Friday, April 18, 2008

Old Seminole Heights, New Documentary

Last night was the premiere of "SEMINOLE HEIGHTS: An Intimate Look at the Early Years," a documentary about one of Tampa's historic neighborhoods. Produced by Suzanne Prieur of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and written and directed by Gene Howes of Cigar City Pictures, this 50-minute film played to a sold-out audience at the Tampa Theatre. Yep, sold out. A documentary. About a historic neighborhood. No, it is not a little theater. It's a very involved bunch of people who live in Seminole Heights.

It's a good documentary (and I'm not saying that just because I make a brief appearance). I thought they did a good job of balancing the places and personal stories, and bringing in connections between what was going on in the world at large and what was happening locally. The story moved along at a good speed, and the images were amusing. So, if you get a chance, buy a copy of the DVD -- proceeds will help pay for the next documentary to be produced, covering the years after 1945.

(photos: crowds and marquee at the Tampa Theatre for the premiere of the Seminole Heights documentary, April 17, 2008)


  1. Anonymous4:50 PM

    hate to be a naysayer, and I've reserved comment on most of the seminole heights sites, but since this is a history blog...

    have to say I was disappointed with the documentary. this was not so much history as a series of vignettes. little or no analysis or context. and I wish it had moved past WWII. why had most of the people they interviewed moved away? why was the only person of color a man in blackface?

    as a resident of the neighborhood I enjoyed hearing the stories. but as a historian (OK, a related discipline) I was a bit disappointed.

  2. These are good and valid comments. I do think that the video acheived at least some of the filmmakers' goals, to generate good will and social capital for Seminole Heights. I agree that this was not an in-depth social history of the neighborhood, but perhaps it will lead to future projects that address the questions you pose. A sequel might be a good place to discuss how and why the neighborhood changed, desegragation, and construction of the Interstate highway system. I would add to your questions -- what makes Seminole Heights unique among Tampa neighborhoods?


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