Best Local Documentary - 2008
Where Neon Goes to Die
Miami Beach, the city with a history only as long as a coke line at its latest trendy nightclub. Or is it? Some of those club kids vaguely remember Miami Vice was a TV show before it was a movie, but few remember the vibrant Yiddish community that was the centerpiece of the town's cultural identity for six decades. Vaudeville theaters, literary groups, radio shows, artists, and entertainers supported a thriving community of tens of thousands of year-round residents (and even more snowbirds and tourists) that was also suffering from segregation. Filmmaker David Weintraub painstakingly pieced together the fading memories of the era using vintage footage, contemporary interviews, photographs, and other bits of memorabilia to portray what Miami Beach was like before Crockett and Tubbs resuscitated the neon.