Florence: A Renaissance Spirit
This program looks at the history of Florence, South Carolina that originally began as a railroad junction.
During the Civil War, a Confederate stockade was located there, and a gunboat built in Florence patrolled the Great Pee Dee River. Today, Florence is an important regional hub, with leading medical facilities, educational institutions, and growing industry.
Steve Folks produced and directed this program. Florence: A Renaissance Spirit is an encore presentation.
To purchase a copy shop www.etvstore.org or call 1-800-553-7752
Behind the Scenes
Florence: A Renaissance Spirit - Behind the Scenes
Interview with Steve Folks, the producer, director and writer
What was the inspiration behind making this program and its topic?
I have always had a fondness for the Pee Dee region, as both my parents grew up there (Dillon, SC and Wagram, NC). Florence means a little more to me than just a place I pass through “on my way to the beach.”
If you could describe the production in one sentence what would it be?
"Florence: A Renaissance Spirit” tells the history of the city of Florence and to a lesser extent Florence county; and it introduces viewers to some of the marvelous people of Florence: Julia Buyck, Joe Stukes, Nick Zeigler, Gale Dixon, Frank Willis, G. Wayne King, and others.
What is the message that you want viewers to take away from the program?
Florence still is the “small town” in spirit it started out as, despite today’s flamboyance represented by the hospitals, the new library, etc. It’s a friendly town.
What was the most difficult part of making the production?
Florence County was not created until after the Civil War, thus many of its records and historical artifacts are being taken care of by other counties. Especially helpful was the Darlington County Historical Commission, which supplied many old photos and documents.
Because of a budget, were there any special tricks used to make the most out of a dollar without decreasing the quality of production?
There are no special tricks! When you are limited financially, you have to make up for it with research and hard work.
Were there any unforeseen obstacles (weather, actors, etc) that hindered production?
We wish the sky were always blue and it never rained, but then how would the flowers grow?
Is there a defining scene and what is its significance?
I think the defining scene is at the very end, when Dr. G. Wayne King is talking about walking around the city, seeing all the places and remembering what used to be there when he was a boy. You get the sense of “This is my home; I belong here.”
Has making the program given you a new appreciation for anything?
Just that there is a good story pretty much anywhere in South Carolina. You don’t have to go to Charleston or Columbia or Myrtle Beach or Aiken.
Was there extensive research done to ensure historical accuracy or was there more room for artistry?
Naturally, we wanted the program to be historically accurate—to that end we had several accomplished local historians working with us. But we also wanted plenty of room for personal stories, too, and you never can be sure if what you’re hearing is the absolute truth or somewhat exaggerated.
What type of feedback has this program received?
The people in Florence seemed very grateful that ETV made the effort to make an historical documentary about them. Many viewers who are not from Florence have also communicated to me their enjoyment of the program, especially the parts about the railroad and the Civil War.