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Film made about St. Augustine to be shown at local film festival

The docudrama sheds light on little-known pieces of the Civil Rights Movement in the old city that lead to national change.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The St. Augustine Film Festival starts Thursday and runs through the weekend. 

Over the last 12 years it’s become very popular, showing films that are also shown at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals.

One film featured this year is home-grown.

The film is Freedom on Our Mind.

Lura Readle-Scarpitti produced it because "it needed to be told."

The film is about modern-day college film students who follow the path of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior which takes them to St. Augustine. They find out the civil rights movement was about more than Dr. King.

"He was part of it, and there’s a whole other world they didn’t know about," Readle-Scarpitti said. 

The docudrama  was written and directed by St. Augustine local Chad Light. He and Readle-Scarpitti researched the local history and incorporated real stories and archival footage of civil rights marchers being harassed and beaten.

It was entirely shot in St. Augustine. 

"It did not occur to us to shoot anywhere else," Readle-Scarpitti said. "Obviously Georgia is the 800 pound gorilla in the production world, but it’s a St. Augustine story."

She would like to see Florida reestablish tax incentives for filming in the sunshine state, like Georgia has.

"It’s really sad because George is making – not millions – but billions of dollars in revenue," she noted. 

However, Paul Sirmons, a different film producer (who was not a part of this production), who also lives in St. Johns County, told First Coast News in December that he supports a bill before the legislature that would create a conservative incentive program in Florida for movie making.

"Georgia is giving gobs of money," Sirmons said. "I want a conservative program in my state. It’s still our money. It’s still tax money."

As for this film, Freedom on Our Mind, Readle-Scarpitti hopes it teaches.

"It’s a history that is relatively unknown. Any time we show this film to anybody or talk about it, almost all the time it’s like, 'Oh my god! I didn’t realize that.'”

Freedom on My Mind will be shown at 10 a.m.Saturday at the St. Augustine Film Festival at the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College.  There are also options to watch it online. 

For more information, click here. 


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