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 right wing 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, Images, RIDM 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 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), and has been the recipient of several national and international prizes for her art practice. She is currently in development with two feature length film projects.

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).

More recently in June 2020, she served as commissioning curator of the !in.site; exhibition at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, featuring new digital artworks by emerging artists Dallas Flett-Wapash (Ininew and Saulteaux) and Taylor McArthur (Nakota and Ininew). She is also leading the Winnipeg-based Mujer Artista project, connecting Latin women artists from the prairies with collective professional development, which most recently held a project show at aceartinc. in January 2020.

From 2006 to 2017, Araneda served as Executive Director of the Winnipeg Film Group / Winnipeg Cinematheque, a storied organization within the Winnipeg arts milieu with a budget of $1M and a permanent staff base of 14, transforming it into a new era of artistic clarity, financial stability, facility and technology modernization, and significantly increased diversity, inclusion and participation. From 2018 to 2020, Araneda took on a two year consulting scope with the Brandon-based Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, spearheading its Manitoba Digital Initiatives project to support media art development capacity in Manitoba outside of Winnipeg. Since 2020, Araneda has worked with a number of clients on special consultancy scopes, including the Independent Media Arts Alliance, aceartinc., and Harbour Collective, among others.

Araneda also has a long track record of leadership volunteerism within the arts and community sectors in Winnipeg and nationally, including serving as Co-Founder and President of the WNDX collective from 2005 to 2014; Vice president, President and Governance Committee Chair of Artspace from 2006 to 2014; Vice President of the Independent Media Arts Alliance from 2015 to 2017; and Treasurer of the Winnipeg-based Elmwood Community Resource Centre from 2014 to 2017.

Araneda is trilingual in (in order of dominance): English, Spanish and French. 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