Venezuela / Colombia / Vancouver
In 2019, Cecilia Araneda spoke with Claudia Molina as part of a multi-year curatorial research project on Latin Canadian cinema. This is a brief extract of her research.
Latin-Canadian filmmaker Claudia Molina began her career in 2000 working as a writer, director and videographer. Her films and documentaries have toured the international film festival circuit and have been broadcast on CBC, Bravo, HBO Latino, W Network and the Documentary Channel. Molina has been the recipient of numerous film awards including a Gold Remi, a Golden Sheaf and 4 BravoFACT awards. She has also been invited to participate in a number of prestigious international film festivals, including Tribeca, Hot Docs and the Cannes Short Film Corner. Molina completed a BFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in 2004. She was a Director Resident at the Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab in 2005. In 2010, she graduated from the New Media Design and Web Development program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. In 2010, Molina re-focused her career to digital media, working though her creative digital studio, Fierce Feathers, where she is able to combine her extensive experience in film, media and web design to visualize ideas, stories and data for the multi-screen environment. | fiercefeathers.com
When I first contacted the Vancouver-based Claudia Molina, she was quick to point out that she had consciously left filmmaking a decade ago and did not foresee a return. After pursuing filmmaking seriously for about eight years, she made the switch to digital media and has not looked back.
Claudia Molina was born and raised in Venezuela to a Colombian family that had migrated to Venezuela decades earlier. Molina always knew she needed to leave due to Venezuela being a deeply misogynistic and homophobic country, and at eight years old she came to understand that leaving was a possibility. She left Venezuela at her first opportunity to do so as an adult, years before the rise of Chavez.
Molina first move to Boston, where she had some contacts, then travelled to Montreal to pursue photography. Later, she would hitchhike her way out to Vancouver, where she would stay for good.
Her first documentary, Man-Made Woman (a collaboration with Carol Ducharme) was nearly in production when the NFB decided to pull the plug on the project at the last minute, after commitments on the project were already made. It was then that, Molina initiated a move from documentaries to work in fiction forms. She attended the CFC and worked for a period of time writing a feature film script for another director. She then developed the script for Red Velvet Girls and began working on short dramas.
Eventually, though, she began to view the independent film sector as a bit of a mirage, where financial security was never actually possible – and as an immigrant woman without family wealth to fall back on, financial security played an important factor in her decision-making. Molina was at the Tribeca All Access industry event in 2008 when she made the decision to walk away from it all.
After Tribeca, she initially investigated an animation pathway, which ultimately led her in the direction of web design and development after taking a 10-month program in digital media, the field she has been working in exclusively since, mostly as a UX designer. She found digital media to be far more creative than independently filmmaking, which is a career filled with paperwork, fundraising and networking; very little of the work in filmmaking is actually the filmmaking.
And ultimately, Molina felt that her introverted personality was not well-suited to filmmaking, because “you need to have a big personality to succeed in filmmaking.”
- Man-Made Women (documentary) (2001)
- The Pencil Case (2004)
- Red Velvet Girls (2005)
- Dancing Waters (2006)
- Indigo (short documentary)(2010)
Some of Molina’s works are available for viewing on her YouTube channel.