Chilean-Canadian filmmaker Cecilia Araneda came to Canada as a child as a refugee with her family after they escaped the Pinochet military regime. She grew up in northern Manitoba and currently lives in Winnipeg. She holds a BFA hons in Theatre (playwriting major) from York University and an MFA in Creative Writing (screenplay writing thesis) from UBC. Araneda is additionally a three-time alumna of the Film Farm.
Araneda has completed 14 short films, which have screened at film festivals, artist run centres and art museums around the world, and which have been recognized with various awards and distinctions. Among the festivals that have presented her work, include Visions du Réel, Ann Arbor, Jihlava IDFF, Images and Festival du Nouveau Cinéma. Retrospective screenings of her work have been presented by the Canadian Film Institute (Ottawa, 2010), LIFT (Toronto, 2017), and the Winnipeg Cinematheque (Winnipeg, 2018), and upcoming at the Festival Internacional Corporalidad Expandida (Buenos Aires, 2018).
In 2011, she was recognized by the Province of Manitoba as a woman media artist working for social change. In 2017, she served as the inaugural recipient of LIFT’s Roberto Ariganello Residency Award. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Manitoba Film Hothouse Award, supporting an established Manitoba filmmaker. Araneda was also the recipient in 2017 of an international curatorial residency hosted by the FICWALLMAPU International Indigenous Film Festival in the Mapuche Nation in Chile and funded by the Canada Council.
In 2005, Araneda co-founded the WNDX Festival of Moving Image and remained a central force for its artistic and organizational development for nine years.
From 2006-2017, Araneda served as Executive Director of the Winnipeg Film Group / Winnipeg Cinematheque during which time she oversaw an era of unprecedented diversity and the complete modernization of its facilities and technical holdings.
In 2014 Araneda co-founded the Mujer Artista group, a Winnipeg-based initiative to support the development of Latin women artists. Araneda was additionally Vice President of the Independent Media Arts Alliance from 2015-2017.
In 2018, Araneda commenced a two-year project as Manitoba Digital Initiatives Manager with the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, tasked with creating a new regional digital media art education and production support system for rural and First Nations communities in Manitoba.
Since 1996, Araneda has received numerous personal grants and funds for filmmaking, film development, writing and curatorial work, including from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, Manitoba Film and Music, the National Film Board of Canada, MTS TV and the Winnipeg Arts Council.
Araneda is currently in development with a long-form experimental documentary film, Threshold, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Araneda is trilingual in (in order of dominance): English, Spanish and French. She additionally speaks beginner-level Anishinaabemowin. Similar to most Latin Americans, Araneda is of mixed European and Indigenous (Mapuche) ancestry.