Colombia / Toronto
In 2020, Cecilia Araneda spoke with Lina Rodríguez as part of a multi-year curatorial research project on Latin Canadian cinema. This is a brief extract of her research.
Toronto-based Colombian filmmaker Lina Rodríguez is predominantly a writer/director of Spanish-language feature films set in Colombia, with a parallel practice working as a short form experimental filmmaker. She studied filmmaking at York University and has made five experimental shorts and two feature films to-date. Her works have screened at Views from the Avant-Garde, Images, Locarno, Mar de Plata, and the Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, among others. | rayonvert.ca
Rodríguez grew up in Bogotá to a middle class family and attended a bilingual Spanish / English school. Growing up in the 1990s in Colombia was also a time of uncertainty, as bombs could be set off at any time. As a result, although Rodríguez did not need to leave, she wished to do so. She decided to study film at York University influenced, in part, by an uncle who was in a theatre / dance troupe.
In Canada, Rodríguez entered into a new world, where she immediately became an “other” as part of the immigrant class. Film school also became another process of non-belonging for her, and she found little connection to process taught there at the time, which was more focused on the machinery of filmmaking. The disappointment of film school was compounded by losing access to its equipment upon graduation. Eventually, though, she gained access to a Super 8 camera and would find a new pathway to working in film as a result of that, one that was more personal in nature.
At the same time, Rodríguez found communications work first at the small Alucine Latin Film + Media Arts Festival, and then leveraged that experience to secure a job at Hot Docs working in community outreach. Through this work, Rodríguez learned how to better speak about art cinema and how to connect work to audiences.
Rodríguez was able to make her first feature film, Señoritas (2013), in Colombia, as she had more resources available to her there. With this work, she was interested in working in fiction but with a documentary aesthetic. The structure of this script, and that her second feature film Mañana a esta hora (2016) – also shot in Colombia – was loose and designed to facilitate improvisation. Rodríguez notes that with her feature films, she seeks to juxtapose formally challenging aesthetics, such as long takes, with naturalistic performances that are facilitated through room for improvisation. Although Rodríguez works in Colombia, she is an outsider to the film industry there. The success that she has found with her first two feature films enabled her to secure Canadian funding to make her upcoming third feature film, So Much Tenderness, her first to be set in Toronto.
Rodríguez had interesting perspectives to share about the notion of Latin Canadian cinema, which can be a difficult subject to discuss given there has been so little public discourse and documentation about the sector. Cinema has not been a viable career in Latin America except for those at the absolute very top of the elite, even though this is starting to change now somewhat. Rodríguez points out that this has resulted in only certain classes of people being able to speak for and narrate the larger continent. Latin Canadian filmmakers, because they are situated outside of the class system that dominates Latin America, remain just as much outsiders to Latin American cinema as they do to Canadian cinema, making Latin Canadian cinema one that resides on multiple frontiers but never in the centre of any place.
- Mañana a esta hora (This Time Tomorrow) (2016)
- Señoritas (2013)
- ante mis ojos (2018)
- Einschnitte (2011)
- Protocol (2011)
- Convergences et rencontres (2008)
- Pont du Carrousel (2008)
- Cycle (2005)