Southeastern students collaborate on "Islenos" documentary
Contact: Elise Doster
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STUDENTS COLLABORATE ON DOCUMENTARY - Southeastern students Samatha Perez and Joshua Robin will premiere their documentary film about the history and culture of the Iselnos population in St. Bernard Parish at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. The film, entitled “Louisiana’s Lost Treasure: The Islenos,” is part of the university’s annual Fanfare festival of the arts.
HAMMOND – Two Southeastern Louisiana University students tapped into their own ethnic backgrounds to create a documentary titled “Louisiana’s Lost Treasure: The Islenos.”
The documentary – a feature of the Southeastern’s annual Fanfare festival of the arts – will be shown Monday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m. at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville.
History major Samantha Perez and communication major Joshua Robin created the documentary as part of a co-departmental independent study in spring 2009.
The documentary focuses on the Islenos, descendants of Canary Island immigrants who in the late 1700s and early 1800s journeyed to southeast Louisiana, where their ancestors and unique heritage remain largely in St. Bernard Parish.
“The Islenos are tough, hard-working, compassionate, and proud people, and they have a complex history that has affected Louisiana,” Perez said. “Unfortunately, they are not well known.
“Our documentary gives people the chance to learn more about the Islenos, who are still in the parish and still struggling to maintain their unique culture in the post-Katrina world.”
Perez and Robin grew up in St. Bernard and share an Isleno heritage. The students produced the film under the direction of Karen Fontenot, interim dean for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and History and Political Science Department Head Bill Robison.
“We got the ideal combination with Samantha and Josh,” Robison said. “Both are bright, hardworking, and a pleasure to supervise. They have produced a film of which anyone would be proud and in so doing have highlighted their own, often neglected Islenos heritage in St. Bernard Parish.”
Prior to the screening, musical group Guitar Louisiane will perform “Gaspar en San Bernardo,” which combines works by Spanish Baroque guitarist Gaspar Sanz¬who with original material by Southeastern guitar instructor Patrick Kerber.
Former students Matthew Aguilar, David Bryan, and Matthew Spears will join Kerber as they perform works by Sanzwho, who was an active musician at the time when the Islenos traveled to Louisiana.
Kerber, who is also a St. Bernard native and creatively influenced by the Islenos, provided background music for the film.
“Making this documentary gave us the opportunity to explore our own families' history,” said Perez. “We also learned the research skills, camera work, dedication, and patience involved in making a film like this. It was a great experience.”