Key West: Bohemia in the Tropics is lively account of a largely unknown story: how a radical government experiment in community building during the Great Depression created the Key West of today.
The film introduces characters such as New Deal administrator Julius Stone, who leads the controversial effort to transform Key West into "The Bermuda of Florida." And we meet some of the era's preeminent poets and writers, including Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens and Ernest Hemingway, who "discover" Key West in the 1920s and are outraged by the government's transformation of "their" sleepy little island into a tourist town.
The film features interviews with famous contemporary writers such as Gore Vidal and Russell Banks, who offer first-person accounts of how they were lured to Key West by its bohemian reputation. Newly uncovered archival photos and footage include rare Hemingway home movies from the JFK Memorial Library.
In a fast-paced half hour, BOHEMIA IN THE TROPICS traces the development of the island's reputation in the popular culture and explores how that image has continued to draw millions of visitors to a place where, as the writer John Dos Passos described it, "Life is agreeable, calm and gently colored with Bacardi."
Premiered November 22nd 2010