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Mermaids from John Sayles' film SUNSHINE STATE
Arts and Culture:
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John Sayles, one of our most celebrated independent filmmakers, examines the ever-changing landscape of America in his new film SUNSHINE STATE. Sayles has made a career as a writer and director eavesdropping on what's going on when nothing is happening. He always aims to tell the story of ordinary people:
A lot of what I do is just listen, eavesdrop, talk to people, hear their stories, try to figure out where they're coming from...which is often as important as what they're saying.
Unfolding during the week-long Buccaneer Days Festival, a new 'tradition' created by the local Chamber of Commerce, SUNSHINE STATE is set in Plantation Island, Florida, a place where local real estate development is changing a modest beachside community into an upscale, manicured resort for winter-weary Northerners. The long-time locals, are divided on whether to cash in or stand their ground. The newcomers are eager to enjoy the good life and/or make a quick buck. Plantation Island, like its residents, is in transition.

  • To watch scenes from John Sayles' new film SUNSHINE STATE click on the icons below. Read Bill Moyers and John Sayles' complete conversation.

  • Alan King
    Alan King
  • Nature on a Leash

    In this scene Alan King, as Murray Silver, explains how a swamp in Florida became part of the American dream.

    "American history is full of people saying the Christian thing to do, the [white] thing to do, is to tame nature, is to get rid of all of those trees and all those mosquitos and all those swamps and do something with the land." John Sayles

  • Jane Alexander
    Jane Alexander:
  • You Might Want to Sell

    In this scene Marly Temple (Edie Falco), a former Weeke Wachee Mermaid, broaches the subject of selling the family home to a strip mall developer. Neither her crusty father (Ralph Waite) nor her mother (Jane Alexander), who runs a community theater group and dreams of lost opportunities, is interested in change.

    "Well, I think powerlessness is one of the kind of scariest things in the world — that and feeling that nobody needs what you do, especially if you feel proud of what you do." -John Sayles

    "Very often, unfortunately, we don't...we don't have time to stop and think or question what somebody else is proposing. It just happens, and then we wake up one morning and something we really valued is gone." -John Sayles

  • Bill Cobb
    Bill Cobb:
  • Endangered Species

    Young anesthesiologist, Reggie Perry (James McDaniel) learns the story of a historically black beach community from Earl Pickney (Bill Cobb).

    "And just the timing of it was that when those segregation laws were struck down, they weren't only competing with the white guy who owned the little motel on the other end of town, it was the beginning of the rise of corporate America. And you had to economically now compete with McDonald's, with chain motels, with chain restaurants, with this kind of entity that could take three years of a loss to drive you out of business." -John Sayles

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