Carlo Guillermo Proto
Chile / Montreal

In 2020, Cecilia Araneda spoke with Carlo Guillermo Proto as part of a multi-year curatorial research project on Latin Canadian cinema. This is a brief extract of her research.

Born in Canada to Chilean parents and raised in both Canada and Chile, Carlo Guillermo Proto is a documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on the unique interplay between identity and human experience in relationship to issues of geography, ethnicity and perceived disabilities. |

Research Notes

Carlo Guillermo Proto’s family immigrated from Chile to Canada in 1971, right after the election Salvador Allende as president, leaving because of Chile’s increasing left-wing movement. Shortly after Proto’s birth in Canada in 1979, his family returned to Chile, into the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The family lived in the small city of Quillota, just north of Santiago, for four years before eventually deciding to return to Canada, where Proto would grow up in Mississauga.

In early adulthood, Proto’s love for storytelling led him into a deep involvement in the Toronto theatre scene in the 1990’s, eventually coming to work as the general manager and company producer for the Cahoots Theatre Projects. Proto had always grown up around cameras, using Super8, VHS and Hi-8, but it was only later that he translated his experience with cameras and love of storytelling into filmmaking. After making his first short film, Pura Sangre, in 1994, Proto would move to Montreal to pursue filmmaking studies at Concordia University, but would ultimately leave the program just shy of graduation to work on his feature documentaries El Huaso (2011), which was completed independently, and Resurrecting Hassan (2016), which was picked up by the NFB.

Proto is perhaps most well known for his feature documentary El Huaso, which follows his father’s journey through mental health issues within the context of the Chilean perception of masculinity and what it means to be a man. The work had a very polarized reception – receiving great acclaim in many film festivals, but also much critique. Eventually, Proto pulled the film from distribution.

Proto is currently developing a documentary film project with internationally-acclaimed Chilean-Canadian playwright, actor and author Carmen Aguirre.


Feature documentaries

  • Resurrecting Hassan (2016)
  • El Huaso (2011)


  • Peggy, Denis and Lauviah (2007)
  • Pura Sangre (2004)

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