So Flo Guns - A new documentary for release early 2022.
South Florida’s entangled gun environment begins right here more than 500 years ago. So too America’s gun culture.
At the core of our documentaries is a historical documentation of the past. This requires lots of time in museums, libraries, collections, etc. Just as importantly, we require the goodwill of supporting organizations and individuals who open up their archives and help guide the process with their expertise. We are indebted to them.
Research for So Flo Guns began in 2018 with an interview with Dr. Paul George and will continue through the early summer. Here’s a list of some of the museums we are looking to:
We plan to finish our shoots by October 2021. Though Covid restrictions are still a consideration it looks like most things should be available to us in the relatively short term. Many museums are open already.
For an idea of what we do with all this research please take a look at the Old Floods segment from our 2017 film So Flo Floods. It provides a good look at the kinds of elements we will bring to So Flo Guns including interviews, graphics, historical archives, even an animation. In the new film we will upgrade all of these elements with improved lighting and sound, better graphics, improved animation(s), etc. The new film also has something So Flo Floods did not. A more engaging subject that lends itself to visual storytelling with lots of supporting media and artifacts. That is, floods by their nature leave little behind for examination. Guns are the opposite in that there is so much to be examined including the guns themselves.
Here’s a link to the 15-minute Old Floods segment:
We are very fortunate to have Dr. Paul George’s involvement in both films and feature many excellent photos from HistoryMiami’s archives of the 1926 Miami Hurricane in the Old Floods segment. Similarly, we received a great deal of help from the LEW Museum of the Glades in Belle Glade remembering the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane that devastated the region.
Dr. George is Miami’s premiere historian at HistoryMiami Museum and we look forward to his contributions to the new film. For a taste of what we can look forward to we include the following brief clip in which he discusses the Cocaine Cowboy era and Miami’s gun culture.
We owe much to the keepers of our history and look forward to getting “back in the stacks” over the coming months. We plan to reach out to other repositories, collections, and aficionados we find along the way who might be willing to perform live-fire demonstrations of their firearms and interviews.
If you can think of additional museums and collectors we should contact please contact us.
Including clips from:
While not a trailer people can begin to get a feel for where we are and what we are going for.
About A.J. Niilo and Gunz
We are very fortunate to have Miami’s own A.J. Niilo compose the theme song for the film: “Gunz”. Coming out of Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School A.J. was classically trained throughout high school receiving the Silver Knight award. A.J. currently performs with Taylor Dayne and Debbie Gibson, having performed and toured with David Lee Roth, Shakira, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Joss Stone and many others. He writes music for television and currently has music on the cable network Epix on the show "Get Shorty" and on Hulu's "The Handmaid’s Tale." He pursued learning the musical craft by playing in the local Miami clubs with the popular band Pangea. Here’s what he had to say about Gunz:
“In this song I wanted to express the two sides of the gun issue. Those that feel threatened and want to guard their right to own all guns and those that want responsible gun ownership with strict gun laws to stop the persistent loss of life on a daily basis. The tension of both ideologies come through with a scream. I express the different emotional shades of the American culture of guns today.” - A.J. Niilo
South Florida’s entangled gun environment begins right here more than 500 years ago.
So too America’s gun culture.
For release early 2022.
Guns and South Florida go together like palm trees, sand, and art deco hotels. They’ve been here since before anyone can remember and are more numerous than people. It’s clear they are not going anywhere and are also a scourge on its citizens. We love them, and we hate them, and our politics can seem twisted by them with South Florida (So Flo) especially stained by them in the national psyche.
Filming for So Flo Guns began in the immediate wake of the Parkland shooting, February 14, 2018. A month later we documented the March for Our Lives protest on Miami Beach. Later in the spring we interviewed the organizer of a gun show and documented its goods. Additional interviews, including Dr. Paul George, resident historian of HistoryMiami, took place over the summer. October’s Line in the Sand demonstration on South Beach in which members of Florida Carry took their rifles and sidearms to South Pointe was the last shoot to date. 2019 found us with other priorities it seems and 2020 was taken up by the pandemic.
Paul George on the Cocaine Cowboy Era.
2021 brings a renewed passion to finish the film even before the most recent mass shooting epidemic. Assuming COVID-19 is enough in the rearview mirror to allow shooting in the summer of 2021, with three months of post-production in the fall, we will be ready to roll out the finished film shortly thereafter.
Ten shoots are planned over the summer and include firing a matchlock musket like Ponce de Leon in the 16th century, as well as a Kentucky long rifle like troops had in the Seminole Wars. Coincident with a stop at Al Capone’s house in Miami Beach, we will feature a Tommy gun. Next we’ll focus on the Cocaine Cowboy era that will bring us up to the modern day AR-15. Plans to visit Liberty City will bring in civic leaders to discuss the everyday shootings that occur in their neighborhoods and the handguns that are such a neglected part of the story.
One shoot is planned outside of South Florida with a gun manufacturer in New England where we intend to document, buy, and shoot a new Kentucky long rifle working replica. Why New England? Because Florida produces few of the guns it uses. New England has always been a big supplier of guns. Why this particular firearm? Because it is the same kind available at the time the 2nd Amendment was adopted -- and a big purpose of our film is to illustrate the evolution of the guns themselves. And to show how far we are from what the Founding Fathers could ever have imagined when they gave us the right to bear arms.
Gadsden Flag circa 1776.
The fourth quarter of 2021 will find the footage in Kathmandu where our editor Amit Nepali and his studio are located. Our trans-world post-production habits are well honed with this being our fifth feature documentary.
At the moment we are logging footage, preparing a trailer, working with the music creators, and beginning to scour museums from Key West to Naples to Belle Glade to Miami, digging through archives, identifying the guns, artifacts, press clippings, locations, and fascinating interviewees for the film.
A.J. Niilo - Composer of So Flo Guns theme song Gunz.
So Flo Guns speaks to the various points of view of the gun discussion and helps people understand that the gun situation here is historic and intractable – but not hopeless. Perhaps it’s not about eliminating guns, but de-risking them. Get it back to what it was when the Kentucky Long Rifle was state-of-the-art, back when the 2nd Amendment was written. Because it doesn’t take a genius to see that Daniel Boone’s rifle bears little resemblance to an AR-15.
For more click here.