Decoy Films 15th Year Anniversary Edition of GIBTOWN Now Available For World Wide Streaming, Motocinema, Inc.
Eddie and Grace LeMay ran one of the best carnival cookhouse concessions of the 1920s. One fall day the couple stopped their trailer by the Alafia River, in a sleepy Florida town called Gibsonton, for what they thought would be an hour’s rest. Eddie cast a fishing line in the water and immediately caught several fish for dinner that night. Moments later a group of locals came walking toward the trailer and the couple figured this would be the end of their stay. But the townspeople greeted them warmly and ever since then, Gibsonton, known to the locals as “Gibtown,” has been a gathering place for fellow showpeople, now spanning four generations.
Today one can still glimpse a town where the neighbors are marvels – meet Melvin Burkhart who retired to Florida like many other senior citizens, but will still nail a six- inch spike into his head for anyone who asks politely; Jeanie Tomaini the “half-girl” who married Al, an 8 foot 4 inch giant; the Parnells, an octogenarian couple who have produced various performing monkey acts for over 40 years. During the off-season, a walk through Gibsonton reveals ferris wheels, vividly painted show fronts and an occasional snoozing elephant or llama, evoking memories of carnival days gone by.
The award-winning documentary GIBTOWN chronicles the unique town of Gibsonton, Florida and its remarkable inhabitants, and touches upon the common chords of human experience that bind all communities together. The film focuses on intimate personal stories of its aging subjects and captures many of their last documented performances and interviews, preserving this quickly fading facet of American culture for generations to come.
GIBTOWN was honored with an unprecedented six awards at Florida’s Crystal Reel Awards in 2000 including Best Feature & Best Documentary. It picked up additional awards at the Chicago International TV Competition and the San Francisco International Film Festival and screened at IDFA, SXSW, and the Double Take, San Jose and USA Film Festivals before screening nationwide on PBS’ award winning series, Independent Lens. This is the first time GIBTOWN has been offered for home viewing.
GIBTOWN 15th Year Anniversary Edition
Decoy Film Properties, Inc.
Executive Producers: Loretta Harms, Maury Solomon
A Film by Melissa Shachat and Roger Schulte
Directed by: Melissa Shachat
Produced by: Loretta Harms, Roger Schulte, Maury Solomon
Director of Photography: James D. Cooper
Supervising Editor: Susanne Szabo Rostock
Editor: Roger Schulte
Associate Producer: Diana Philips