This documentary arises from the need to understand the history of our lighthouses, many of them forgotten and relegated to topics of conversation among limited groups. So says the director of this project, filmmaker Sonia Fritz, who along with director of photography Carlos Zayas, sound editor Margarita Aponte, editor David Moscoso and musician Enrique Bayoán Ríos, took on the task of making a documentary, mixing historical photos of the lighthouses with interviews centered around historian Walter Cardona Bonet.
While different people speak about each lighthouse, Bonet provides information on several of them. Before arriving at each lighthouse, a drawing is shown of a red and white sailboat that sails the seas on a map of the lighthouses of Puerto Rico that facilitates the educational experience by being our guide through the entire documentary.
The work, which was supported by the Endowment, covers the 15 lighthouses of the island, interviews people who lived in them, who continue to care for them and who use them, including children and spouses of former lighthouse keepers, officials of the Coast Guard and fishermen. Each of these people tells their stories, covering topics such as the workings of the lights in the lighthouses, their maintenance, and the history and architecture of each lighthouse, to mention a few examples.
For example, the documentary tells of the work of a lighthouse keeper, which covers a range from keeping the light lit to cleaning the floor. Mixed in are other relevant topics, such as the Puerto Rican sea turtles, which Miguel A. Nieves, a management officer for Mona Island, and Jorge Gutiérrez, a biologist, talk about.
As part of a national tour, “Reconnect with Your Lighthouses,” Fritz presented the documentary at the Serrallés Castle in Ponce, at the Rincón Cultural Center, in the public plaza on Vieques, the Cinemabar in Old San Juan, at the Lajas Cultural Center and in Caguas, Juana Díaz and Maunabo.
Similarly, the work was shown at the Fine Arts halls in Miramar and Hato Rey. It was shown at the Latino and Iberian Film Festival at Yale and during the closing of the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival in New York City on November 11 to 15. At the latter festival, it was awarded “Best Documentary.”
by: Pedro Molina