Highlighting Florida’s essential, often overlooked role in shaping American film and television
“Tells the unique and remarkable story of the film industry in Florida—a long saga involving pioneering filmmakers, short-sighted politicians, and con men looking to cash in.”—Susan Doll, coauthor of Florida on Film: The Essential Guide to Sunshine State Cinema and Locations
“Updating our understanding of the film industry in Florida and the films it made, Morton brings contemporary historical methodologies to his well-researched volume.”—Maureen Turim, author of Flashbacks in Film: Memory & History
Motion Picture Paradise is a sweeping story of filmmaking in Florida, featuring the activities of studios and filmmakers across the peninsula by looking at the many iconic films and television shows shot in the state. In the early years of the American film industry, Florida was a favorite location for pioneer movie makers, and David Morton chronicles the state’s importance to producers throughout the next 125 years.
Often overshadowed by the well-known entertainment industries of Hollywood and New York, Florida has over time had several major film production centers. Morton follows the rise and fall of filmmaking destinations across the state, including Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Miami, as well as pioneering underwater and location-based films shot at Florida’s unique natural springs. He argues that conflicting policies set by Florida politicians have, at various times, enticed or pushed away movie and television companies, a pattern that has hampered serious investment.
Using a wealth of source materials, Morton offers a comprehensive history that demonstrates how films and television shows made in Florida have influenced the state’s sense of identity, drawing attention to Florida’s underacknowledged role as the “third coast” in American film history. Motion Picture Paradise adds new insights into the state’s dramatic social and economic transformations during the twentieth century.
David Morton is a lecturer in film and history at the University of Central Florida.
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