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‘Mullet & Mangroves II’ documentary showcase Cayo Costa pioneer families

January 2, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Explore Cayo Costa Island through the documentary "Mullet & Mangroves II," which shares oral histories of the early pioneer fishing families, as well as children of today.

The screening of "Mullet & Mangroves II" will be shown Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Captiva Civic Association, 10155 Chapin Lane. The free event will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

"This is going to be the first time the film is going to be screened on Captiva," Richard Finkel said.

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The screening of “Mullet & Mangroves II” will be shown Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Captiva Civic Association, 10155 Chapin Lane. The free event will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

He said there will be some refreshments, drinks and light hors hors d'oeuvres, available beforehand.

"It's free, we just ask people to reserve a spot," Finkel said, which can be done by visiting

Elaine McLaughlin, chairman of the Friends of Cayo Costa, said "Mullet & Mangroves II," is a documentary of the pioneer fishing families. The documentary was finished almost a year ago. She said they first screened it Downtown Fort Myers at the IMAG History and Science Center. From there they negotiated with PBS in the Tampa Bay area where the documentary was aired in that market. The documentary began to air in the local market this past summer and early fall.

"We are trying to get it out to the local audiences because there are a lot of people that haven't seen it, particularly the winter residents who are coming back," McLaughlin said, adding that they are trying to get the documentary around for people who are particularly interested in local history and nature.

"Mullet & Mangroves II" captures the memories, the oral history of people who grew up on Cayo Costa and left the island to go to school. The documentary also showcases children visiting and experiencing the island today.

"If we don't capture the memories now we will lose the opportunity," McLaughlin said. "We are pretty excited about the film and thrilled to have captured these memories. We did an earlier production. It was a very brief film. We wanted to expand it to make it PBS worthy, it had to be 30 minutes long. We spent all last year doing that, making it much longer and an in-depth production."

The families ultimately descended from the Padilla family. She said those who speak in the documentary are branches from that family.

"The original Padilla family came from the Canary Islands from the Coast of Spain. They spoke Spanish exclusively," she said.

There are around 10 individuals that were interviewed for the documentary.

"It's a great history of Cayo Costa with really great interviews of the fishing families that pioneered on the island. There are also some history of the islands that are near by, Punta Blanca where the kids went to school, Useppa Island, Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island," Finkel said.

She said they are anxious to use the film to tell people about the treasures that attracted the first generation of settlers on Cayo Costa, which are still there.

"It was a different world even back then. The uniqueness of living on the island, growing up on the island and taking a boat to go to school. The island itself hasn't changed that much. The treasures that people enjoyed are still there for the discovery," McLaughlin said.



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