The University of Central Florida’s Center for Humanities and Digital Research, College of Arts and Humanities,  is seeking papers for an upcoming conference, Flickering Landscapes: Florida’s Landscape, History, and Identity on the Screen, taking place in Orlando on November 12-14, 2015. The conference is geared toward academics from a broad range of disciplines and industry professionals, with the goal of initiating an ongoing dialogue on the dimensions of how Florida sees itself and is seen by the rest of the country through the lens of popular culture.

The First Hollywood; Pearl Bailey, Budd Ross, "Babe" Oliver Hardy and Ethel Burton: Actors and actresses in Jacksonville's motion picture industry (photo cred: Florida Memory - State Archives of Florida)

The First Hollywood; Pearl Bailey, Budd Ross, “Babe” Oliver Hardy and Ethel Burton: Actors and actresses in Jacksonville’s motion picture industry (photo cred: Florida Memory – State Archives of Florida)

Any form of screen experience relating to Florida is of interest: cinema, television, government and industry promotional film, training film, anthropological film, tourist experience video, home movies and non-professional video. The conference will likely trace back to the early years of the 20th century, when Jacksonville became the “Winter Film Capital of the World.” The first film studio opened there in 1908, to save money by using sunlight instead of pricey studio lights. Over the course of the next decade, 30 other studios followed, including Metro Pictures – later to become Hollywood giant, MGM. The studios eventually headed west to California when the people of Jacksonville began opposing such practices as filming bank robberies on Sundays, cars careening out of control in downtown and plunging into the St. Johns River, calling in false alarms to shoot a film of speeding fire trucks, and the like.

The Record Man featured at #MiamiFF 2015—a portrait of the late Henry Stone, a gutsy, enterprising music pioneer who ran an independent record empire out of a Hialeah warehouse; 80s TV show “Miami Vice”

Three key areas will be explored at the conference, including Landscape, History and Identity. Possible topics may include:

  • The relationship between Florida and the motion picture industry in
    • Jacksonville in the Silent Era
    •  The Race films of Richard Norman Studios
    •  The Gulf Coast Land Boom of the 1930s
    • Exploitation films at Wakulla and Silver Springs, 1950s-1960s
    • The “Hollywood East Movement” in Orlando, 1989-2000
  • South Florida television productions 1984-2010
  • The preservation of Florida film heritage sites.
  • From “Crackers to Cocaine Cowboys” archetypes of Florida-based characters on screen.
  • “Florida as the Promised Land:” Escapist films set in Florida or have Florida as the destination.
  • “Florida as a Backdrop:” Set design, Architecture, Still Images, Landscape.
  • Tax incentives and the economics of Florida filmmaking.
  • “Tin Can Tourism to Theme Parks:” Florida depicted as a vacation destination.
  • LGBTQ representations in Florida-set films.
  • “Paradise Lost and Found:” Beach, Swamps, Lakes, and Forests – Florida Ecology on Film.
  • Ethnographic and anthropological film
  • Non-commercial Florida on screen: corporate, government, and tourism films
  • The place of Florida in relation to other “secondary” film locations, (i.e. Wilmington, NC, Vancouver, BC, Toronto, ON, Dallas, TX, Pittsburg, PA, etc.)
  • The future of Florida’s film and television industry.

Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2015. Please view the Center’s Call for Papers page for details on submitting individual papers, panels or workshops.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti