WHITE CITY — Lights, camera, action!
Independent filmmakers last week used a 120-year-old historic landmark in White City to shoot a scene for an upcoming horror film, “iPossessed.”
The scene was written specifically for The White City Historical Antique Mercantile, said film writer and co-director Carl Rimi, who previously had visited the Midway Road shop and loved its “old-timey” feel.
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The film follows a group of friends enjoying a celebratory evening when one becomes possessed by a demon who forces the others to battle their own personal demons. A majority of the movie is filmed at a Lake Placid farmhouse.
The antique store scene is a mere 2½ minutes, but the crew filmed there for about 12 hours overnight Thursday, Rimi said.
Rimi avoided spoilers, but divulged a character in need of a blender ventures out of a house and into the nearby woods, where he stumbles upon the antique shop.
The 3,200-square-foot building is spacious, but jam-packed with antiques and collectibles, emulating the claustrophobic and out-of-the-ordinary feeling Rimi wanted.
“Every little piece about it screams nothing of today, and that has a lot to do with the story,” he said.
White City, antique shop history
White City is among St. Lucie County’s most historical spots, nestled between and now overshadowed by its much-larger neighbors, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie.
Louis Albert Pio founded White City in 1893, purchasing the land from Florida railroad pioneer Henry Flagler and naming it after the model-city exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair that year.
About 50 settlers pitched tents along the North Fork of the St. Lucie River and created a main road, today’s Midway Road. They rapidly developed the area in its first year, building a hotel, bank and post office.
Residents have worked to preserve the community ever since, forming the White City Improvement Club in 1904. They have opposed altering the area, including 2013 plans to rename Midway Road.
The White City Mercantile Store was built in 1901, originally as a general store, and residents today still lovingly refer to it as the heart of the unincorporated community.
The mercantile — a building where vendors rent space to display their wares, which the store owner sells for them — has served over the decades as a post office as well as a feed, furniture and Western store.
The antique shop moved into the building in May 1993 and Cathy Wells bought the business in 1998, according to a 2015 article published in the now-discontinued Blessed Living Women’s E-Magazine.
The building has been owned since 2011 by Stuart residents Paul and Christia Li Roberts, according to the St. Lucie County Property Appraiser’s website. She’s a Martin County School Board member.
The store’s inventory is constantly changing, but has something for everyone — china, quilts, movies, furniture, figurines, wall art, vintage clothes, Sci-Fi memorabilia and more.
“It’s really cool,” Wells said during the shoot, but did not return TCPalm’s subsequent texts and emails seeking more information about the building, her store and the film. “It’s good to know that (the shop) is good for something other than just antiques.”
The movie is still in the editing process, Rimi said, anticipating a mid-2022 release.
Rimi plans to do a special screening of the movie beforehand in Fort Pierce as a thank-you to Wells and other residents.
“It was great,” Rimi said of filming at the White City store. “We couldn’t have asked for better accommodations.”
Catie Wegman is TCPalm’s community reporter. You can keep up with Catie on Twitter @Catie_Wegman, on Facebook @catiewegman1 and email her email@example.com.
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