DIRECTED BY ERROL MORRIS
USA, 1981, 55 MIN
Sponsored by Governor's Office of Film & Entertainment and Film Florida
Before making his debut with 1978’s Gates of Heaven, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War) spent time developing another project in the small panhandle town of Vernon, which had captured Morris’s imagination with reports that it was the U.S. capital of insurance claims related to “accidentally” maimed limbs. After being run out of town, Morris returned a few years later to “Nub City,” camera in hand, but instead of a lurid exposé, he crafted this wonderfully off-kilter, hilariously deadpan portrait of the locals: from turkey hunters and speed-trap cops to lay preachers and self-educated worm experts. Off the map and way off the beaten path, Vernon, Florida isn’t just a place but a state of mind—once visited, never forgotten.
DIRECTED BY LES BLANK
USA, 1980, 20 MIN
Back when Morris was still a struggling Berkeley grad student, the legendary German director Werner Herzog promised to eat one of his weathered desert boots if Morris ever had the “guts” to finally make a movie. When Morris premiered Gates of Heaven, Herzog made good on his pledge, and Tampa native Les Blank (who would go on to chronicle the ill-fated production of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo in his documentary Burden of Dreams) was there to capture the event in all its bizzaro glory.