Founded in 1920 Jacksonville, Florida’s Norman Studios was among the nation’s first to produce films starring African American characters in positive, non-stereotypical roles, contrasting the derogatory roles offered by the era’s mainstream filmmakers. It is the last surviving studio complex from the River City’s heyday as a wintertime film production hub.
“The Flying Ace” Screens at NY’s Cinema Arts Centre
Two Norman films, “The Flying Ace” and short film, “Sleepy Sam the Sleuth” will screen at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, New York on February 18, 7:30 pm.
Famed silent film musician Ben Model will provide live accompaniment on the organ for both Norman films, plus “The Two Knights of Vaudeville,” a 1915 short film by Chicago’s Ebony Film co.
Norman’s full-length film, “The Flying Ace” is the story of Captain Billy Stokes, who returns home victorious after World War I to resume his civilian career as a railroad detective. This marked the first time that an African American was portrayed as a wartime aviation hero – a portrayal that would inspire numerous young boys to later become members of the Tuskegee Airmen. While much less historic, but equally as fun, “Sleepy Sam the Sleuth” follows a would-be detective on the hunt for a band of chicken thieves.
Click here to get your tickets, and check back soon for a Q&A blog post with silent film accompanist and Norman Studios friend Ben Model.
Richard Norman Biography Hits Shelves
A long overdue full biography on Richard Norman, the Jacksonville film producer who helped break racial barriers in the early film industry, is now available. We sat with consummate author Barbara Tepa Lupack about her experience researching and writing “Richard E. Norman and Race Filmmaking”. Click here to read our Q&A with Barbara.
Play a Supporting Role in the Norman Studios
Love silent and classic film? Looking for a way to contribute something fantastic to the local film, cultural or historic preservation scene? The Norman Studios is building its cast of supporting stars to help further our initiatives. We’re looking for volunteer researchers, bloggers, film production crew, grantwriters, presenters and event planners and helpers. Click here to see how you can lend your talents to the Norman Studios’ big comeback!