'Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale' doc is now available to stream

FLINT, Michigan — The award-winning documentary 'Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale' is now available to stream on demand and on DVD. The doc explores the history of Boblo Island Amusement Park and the preservation efforts to save the oldest twin sister steamboats in America: the SS Columbia and Ste. Claire. The film is voiced by Motown legend Martha Reeves. 

“We wanted to deliver the magic of Boblo directly to those who didn’t have the opportunity to catch us in theaters,” said Stephen Bannatyne, the film’s producer. “Eventive felt like the perfect platform because it allows us to customize the experience for the viewer and include all the DVD special features in the streaming edition.”

This new release features a Q&A with Detroit’s City Historian Jason Jordan, narrator Martha Reeves, director Aaron Schillinger, deleted scenes, and others. Bonus content includes the true story of how the mafia nearly acquired Boblo Island, a rendition of the original 1923 Bob-Lo Song, and an animated sequence depicting the “father” of the Boblo Boats, naval architect Frank Kirby.

“There were so many fantastic scenes from our six years of production that ended up on the cutting room floor,” said Schillinger. “I had a blast digging through my old editing sequences to find the gems that just needed a little bit of polish before being ready to share.”

After its theatrical run across Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, the film held its Canadian premiere at the Windsor International Film Festival, was selected as the Opening Night film of the 2021 Freep Film Festival, and was awarded the Hometown Talent Award.

“Boblo Island and the boats that took us there hold a special place in the hearts of many metro Detroiters, but this isn’t just a nostalgia exercise,” said the Freep Film Festival’s artistic director, Kathy Kieliszewski. “This film is about now — and the people dedicated to preserving history and memories despite some extreme hurdles.”

Virtual tickets to stream the film start at $12, and DVDs are available for $25. Links to purchase both are available on the film’s website: bobloboatsfilm.com
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Xzavier Simon.