Thursday, December 10, 2009

"The Kiss of Life, The 40th Anniversary" takes home Emmys

The Kiss of Life is easily one of the most widely-recognized images in the history of photojournalism, and one that we Jacksonville natives proudly claim as a part of our history. The notorious photograph of a JEA worker resuscitating his electrocuted colleague (who survived) taken by Rocco Morabito, a field photographer for the Jacksonville Journal captured the timeless image near the intersection of West 26th and Grunthal Steret on July 17, 1967. Morabito won the 1968 Pulitzer in the Spot News category.

Morabito’s legacy was given the great honor of having been the subject of The Kiss of Life, The 40th Anniversary, winner of the Best Documentary in the Historical category at the Suncoast Emmys, held in Orlando on Saturday, December 5. It’s strange to talk about action in a still photograph, but this image exploded everywhere. Bill Retherford, who produced, wrote and narrated the film won and Individual Achievement Emmy said of the awards, “It’s a terrific honor and we’re thrilled.” The movie was produced at Jacksonville’s PRC Media and edited by PRC’s Chris Linke. Ray Hays, PRC President and executive producer of the documentary beamed, “We’re honored to have shown how this one image touched so many lives.”

Rocco Morabito passed away in April at the age of 88, shortly after the premier of this documentary. But his death gives sense poignancy to the jolt of cultural awareness the documentaries prestigious awards have earned. As one columnist wrote, “It is growing.” Much like the story it tells, this haunting image breathes again the fresh air of Jacksonville culture. You just can’t keep good history down.

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