion Pictures at a Great Savings! A History of Florida’s Film and Television Industry” takes place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton Street.
Often overlooked in its contribution to film history, Florida has played a key role in creating the modern entertainment industry. Morton’s presentation will discuss how Florida became a “third coast” to the American film and television industries over the past one hundred years. Starting with the first film pioneers in Jacksonville during the 1900s and 1910s to South Florida’s television boom during the 2000s and 2010s, Florida has inspired countless exciting stories captured by the camera.
“The history of filmmaking in Florida offers an alternate universe of sorts, raising the question, what would the American motion picture industry might have looked like if it had not been incumbered by the hegemony of the Hollywood studio system?” says Morton. “Unlike California, where the center of production has consistently been centered around Los Angeles, at different times over the past one hundred years Florida has had several different major production hubs.”
Several films will be highlighted during his presentation including “The Flying Ace,” “The Yearling,” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Of particular interest to attendees will be an emphasis on the motion picture “Carib Gold” that was filmed largely in Key West during the 1950s. Staring Ethel Waters, Coley Wallace, and Cicely Tyson, “Carib Gold” is a maritime-themed B-movie that tells the story of a sailor on a shrimp boat fishing off the Florida Keys who discovers a sunken treasure of gold while diving to repair some nets. Trying to lay claim to the treasure, violence erupts onboard the vessel resulting in the death of the captain. A manhunt ensues through the Keys by the harbor police and in several local seedy bars until the killer is brought to justice.
The presenter, David Morton, received his Ph.D. in Texts and Technology from the University of Central Florida in 2019, where he also is an instructor in both History and Media Studies. He was a recipient of the 2016-17 Fulbright scholarship and serves as program director for the Flickering Landscapes Conference Series. His forthcoming book, “Motion Pictures at Great Saving: A History of the Florida Film and Television Industry” is expected for publication in 2023 with University Press of Florida.
To reserve tickets for the lecture; visit kwahs.org/dss-morton - $12 for KWAHS members, $15 for non-members. Funding for this program was provided by Florida Humanities and sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture. Additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust, Aloys & Carol Metty and The John & Marilyn Rintamaki Family Charitable Fund. For more information, contact Cori Convertito, Ph.D. at 305-295-6616 x507 or email@example.com. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
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