Cecilia Araneda was born in Chile and came to Canada at a young age as a refugee with her family after they escaped Chile’s coup d’état. She grew up in northern Manitoba and currently lives in Winnipeg.
Araneda holds a BFA (hons) in Theatre (playwriting) from York University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (screenplay writing) from UBC, where she studied under thesis advisor Hart Hanson. She is additionally a three-time alumna of the fabled Film Farm.
She has completed 14 short films and videos as director and writer, which have won awards and screened in festivals, curated programs and art house cinemas internationally. Among the film festivals that have featured Araneda’s work are Visions du Réel, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, The Images Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Festival de Cine de Huesca, Hamburg International Short Film Festival andFestival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano.
In 2010, Araneda’s work was featured in a retrospective screening at the Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa, Canada.
In 2011, Araneda was recognized by the Government of Manitoba for her work as a woman artist working for social change.
In 2014, she was nominated for the Premio Norberto Griffa a la Creación Audiovisual Latinoamericana, an international prize for a Latin American filmmaker or video artist who demonstrates strong auteurship, working outside of film industry aesthetics.
Her first novel, The Ocean, was released December 2012.
Araneda has served as Executive Director of the legendary Winnipeg Film Group since 2006. Through her work in this organization, she has fostered the development of many Winnipeg-based filmmakers who have gone on to garner national and international attention.
In 2005, Araneda founded, together with filmmaker Solomon Nagler, the WNDX Festival of Moving Image, which has since become one of the most respected experimental film festivals in Canada. Araneda served as President and member of the programming committee for the festival for its first nine years.
Araneda is trilingual, in English, Spanish and French. As is common with Latin Americans, Araneda is of mixed European and Indigenous (Mapuche) descent.