Paul Goldsmith

Filmmaker Paul Goldsmith will screen his newest documentary, “The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island,” on Jan. 25 at the Santa Ynez Valley Grange in Los Olivos.

Contributed photo by Sam Spaulding

Her story is both inspirational and true. Some of the mysteries surrounding the life of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island were made famous by author Scott O’Dell in his 1960 book, “Island of the Blue Dolphins.”

Now, filmmaker Paul Goldsmith has created a documentary that helps unearth and clarify some of the mysteries surrounding a Native American woman christened Juana Maria.

The Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society and the Los Olivos Library are welcoming Goldsmith, who will introduce and screen his newest documentary, “The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island.” The event takes place Thursday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m., at the Santa Ynez Valley Grange in Los Olivos.

The film reveals how Maria survived and lived for 18 years, isolated on an offshore island some 61 miles from the California coastline. Segments of the Lone Woman’s story are actually filmed on location. Goldsmith traces the elements of her amazing journey by following her sandy, wind-blown footprints, backtracking into the past and reaching out to the remote island of San Nicolas.

Goldsmith, who lives just outside of Los Angeles, is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers and has received awards for his work as a director of photography.

Married with four daughters, Goldsmith has several feature and television credits and has produced award-winning work for PBS. He has produced several television documentaries, as well. His most recent documentary, “Two Days in October” (directed by Robert Kenner for PBS), won an Emmy and a Peabody in 2006. Goldsmith also won the 1998 Emmy for Documentary Cinematography for “Don’t Say Goodbye” (PBS/National Geographic).

Goldsmith was a cinematographer on the feature documentary, “When We Were Kings” (directed by Leon Gast), about the Ali-Foreman heavy weight boxing match in Zaire. The film won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 1996.

The Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society’s lectures and films are free and open to all. A list of upcoming lectures and field trips sponsored by the society can be found at Contact: SYV Natural History Society, P.O. Box 794, Los Olivos, CA 93441; 805-693-5683; email


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