Isabel Barton (New York)

Founding JAHP Board Member

Isabel Barton is a New York State resident Venezuelan born filmmaker and photographer. In 1972 she was the first woman to be awarded the Venezuelan National Award of Photography. Beginning in 1979, under mentorship of master photographer Ezra Stoller, her architectural photographs were published in major magazines, and her portraits of artists, including Philip Glass, Keith Haring and Jesús Soto, in catalogues, posters and magazines internationally. During those years, 79-01, her photographs and silkscreens showed in galleries and museums throughout the US, including the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, NJ, the Center for Inter American Relations, NYC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, GA.

Isabel’s segway into film began with screenwriting. She has written five feature length screenplays.

In 1989 she heard the intricate story of American aviator Jimmie Angel who discovered Angel Falls in 1933, and decided to write a screenplay about him. In 1991, while doing research for the screenplay, Isabel traveled west and interviewed Angel’s son Rolan and brother Clyde both residing in California. She then visited Angel Falls in the Kamarata Valley, located in the Venezuelan Amazon. There she interviewed José Manuel Ugarte, a Pemón, adopted son of Angel. This experience began her love for the Pemón people and for their land.

In 1996, Isabel joined Karen Angel as a founding board member of the Jimmie Angel Historical Project. In 2005 she joined Paul Graham Stanley and Antonio Volpe-Pasini to found Angel Conservation, a not-for-profit organization devoted to the preservation of indigenous people and their habitat. Angel Conservation’s first endeavor is Project Kamarakoto, which intends to rescue the cultural identity and help restore sustainability to the Kamarakoto people of the Venezuelan Amazon.

Isabel is currently working on two film projects: THE MAKING OF A CHIEF (formerly titled WOMEN OF THE FALLS) is a feature-length experimental documentary about Hortensia Berti, a Kamarakoto Indian in search of the unwritten history of her people through the teachings of her great-grandfather, a legendary chief; THE ASPERN PAPERS, which Isabel co-wrote with Mariana Hellmund and produced in collaboration with Hellmund and Andrea Roa, is a modern day adaptation of the Henry James novella set in the Venezuelan coastal rainforest instead of 19th Century Venice.

Isabel's work in film intends to portray Latin American stories within a background of history and culture instead of the usual barrio stereotypes, as well as the stories of women who assume traditionally male roles.