The Day It Snowed In Miami, a documentary showcasing South Florida’s role in the gay rights movement, has won a regional Emmy Award.
The documentary, by director Joe Cardona in association with the Miami Herald Media Company (MHMC), was recognized Saturday as “Best Historical Documentary” during the 38th annual Suncoast Emmy Awards gala in Fort Lauderdale.
The film also was honored earlier this year with the prestigious 2014 Aurora Award for “great technical execution, good variety of material sources, clear, in-depth interviews.”
The Day It Snowed In Miami, which broadcast nationally on PBS and screened at South Florida theaters, covers the political battle lines in Miami in 1977 when LGBT activists sought approval of a then-controversial human rights law. Singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant led the opposition.
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The film’s title serves as a metaphor: The ordinance that sparked the outrage was debated by Dade County commissioners on an uncharacteristically frigid night, and some opponents at the time remarked that the ordinance would pass “when hell freezes over.” The morning after the ordinance was approved — Jan. 19, 1977 — Miamians woke up to snowflakes for the first and so far only time.
The Emmy is the second for the MHMC/Cardona team. The first was for a documentary titled Nou Bouke following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Miami Herald Executive Editor Aminda Marqués Gonzalez said Saturday’s recognition for The Day It Snowed In Miami is a testament to quality journalism in the digital age.
"We’re honored to have been part of a project that documents one of the most important chapters in our community’s history, especially at a time when LGBT rights are once again at the center of a national conversation," Marqués said. "Our job as journalists is to bring important stories to as broad an audience as possible, and film is an additional tool for getting the information out.”
The 86-minute film, narrated by Margot Winick, is produced by Shed Boren of Genesis Fund, Cardona, el Nuevo Herald videographer Jose Iglesias, Miami Herald LGBT issues reporter Steve Rothaus and Miami Herald interactive editor Nancy San Martin. The film is co-presented by MHM