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Gallery | LGBT film 'The Day It Snowed In Miami' screens at historic San Carlos Institute in Key West

2014-04-16 'Snowed' Key West screening 011

Business people, activists and allies gathered Wednesday at the historic San Carlos Institute in Key West for a screening of The Day It Snowed In Miami, a documentary about the LGBT-rights movement presented by the Miami Herald Media Company and WPBT2.

2014-04-16 'Snowed' Key West screening 012A discussion followed a lobby reception and the screening, A reception begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by the 90-minute screening at 7:30 p.m. and a discussion afterward. Panelists: Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Ruth Shack, who sponsored the county’s original 1977 gay-rights ordinance and opposed singer Anita Bryant’s successful campaign to repeal it; filmmaker Joe Cardona; Miami Herald LGBT issues reporter Steve Rothaus, who co-produced the film and formerly covered Key West; and AIDS Help Executive Director Scott Pridgen.

The film’s title serves as a metaphor: The ordinance that sparked the outrage was debated by 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 ordinance and subsequent battle in South Florida thrust gay rights into the national spotlight, and the film documents the LGBT movement through the present.

Major sponsors for the Key West event: the Miami Herald, San Carlos Institute, AIDS Help and Equality Florida.

Click here to view a gallery from the reception before the screening. Photos by Steve Rothaus / Miami Herald Staff.

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