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A first ever documentary on the history of Key West

Tropic Cinema, the Key West Art & Historical Society and the Monroe County School District are honored to be supporting the making of the Key West 200th Anniversary Documentary!  This film is being used in part for the Island's Bicentennial in 2022 as well as a learning tool that will be distributed to all Monroe County Schools allowing students access to their valued history.

We want YOU to support this legacy project that will benefit our island community for generations to come.

About the Documentary

Key West- Come as You Are: 200 Years of History and Culture Overview


A 90-minute film is being produced to explore the rich and valuable history of Key West, Florida. Starting with the Native American inhabitants, the film will move through the many years of trials and tribulations as well as the successes that built this incredible and important town.  Founded in 1822, Key West (Cayo Hueso) has played a vital role in American history and global history. The story of this town/community is truly indelible as are the great people, who against all odds built this Island paradise for us to enjoy today.  The narrative of the film will be told using impactful and colorful interviews by historians and people who have spent many years in Key West and, in some cases, multiple generations.

These stories will be woven together through historical events and periods. The producers of the film are being given access to invaluable historic archives that are rarely seen, which will add a sense of 'wow' to the story.  Incredible graphics and animation will move the film along to help all ages truly appreciate and understand this story. When complete, the film will have tremendous use and distribution locally, state-wide, and nationally. Key West- Come as You Are will be the first and only comprehensive film produced about the true history of the island. It will also help the viewer understand how various cultures came together to work for the common good of the community and appreciate how those values of unity and respect are foundational to humanity today-a real microcosm of how our society can be One Human Family-Together forever.

Purpose and Viewership This project has many important purposes:

  1. Create an awareness of and appreciation for the history, the struggles, and the fortitude that inhabitants endured over 200 years of development forward.

  2. Create awareness of the overall theme of unity and respect - how various cultures came together in the building of the town; how morals, values, and caring for one another were instilled as a foundational inspiration to be upheld and demonstrated today.

  3. Create awareness of the significant role that Key West has played in the State of Florida, the nation, and the world.

  4. Create a film that will be used in the Bicentennial Celebrations beginning early 2022 into 2023.

  5. Create a film that can be used for public viewings, museum viewings, and most importantly, educational use for students directly in the classroom.

  6. Create a project that can be used in a multitude of diverse settings for educational purposes and to be used as a platform for further in-depth discussions and exploration.

  7. Create a film that can be viewed by the masses through broadcast and digital platforms. Our viewership can range from all ethnicities, cultures, and ages.

  8. The distribution for this film is wide-ranged. The producers have sold projects, have contacts and work with multiple networks including- HBO, History Channel, Netflix, Amazon, CNN, and PBS.

  9. The film has been offered to be screened free to the citizens of Key West at the Parade Grounds at Fort East Martello Museum with a capacity up to 2000 people.

  10. The Tropic Cinema agreed to screen it.

  11. Education and Outreach In addition to a general mass broadcast audience, the film will be used for further intimate discussion and curriculum application by Public Schools in Monroe County- K-12.

  12. Organizations can use the film for private viewing, programming, and course curriculum

  13. A 15-minute overview film will be created and donated to the Key West Museum of Art and History. The museum will create a permanent place for the short film to be viewed by its visitors.

  14. Partner Monroe County Schools Superintendent Theresa Axford and her team have joined Michael J. Kirk on this endeavor to support the film by making it fully accessible to students from K-12. The film will be broken down scene by scene to enable Mrs. Axford’s team of experts to develop age and class specific curriculum. The curriculum will be available to schools throughout the Keys.

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