Cecilia Araneda 2015 (photo by Marcel Beltrán)

Cecilia Araneda

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Chilean-Canadian filmmaker and curator came to Canada as a child as a refugee together with her family, after they escaped Chile’s bloody military dictatorship. She grew up in northern Manitoba, in Leaf Rapids and The Pas, and currently lives in Winnipeg. She holds a BFA (hons) from York University and an MFA from UBC, and is additionally a three-time alumna of the fabled Film Farm.

Araneda has completed 15 short films to-date, which have been presented at film festivals, artist run centres and art museums around the world, and that have been recognized with various awards and distinctions nationally and internationally. Among the festivals that have presented her work include Visions du Reél, Ann Arbor, Jihlava IDFF, Images and Festival du Nouveau Cinéma. Solo career surveys of her work have been presented in Ottawa (2010), Toronto (2017), Winnipeg (2018), and Buenos Aires (2018). She has additionally been awarded art residencies by LIFT: The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto as the inaugural recipient of the Roberto Ariganello Prize (2017) and by Q21 in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier (2019).

Araneda is also an internationally recognized media art curator. In 2019, she became the first-ever curator from the prairies to be awarded the Joan Lowndes Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, for independent curatorial practice in visual and media arts. In 2017, Araneda was additionally the recipient of an international curatorial residency at the FICWALLMAPU International Indigenous Film Festival of the Mapuche Nation, funded in full by the Canada Council. In 2018, she returned to the festival a year later as a curator to present Caroline Monnet’s first artistic career survey, presented in October 2018 at the festival in Temuco and a week later in Santiago (Chile). Araneda has additionally curated multiple programs over nearly a decade for the WNDX Festival of Moving Image (an organization she co-founded with filmmaker Solomon Nagler).

From 2006 to 2017, Araneda served as Executive Director of the Winnipeg Film Group / Winnipeg Cinematheque, a legendary media arts organization that has a budget of $1M and 14 permanent staff. Araneda left permanent, full time employment in 2018 to advance her independent artistic and curatorial practice.

Araneda is currently in production with a short experimental documentary, UNARCHIVE, and is developing two feature-length projects. She is additionally the commissioning curator of !in.site;, an exhibition to be presented at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba main gallery in June 2020, featuring new video game design and digital artwork by emerging Indigenous artists Dallas Flett-Wapash and Taylor McArthur.

Araneda is also leading the Winnipeg-based Mujer Artista v2 project, connecting Latin women artists from the prairies to work through collective professional development towards a final group show at aceartinc. in January 2020.

Araneda is trilingual in (in order of dominance): English, Spanish and French. She has also more recently begun studying Anishinaabemowin (Southern Manitoba Ojibwe dialect). Similar to most Latin Americans, Araneda is of mixed European and Indigenous (Mapuche) ancestry.

Araneda works in video and film, in fiction, documentary and experimental modes, testing the image for what it tells us about ourselves – our past and how we imagine it in pieces and textures. Often in Araneda’s work, a fragment of a word or an image or a colour – red, for example – triggers an associational process of remembrance. To live with images which linger after the moment has passed: the signs of a presence and an absence. How we remember, how we forget, and the role of the image in stasis and unpredictable movement – these are the motors and the enduring questions of Cecilia Araneda’s memory work in film.
– Scott Birdwise, Canadian Film Institute, April 2010