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CIHS to show film on life of Fort Myers resident

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Feb 2, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED “Open-Air Cinema 1” is set for Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in the parking lot of McCarthy's Marina.

The Captiva Island Historical Society is taking reservations for a free, outdoor movie night.

On Feb. 8, the CIHS will host “Open-Air Cinema 1” at 7 p.m. in the parking lot of the McCarthy’s Marina, with a rain date for the event set for Feb. 15. The movie will be “Queen of Swing,” by Florida filmmaker John Biffar. A full-length documentary from 2006, it chronicles the life of Norma Miller.

“It’s kind of our version of a drive-in movie night,” CIHS Board President Tom Libonate said. “It’s a cart-in, walk-in movie night.”

Attendees can drive to the event as there will be parking for vehicles.

“So folks can come by car, but at least for the viewing we will have areas for seats,” he said, noting that people can also bring chairs or watch from their golf cart. “We will have an area designated for carts.”

Libonate explained that Biffar is an acclaimed Florida filmmaker and documentarian.

“Norma was a Fort Myers resident,” he said. “She was one of the original members of the Lindy Hoppers group, and she played an important role in racial integration as a dancer.”

The film covers the role Miller — as the youngest original member of the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers — and her fellow artists played in the globalization of racial integration. She passed away in 2019.

“She passed away just shy of her 100th birthday,” Libonate said, adding that the CIHS previously hosted Miller as a speaker at one of its events.

Biffar will be in attendance.

“I think he’s going to be doing an introduction into the movie,” he said. “He has some great insights into Norma Miller and the Lindy Hoppers.”

Libonate noted that the CIHS’s mission goes beyond showing its own documentaries.

“It’s important for us to share locally-relevant documentaries that have a critical historical basis to them,” he said. “So we look for documentaries that our community would not only be entertained but also informed by.”

In adherence with CDC protocols, physical distancing at the event will be maintained.

“Everything we are doing this year is out of caution. Our events are outdoors and they present the opportunity for people to be socially distanced,” Libonate said, adding that face coverings are recommended when entering and exiting the venue.

Those interested in attending can register online or by phone.

“To make sure that we do have proper distancing we have a limited number of spaces, so we do ask folks to reserve a place,” he said. “That will give us an indication of how many folks to expect.”

The CIHS thanked its participating sponsors.

“The historical society appreciates Captiva Cruises and McCarthy’s Marina as the event sponsor, as well as The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company as our season presenting sponsor,” Libonate said.

The public is invited to register for the event.

“It’s a very entertaining and educational documentary. It’s a first-class production,” he said, adding that the evening is designed to be responsible and in line with safety protocols. “It’s a safe thing to do.”

For further details or to register, visit www.captivaislandhistoricalsociety.org or call 239-472-2323.

McCarthy’s Marina is at 11401 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva.