- A new docuseries by a local cinematographer is focusing on the past, present, and future of the local Basque community.
- In this video, 23ABC's Ava Kershner gets a sneak peek at the upcoming episodes.
“My favorite restaurant here in Bakersfield is Benji’s. I go there for a lot of my big moments in life, my North Star moments in life. Like if you get married or your wedding or your anniversary dinner, your birthday dinner,” said Jacob Shaw, the Basque Tracks Cinematographer.
Jacob Shaw was born and raised in Bakersfield, and grew up learning about the Basque culture through their food in local restaurants.
And then one day after hearing another customer complain about cow tongue prices, his curiosity grew.
“I did my own research about the cattle industry, food industry, and the Basque community, and from that I followed a rabbit hole,” said Shaw.
Now equipped with his camera and interviews full of community stories, Shaw is putting together a docuseries on the past, present, and future of the Basque community.
One that, throughout the course of the filming, he got close to.
“I didn't show up with a camera and went ‘hey I want to tell your story.’ No I said let me show you and not only that, I am going to tell you and I am going to show you and I am going to pull through on every promise,” said Shaw.
The Basque community’s history will be shown throughout the ongoing series called Basque Tracks, with the first few episodes on the Pyrenees French Bakery, Woolgrowers, and of course Benji’s.
Mike McCoy with the Kern County Museum says that the culture Shaw has tapped into is a lasting one.
“Their first contribution’s really in agriculture, especially herding with sheep and cattle. But then all of a sudden their children got into law, education, business, and like a lot of immigrant groups that's second/third generation. And they became some of our most notable citizens in our community’s history,” said McCoy.
“You're learning so much about the Basque community, if you could use one word to describe them what would it be?” I ask.
“Resilient. They are very resilient people. And the women and men who are still alive today that are, that have been around since the 40s and the 50s, still keep that resilience.”
If you would like to watch the new docuseries, more information will be on Shaw Cinema’s website.
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