Watch youtube video Trailer here
A St. Augustine-based documentary film company, Small Planet Pictures, screened its trailer for “America: The Prequel” for the City Commission and local residents Monday, even though the film won’t be aired until the fall.
A secondary title in the opening credits is “Uncovering Our Untold Past.”
“This is one of the more exciting components (of the city’s 450th anniversary celebration) to come along in quite a while, because the purpose of the 450th is to tell the true and accurate history of St. Augustine,” said John Regan, city manager.
The $500,000 cost to make the documentary will be paid by the University of Florida’s Direct Support Organization (DSO), which was expressly formed to accept donations from organizations, the Legislature and local residents.
However, the commission learned Monday that another $200,000 is needed to create a curriculum for Florida schools that would assist students both in Florida and other states to learn the “untold” story of the city’s founding.
To reach that extra amount, $50,000 will come from the St. Augustine Historical Society and another $75,000 from the DSO.
On Monday, the DSO requested $75,000 from the city.
Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline made a motion to approve and the board voted 4-0 with Commissioner Roxanne Horvath absent to take that money from reserves.
“I can’t imagine the city of St. Augustine not participating,” she said.
Allan Lastinger, chairman of the DSO, said UF will design the educational component, though some of it may be contracted out with support and approval by the Florida Humanities Council.
“It will have enormous educational value, but it also has enormous economic development potential as well,” Lastinger said. “It can be web based and available anywhere someone wants it.”
Attending Monday were Small Planet’s Robbie Gordon, the film’s writer and producer, and Tony Haines, its director, who has filmed documentaries for ABC News and at three Olympics.
“This is a great fit for PBS,” Haines said.
Gordon, professor of media at Flagler College, said the goal is for the film and educational component to be ready together.
“We want to create a page where teachers can plan with their students,” she said. “Flagler College has been working in complete tandem with us.”
The site would feature interpretive maps, interviews with historian Michael Gannon and archeologists Kathy Deagan and Carl Halbirt, timelines, lesson plans and suggested tasks, she said.
Lastinger said, “This will be the University of Florida’s legacy to St. Augustine for the 450th.”
Stay at Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast and celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine!