Milena Salazar
Costa Rica / Vancouver

In 2019, Cecilia Araneda spoke with Milena Salazar as part of a multi-year curatorial research project on Latin Canadian cinema. This is a brief extract of her research.

Milena Salazar is a Costa Rican filmmaker and editor based in Vancouver, BC. Her short documentaries Mars Barb (2015), Do I Have Boobs Now? (2017) and Estelas (2019) have screened in festivals across the globe. Her editing credits include Highway to Heaven (2019), a National Film Board of Canada production directed by Sandra Ignagni, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Alongside her independent projects and freelance work filming and editing documentaries, she has held multiple roles at various arts organizations and film festivals, including Programming and Industry Manager for the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Canadian Documentaries Programmer for the Vancouver International Film Festival and coordinator of the BC Chapter of DOC (Documentary Organization of Canada). Salazar is currently developing new projects in Vancouver and her hometown of San José, Costa Rica. |

Research Notes

Milena Salazar was born in San José, Costa Rica in 1989. After completing high school, she wanted to pursue documentary filmmaking, but that was impossible in Costa Rica, where documentary filmmaking is only considered from a journalistic framing. As she had attended a private English immersion school in Costa Rica, she was already fluent in English, and so made the decision to immigrate to Canada.

Salazar is influenced by the contemporary Latin American independent documentary tradition, and most specfically by the work of internationally-acclaimed Chilean documentarian Patricio Guzmán. Salazar was able to take a 6-month documentary program when she first arrived to Vancouver, but is a largely self-taught filmmaker. She has also focused her career on documentary film programming, having done casual programming work for the Vancouver International Film Festival and, more recently serving as programming and industry manager for DOXA. She has described her work for film festivals as another way of learning about documentary filmmaking that resides outside of the formal academy.

Salazar now considers herself to be mostly a film editor and film programmer, pursuing independent documentary projects on a more casual basis. This decision has been influenced, in part, by the demands of the Canadian immigration process that she maintain full time work.


  • Estelas (20 mins, 2018) 
  • Do I Have Boobs Now? (6 mins, 2017)
  • Mars Barb (9:54, 2015)

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