Two USF professors promote Florida on film

As expected, the process of writing a book requires a great amount of work and research. Such was the case for Sunshine in the Dark: Florida in the Movies, a book co-authored by two USF professors. However, the type of research the authors had to perform was not just standard bookwork.

“It was the most unusual research,” said Bob Ingalls, one of the authors. “What we did was watch movies.”

Ingalls and Susan Fernandez have been working together for the past four years to publish the book, expected out by the end of the year, which deals with filmmakers and the image of Florida they portray in movies.

“We wanted to explore the reality of how Florida is portrayed in movies and what Florida is really like,” Fernandez said.Fernandez and Ingalls watched and researched more than 300 Florida films dating as far back as 1914. All of the movies they researched dealt with three major components: setting, environment and plot. They also noted recurring themes in the movies, which led to the organization of their book.

The book deals with issues in Florida that have become predominant central ideas in movies, such as race, class, crime and environment. Fernandez also noted that the accuracy of these components and themes in the movies rarely matched that of Florida in reality.

“Independent films have actually managed to depict the image of Florida most accurately,” she said.

Regardless of the accuracy of Florida’s depiction in the movies, Sunshine in the Dark: Florida in the Movies focuses on becoming a medium between the big screen and reality.

“This book is directed at the general public, people who enjoy Florida history and people who just enjoy movies,” Ingalls said.

The book is being published by University Press and is anticipated to be out in stores around Christmas time.