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Islanders needed in documenting boat’s history

By Staff | Feb 11, 2015

Period outfits should reflect the 1930s. PHOTO PROVIDED

An island filmmaker is looking for locals to help in documenting the history of Sanibel and Captiva.

Rusty Farst this month will film a history of the Santiva, the mail and delivery boat serving islanders through the 1960s. He needs a cast in period costumes to appear in the short film. Interested islanders would need period clothing reflecting the 1930s — suits, working clothes and dresses.

“And hats,” Farst said. “Everyone (then) wore a hat.”

He’ll need a dozen or so locals to fill the roles. Those chosen will get $25 for a half day’s work.

“I haven’t shot a cast film in a while,” said Farst, who has produced historical and adventure films in the last decade. “So this is exciting.”

The Santiva hauled cargo, mail and passengers to Sanibel and Captiva from 1936-1963. It was later used in commercial fishing. The Captiva Island Historical Society has built a small replica of the ship’s interior for a historical exhibit at the town’s library. One of Farst’s films plays on a loop in the exhibit. The Society is funding the Santiva project.

Since the Santiva is long gone, those used in the film won’t actually board a boat. The magic of technology will create that effect. But Farst has a trove of historical photos and recovered film from earlier decades to give his work the illusion of what things were like in the islands through the 1960s. Farst said this project is interesting because the Santiva for years served as a lifeline to the mainland. The boat, captained by Leon Crumpler, delivered mail and passengers to a couple of docks in Sanibel and Captiva, including the thriving Wulfert area of about 50 islanders. The crew also brought groceries and hard goods from the mainland, Farst said, the crew shopping at five-and-dime shops and a Penney store.

Farst has filmed underwater and adventure films of wrecks and reefs and deep caverns, but also owns an island landscape firm. He arrived in Sanibel in the 1980s after leaving an Ohio steelmill and thumbing rides around the country. Visiting Fort Myers Beach, a local pointed across the bay.

“Somebody said that’s Sanibel island,” said Farst. “And I just never left.”

Those interested in participating in the Santiva filming may call Farst at (239) 994-9219, or email jawsproductions@comcast.net. A photo in period costume is required.