New Documentary Celebrates Miami Beach’s Past

Long before Art Deco was a movement and prior to the arrival of the youth culture of MTV and Miami Vice, South Beach was home to the largest cluster of Jewish retirees in the country. In the award-winning documentary The Last Resort now playing in South Florida, Miami filmmakers Dennis Scholl and Kareem Tabsch take audiences on a trip down memory lane to the Miami Beach of yesteryear in a film The New York Times called “a story that’s fascinating, poignant”.

Intrigued by the small apartments, low-cost of living, sunny weather, and thriving cultural life, they came in the thousands seeking refuge from the Northeast’s brutal winters. By the 1970’s, these former New Yorkers were turning from seasonal visitors to year-round residents, all the while making Miami Beach home to a population that was primarily over 70 and overwhelmingly Jewish.

The film is a collaboration between Scholl and Tabsch both whom have deep connections to Miami’s cultural community. Scholl is the CEO of Art Center South Florida and along with his wife Debra, a noted contemporary art collector. Tabsch is the co-founder and co-director of the beloved O Cinema theaters. While each have made films on their own prior, this is their first collaboration.

In The Last Resort, viewers embark on a journey to the iconic Miami Beach of yesterday thru the lens of young photographers Andy Sweet and Gary Monroe. With camera in hand, they embarked upon an ambitious 10-year project to document the aging population living in the sunburned paradise of 1970’s Miami Beach and into the changing, turbulent 1980’s. Working in different styles and approaches they captured the end of an era through engrossing black and white images by Monroe juxtaposed with Sweet’s captivating candy-hued color photos. The result is one of the most fascinating photographic documentations of a community ever caught on film.

After premiering at the Miami Jewish Film Festival last year and nabbing the Audience Favorite Award, the film went on to play festivals throughout the country and opened theatrically in New York City in December where it played for three weeks. It’s gone on to play in theaters in Toronto and Los Angeles as well as select cities around the country.

Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in Sweet’s work. A book of his photographs titled, Shtetl in the Sun, was recently published by Letter16 Press and a companion n exhibition of Sweet’s work will open at the Jewish Museum of Florida- FIU in March.

Featuring interviews with Pulitzer prize winner Edna Buchanan, filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, Jewish Museum of Florida Executive Director Susan Gladstone and photographer Gary Monroe, The Last Resort is a celebration of some of Miami’s greatest visual artists and a stunning testament to a community all but forgotten…until now.

The Last Resort is now playing at O Cinema Miami Beach and the Coral Gables Art Cinema.

Connect To Your Customers & Grow Your Business

Click Here


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here