Documentary underway for St. Augustine's 450th | News
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla -- A documentary for St. Augustine's 450th birthday is in the filming process. Filmmakers aim to have it air on PBS next year.
The goal of the four-part documentary is to tell the history of America which predates Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. While many people on the First Coast know America's European roots have something to do with northeast Florida, many people around the county may not.
The documentary is called America: The Prequel, but the name could change by the time it hits the PBS airwaves, according to Tony Haines. He's the director of the project, and he is with Small Planet Productions out of Jacksonville Beach.
"It will be a television event," Haines said. "We were taught the wrong story about the founding of our country when we were growing up and going to school. This is supposed to set the record straight."
Haines along with writer and producer Robbie Gordon want to show the Spanish history of this country which took place decades before the British founded Jamestown.
"Spaniards founded this country," Haines said. "In the film we make that claim. It's a bold claim but we feel we've made a good case for that."
Gordon, who used to be a producer for Diane Sawyer, said, "I think there is a dis-connect between what we think America was all about and what it was."
The University of Florida and the City of St. Augustine are partly funding the documentary.
This week, filming took place in St. Augustine on the 16th century replica of a Spanish galleon, docked at the city's marina. The shoot was full of re-enactors, many of whom are local.
Moises Sztylerman was one of them. "The people who do it share a common interest, and it's just a lot of fun."
Haines said working with the re-enactors was "amazing. It's really like working with someone from another time." He added, "They are time-travelers, and they are eager to help."
The film crew went to Spain and around the USA, researching and shooting.
Haines aims to air the documentary on PBS by the fall of 2015, which happens to be St. Augustine's 450th birthday.