Hollywood East Documentary
Hollywood East: Florida’s Silent Film Legacy
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The Norman Studios Silent Film Museum (NSSFM) and the Art Institute of Jacksonville have completed production of Hollywood East: Florida’s Silent Film Legacy.Written, shot and edited by AIJ staff and film students, the 30-minute documentary examines Northeast Florida’s brief but glorious stint as the “Winter Film Capital of the World” and will air on WJCT and digital sister-station 4WJCT.
A century ago, Jacksonville was beginning an exciting new era as the winter hub of the burgeoning motion picture industry with more than thirty studios located here during the heyday. The likes of Lillian Gish, the Barrymore clan, and a funny newcomer named Oliver Hardy wintered and worked in the town that had become the nation’s most modern by way of the post-Great Fire recovery. After a glamorous two decades, a tragic plot twist would send filmmakers westward to California.
Fast forward 100 years to the restoration of the Norman Studios – Jacksonville’s only surviving silent film studio complex, which was also one of the first to produce films that starred black actors in positive roles. NSSFM and partners aim to save and share Northeast Florida’s stories of its earliest days in the motion picture spotlight.
“Jacksonville’s contribution to film history is an amazing, but largely forgotten one,” says Director Nadia Ramoutar, Media Arts Director for the Art Institute and President of the Jacksonville Film Festival Board of Directors. “We want to remind the filmmaking world that much of its story starts here on the First Coast. It’s something that Jacksonville-area residents can be profoundly proud of.”
Hollywood East producers interviewed Capt. Dick Norman, son of silent filmmaker Richard Norman; historian, author and fellow NSSFM Advisor Dr. Carolyn Williams; The First Hollywood author Shawn Bean; and James Bonner, a 101-year-old Jacksonvillian who shares first-hand memories of the area’s silent filmmaking days.
A DVD copy of Hollywood East makes a great addition to your collection and the perfect gift for fellow film buffs.