An aerial view of a coastline with the words 'Amphibious Screens"
Credit: Joanne Garde-Hansen

Join this workshop, exploring the relationship between Miami’s marine ecosystems and the screen industry.

Thursday, January 27

19.30 GMT/14:30 EST

Wedged between two of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world (the Everglades and the barrier reef), Miami is a highly developed urban and tourist space with a transitory population and a cultural identity and social fabric spread over millennia of Indigenous, colonial, and immigrant populations.

Marine biomes and relational values are deeply endemic, and the coastal and marine pursuits of boating, fishing, diving, and beach-going guaranty a high degree of preservationism, which itself is countered by excessive housing development, transport pollution, and ecosystem disruption.

The area was a key site for marine amusement park development in the postwar era, with the 1955 opening of the Miami Seaquarium marking a crucial benchmark in the intersection between local marine interests, capitalist exploitation of aquatic wildlife, and a boom in forms of entertainment reliant on new underwater cinematographic technologies. 

A hub for mobile film and television production due to its clement weather, clear water, and economic ease, this mecca of underwater cinematography has sprouted a micro-industry of media practitioners whose pivotal position between film industry and local ecosystem has been fraught with contradiction, constantly balancing a fine line between environmental protection and entertainment media.

By 2000, Miami-Dade County was responsible for half of the state’s media production, having enticed popular franchises Bad Boys and The Fast and the Furious as well as a number of other films and television shows.

Preceded by the slow growth of a state rebate program initiated in 2003, the Entertainment Industry Economic Development Act passed in 2010, allocating $242million in tax rebates and credits over the following five years, which drew enough production to Miami to place it third in national media production behind L.A. and New York.  Moreover, due to Miami’s demographic diversity and proximity to the Caribbean, it also became the focal node for Latin American and Spanish-language media.

This workshop will explore the values that the area’s marine ecosystems bring to the screen industry, the impacts of that industry on those ecosystems, and how the two might work together in coming years to mitigate the threats of marine ecosystem destabilization and sea level rise.


About this series

This Sustainable Cultures of Water Seminar Series has been funded by the University of Warwick’s Research Development Fund and is a collaboration between Warwick’s Centre for Cultural & Media Policy Studies and Global Sustainable Development with the Minderoo Centre for Technology & Democracy, University of Cambridge and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

Researchers of film, television and screen cultures and environmental sciences will discuss with industry professionals and regional environmental sectors the subject of sustainable screen production in water-based locations.