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), the Winnipeg Cinematheque (Winnipeg, 2018), and the Festival Internacional Corporalidad Expandida (Buenos Aires, 2018).
Araneda has been the recipient of a number of awards and recognitions. 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.
Most recently in 2018, Araneda was awarded 3rd place in the Premio Norberto Griffa a la Creación Audiovisual Latinoamericana, a biannual international prize that recognizes exceptional Latin American film and video, for her film The Space Shuttle Challenger.
The Space Shuttle Challenger was also recently awarded Best Short at This Human World: International Human Rights Film Festival in Vienna, Austria. The prize is an artist residency at Q21 in Vienna in 2019.
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. The Mujer Artista v2 series runs through 2019/2020. Araneda was additionally Vice President of the Independent Media Arts Alliance from 2015-2017.
In 2018, Araneda commenced managing a two-year project 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 various 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 trilingual in (in order of dominance): English, Spanish and French. She has also more recently begun studying Anishinaabemowin. Similar to most Latin Americans, Araneda is of mixed European and Indigenous (Mapuche) ancestry.