Filmmakers (and More) in Conversation

Bringing visionary artists, celebrated critics and more to Key West

Many guests come to the Tropic to share their insights about filmmaking and their work. Our guests span the cinema landscape and range from film legends to movie subjects to world-renowned writers.

Guests of the Tropic host screenings, participate in Q&As, discuss fascinating subjects and much more, helping you get more out of your filmgoing experience (whether it’s live or virtual.) We’re proud to give our members and guests access to the independent minds behind the best in independent film. Watch this page or our Special Events listing to see what’s coming up!


Upcoming Screenings + Conversations

Southern Circuit: Code of the Freaks
As part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, the Tropic welcomes director/producer Salome Chasnoff in conjunction with a screening of her documentary “Code of the Freaks.” Using hundreds of clips spanning over 100 years of moviemaking, and a cast of disabled artists, scholars and activists, “Code of the Freaks” presents a radical reframing of the use of disabled characters in film. 

Salome Chasnoff is a Chicago-based filmmaker and installation artist who maintains a collaborative social practice and exhibition career that centers the voices of under-recognized or misrepresented communities. Her work has shown across the US and internationally in film festivals, galleries, and museums. She was the founder and director of the celebrated community media organization, Beyondmedia Education, and a founding member of the PO Box Collective, a multi-generational social practice center. Chasnoff teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she also directs the BFA in Art Education program.

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Southern Circuit: Picture Character
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers at the Tropic continues with a screening of “Picture Character” and an appearance from filmmakers Ian Cheney and Martha Shane. The rapid rise of emoji (Japanese for “picture character”) is a global phenomenon without precedent, and this fascinating film leads viewers on a deep dive into the ever evolving world of emoji, from their humble beginnings to mobile keyboards everywhere.

Ian Cheney is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. “Picture Character” is his eighth feature-length documentary, and his past films – including King Corn (2007), The Search for General Tso (2014) and Thirteen Ways (2019) – have premiered at film festivals & theaters worldwide and been released on Netflix, PBS, The Sundance Channel, VICE Media and other networks. A former Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT, he has also produced short films for the New York Timesthe Guardian and the Atlantic. Since 2015 he has been an adjunct professor at Yale. Read below for more about co-director Martha Shane.

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Southern Circuit: Narrowsburg
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers concludes its 2020-21 season at the Tropic with a screening of “Narrowsburg” and a Q&A with filmmaker Martha Shane. the Tropic welcomes director/producer Salome Chasnoff in conjunction with a screening of her documentary “Code of the Freaks.” The rapid rise of emoji (Japanese for “picture character”) is a global phenomenon without precedent, and this fascinating film leads viewers on a deep dive into the ever evolving world of emoji, from their humble beginnings to mobile keyboards everywhere.

Martha Shane, director of “Narrowsburg” and co-director of “Picture Character,” is an Emmy-award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her directorial debut “After Tiller” premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the Emmy for Best Documentary. In 2019, she premiered “Narrowsburg” at the Camden International Film Festival, followed by an NYC premiere at DOC NYC. Vox listed the film as one of “16 great documentaries from 2019.” Shane was included in DOC NYC’s second annual “40 under 40” list of emerging talent in the documentary world.

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Past Screenings + Conversations

Reggae Boyz
As part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, “Reggae Boyz” streamed virtually along with a pre-recorded Q&A with Director, Writer, Producer, Co-Director of Photography Till Schauder. Plagued with one of the highest murder rates in the world, Jamaica tries to reinvigorate its populace by qualifying their national soccer team – the “Reggae Boyz” – for the 2014 World Cup. “Reggae Boyz” uses pop culture’s most transcendent forces – sports and music – to delve into the heart and soul of Jamaica.

Picture A Scientist
As part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, “Picture a Scientist” featured in-person and virutally. The screening includes a pre-recorded Q&A with Director/Producers Sharon Shattuck & Ian Chaney. “Picture a Scientist” chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. 

Coded Bias 
Modern society sits at the intersection of two crucial questions: What does it mean when artificial intelligence increasingly governs our liberties? And what are the consequences for the people AI is biased against? In Coded Bias, a critically acclaimed Sundance 2020 premiere, Shalini Kantayya investigates these bedrock issues—and meets the people working to address them.