ARPP featured in FLMNH video

The Aucilla River Prehistory Project will soon be seen by PBS television view ers throughout Florida on Expedition Florida, the first of a new series of programs being produced by the Florida Museum of Natural History in cooperation with Wild Tracks Productions, a Gainesville based film production company specializing in natural history and cultural programming.

Filming was recently completed by Wild Tracks Productions for segments on the Aucilla and Wacissa rivers. Interviews were conducted with project director Dr. S. David Webb, director of diving operations Joe Latvis, and field scientific director C. Andrew Hemmings. All of the segments were shot on Super 16mm film for production in the 16:9 wide aspect ratio for later conversion to high definition television.

Expedition Florida, The Florida Museum of Natural History’s new television and radio series will take viewers on electronic field trips to explore Florida’s natural beauty. These natural sights and sounds will help Florida residents and visitors to develop a sense of place about Florida and our rapidly vanishing wild heritage. These programs will be distributed free of charge to all public television stations. Other segments in the first program will highlight the Calusa Indian project at Pine Island and the Northwest Florida caves such as those at Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna. In the future these segments will be available as radio features on Florida Public Radio and on the Florida Museum of Natural History web site.

The television series is being directed by Leslie Gaines, president of Wild Tracks Productions. In 1998 Mr. Gaines won two Emmy awards for his documentary projects: Black Bears and Biodiversity and The Gulf of Mexico: America’s Shining Sea.

He was nominated in October, 1998 by the American Indian Film Institute for Best Music Video for his direction of Ways of the Glades, a song by Seminole Indian Chief Jim Billie. The song is from Chief Billie’s latest CD, Alligator Tales, produced by John McEuen of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame. In December, 1998 Ways of the Glades was selected for screening at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. In June, 1998 Mr. Gaines won the First Place Broadcast Awards in the Conservation and Environment and Natural History categories from the Outdoor Writers Association of America for Black Bears and Biodiversity.

The Expedition Florida series is being written by Stephen Robitaille, PhD. Dr. Robitaille has created numerous documentaries on the arts and the environment. His most recent film, Archie Carr: In Praise of Wild Florida, on the noted sea-turtle expert and acclaimed natural history writer, features appearances by Peter Matthiessen and Russell Hoban and is distributed by Ironwood Films. Dr. Robitaille has also produced film portraits of Beat writer, Allen Ginsberg and poet, May Sarton. In addition to his work as a documentary producer, Dr. Robitaille is a member of the English/Media Studies faculty at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida.