St. Augustine celebrates 450th with doc

Published On: Mar 21 2014 06:28:08 AM EDT
Updated On: Mar 21 2014 09:40:00 AM EDT

The city of St. Augustine will turn 450 years old in a few months. A large part of the anniversary celebration will be broadcast to people all over the country in the form of a PBS documentary.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -

The City of St. Augustine will turn 450 years old this year and to commemorate being the oldest continually occupied European settlement in the U.S., the city is celebrating over a four-year period that started in 2013.

A huge part of the anniversary celebration will be broadcast to people all over the country, in the form of a PBS documentary.

The entire series is being produced by a local company called Small Planet Pictures. The four-part documentary, called “America: The Prequel” will reveal the untold history of St. Augustine.

At a brand new office in the middle of Jacksonville Beach is where you’ll find Tony Haines, who, since last September, has spent much of his time editing a documentary that will “uncover our untold past”.

“This documentary takes us from 1565 when Menendez landed in St Augustine to 1821 which is known as kind of like the end of the colonial period,” said director Tony Haines.

The University of Florida, Flagler College and the City of St. Augustine are all behind this $500,000 production. The goal is for it to play for people around the country and in classrooms as an educational component.

“We just hit the halfway point. In the production timeline, what that means to people is that, we’ve got all our interviews shot, might have a few more to do and now comes the fun stuff which is all the re-enactments and we’re going to set sail on the Gallion that’s anchored off St Augustine,” said Haines.

The search is on now for an A-list voice to bring this series even more life than it already has.

“National audiences want to hear a known voice, you know you’ve got people out there like Morgan Freeman doing documentaries and you know we want to find that voice so we’re open for suggestions right now, we need a big time voice for this project,” said Haines.

With momentum from two big schools and the oldest city and the talent of his local, 5-star national emmy award-winning partner on the project, Tony Haines said this series will be a hit and draw attention to Florida like never before.

“Robbie Gordon is our writer-producer on the project and you may not know her name, but you know her work. She’s done countless segments for ABC primetime and 20/20 going back probably 20 maybe 25 years.

Anything Diane Sawyer did for 20/20 or Primetime was Robbie’s project,” said Haines.

Haines said they’re scheduled to be on the air in 2015. They’ll likely present it to PBS next fall and then hopefully be on local PBS stations around the country.

Tony also said there is a huge surprise coming, it involves something that’s never been done with a documentary series, he can’t reveal it until he presents that to University of Florida at the end of March.

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