Faces of Elmwood – Cecilia Araneda
This week Cecilia Araneda is the Face of Elmwood. Among other things she is the Treasurer on the Elmwood Community Resource Centre’s Board of Directors and since 2014 she has been a helpful force in moving the Centre to grow.
Cecilia Araneda is a nationally recognized filmmaker. She 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 has received numerous prizes and recognitions for her work as a filmmaker and her decades-long work in building local film communities – through her long-tenured work as the Executive Director with the legendary Winnipeg Film Group and Winnipeg Cinematheque, and for having founded the WNDX Festival of Moving Image. Alongside her ongoing work as an independent filmmakers and curator, she is also currently Executive Director of VUCAVU.com, Vice President of the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA) and Treasurer of the Elmwood Community Resource Centre. Araneda has lived in Elmwood for nearly 20 years.
1. What is one project you are working on that you are proud of and why?
I’m currently working with VUCAVU.com, which is a new, non-profit digital distribution platform for Canadian film. One of the most important projects we’re working on currently is how to make the site a meaningful agent of Reconciliation. Cinema is a powerful tool for understanding worlds and experiences that are different from our own, and I’m looking forward to opening up wider Canadian and international attention to the many great Indigenous voices we have in Canadian film.
2. What makes you, you?
I came to Canada as a refugee with my family when I was young, and I experienced being both a cultural and language translator for my parents for a period of time. I am very clearly Canadian, but I am also very clearly “other” – multilingual and pluricultural in a very deep way. When you are a child, the experience of being culturally different can be hard, especially at a time in your life when you deeply want to fit in. Over time, however, I came to realize that being pluricultural is actually a significant strength when taking on leadership roles, because of my openness to see things from many different perspectives.
- If you could choose just one thing about the world, what would it be and why?
I think that as a society it’s important to focus on what we have in common, as opposed to our differences. People have a natural tendency to fear the unknown, and so divisions in society are created when we amplify differences. But what I know as a pluricultural person, is that people from different cultures are more alike they many first realize – family bonds, aspirations for your children to live a good life, friendship, good health, etc. I think it’s important to always choose to focus on the things we have in common as a way to make our community stronger.