Tampa Theatre to Host Premiere of Ybor Documentary A LEGACY OF SMOKE

El Centro Español de Tampa – Tampa’s oldest ethnic social club, having been incorporated by the State of Florida in 1891 – will present the premiere of the short, non-fiction film, A LEGACY OF SMOKE at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, at Tampa’s oldest movie palace.


The film depicts the story of immigrants from Spain in “Cigar City” through the eyes of some well-known (and not so well-known) area residents who grew up in Ybor City and West Tampa.  Through a series of brief vignettes, the charismatic cast of characters tells the fascinating story of Tampa’s Spanish colony in the first half of the 20th century and explores the phenomenon of the immigrants by following along as they go about their daily lives.  By weaving together these dramatized scenes with historic footage and photographs of Spanish Tampa, the film discovers the “Legacy of Smoke” left by thousands of intrepid Spanish immigrants.

The screening will be preceded by a short concert on the Theatre’s Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ and an introduction by the film’s producer/directors, James Fernandez, a professor of Spanish Literature and Culture from New York University, and Luis Argeo, a Spanish author and filmmaker.  Following the screening, Fernandez and Argeo will answer questions from the audience. 

James D. Fernandez received his BA degree from Dartmouth College and his MA and PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University.  He taught at Yale University from 1988 to 1995 before moving to New York University.  Fernandez was the inaugural director of NYU’s King Juan Carlos of Spain Center for 12 years and has served for the last decade as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.  He has authored and co-authored several books and essays, and has extensive experience in the world of exhibitions and audiovisual expression.  Professor Fernandez lives in New York City.

Luis Argeo completed his undergraduate work at the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain. He combines travel writing with filmmaking, specializing in documentary and non-fiction film. His first documentary film “AsturianUS” (2006) was co-produced by West Virginia Public Television and explores the history of Asturian workers brought to West Virginia and Pennsylvania to work in zinc foundries in the early days of the 20th century. More recently, Argeo co-directed the film “La Paella de Dan Albert” (2013) with Professor Fernandez.  Luis Argeo lives in Gijon, Spain.

Tickets for A LEGACY OF SMOKE are $12, and are available at the Tampa Theatre Box Office or online at TampaTheatre.org (service fees apply.)


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