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Something different

Moviemaking among the mangroves

By Times Staff
Published May 20, 2004

Long before The Punisher and Lethal Weapon 3 blew up chunks of Pinellas County, the dream of producing movies locally was alive and, for a brief time, thriving.

Sun Haven Studios was created on Weedon Island in 1933 and produced three films before closing its doors that year. Even film legend Buster Keaton resided in St. Petersburg for several weeks attempting to make a movie, although those plans fell through.

The brief, memorable life of Sun Haven Studios is the subject of a one-hour seminar Saturday, "When Hollywood Came to Weedon Island." The seminar begins at 11 a.m. at Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, 1800 Weedon Drive in northeast St. Petersburg.

Historical researcher Lisa K. Bradberry will present a lecture on Sun Haven Studio's history plus portions of two of the three films produced there: Chloe, Love Is Calling You, above, a melodrama featuring an interracial romance, and Hired Wife, in which a man pays a woman to marry him so he can receive an inheritance. (No footage is available from the third production, Playthings of Desire.)

Admission is free, but registration is strongly suggested. Call (727) 453-6500 for information.

[Last modified May 19, 2004, 15:42:14]

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