Franci Duran Retrospective at WNDX


Still from Retrato Oficial 1 (2003), directed by Franci Duran

Franci Duran: In Departure’s Wake

Curated by Cecilia Araneda

Screening at the WNDX Festival of Moving Image
In partnership with Harbour Collective and Video Pool

Saturday, Oct 9 at 7 PM – Winnipeg Cinematheque
* The Winnipeg Cinematheque is a fully accessible venue

Franci Duran’s work does not give comfort. Even to me; for if there was ever a film curator somewhere in the world best situated to contextualize Duran’s work, it is probably very specifically me. But for those familiar with my work, you will know I do not approach filmmaking through an academic lens; as both a filmmaker and a curator, I am led instead by the intuitive moment. Duran, on the other hand, works in a way that responds to philosophical and academic texts as a point of impetus, consciously building and weaving around tightly spun themes. I’ve been interviewing Duran for several years now, both formally and informally, as part of my attempt to unearth what Latin Canadian cinema is. I’ve interviewed dozens of other Latin Canadian filmmakers from across the country at the same time. This started for witnessing for a while now the emergence of a meaningful independent film movement that was unnoticed by institutional film programmers and critics. It’s true that most of the knowledge of these gatekeepers tends to be years behind current living movements, but this problem is multiplied when it comes to filmmakers whose life experiences do not mirror the makeup of the programmer class in Canada, manifesting itself as large communities of undocumented practitioners. Is there a Latin Canadian cinema? Some will argue there is not, though I believe this is more a response to it not having entered the country’s formal memory-keeping systems. It is in this larger context that I examine the work of Franci Duran.

Continue reading essay…


Still from Traje de luces (2018), directed by Franci Duran

Franci Duran: In Departure’s Wake
Curated by Cecilia Araneda

Born in Chile in 1967, Toronto-based filmmaker Franci Duran came to Canada as a refugee as a child, following the coup that ousted democratically-elected president Salvador Allende and unleashed large-scale military violence against civilians. Duran’s thirty year body of work often serves as a response to narrative-building attempts to legitimize the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and by extension global neoliberal systems of rule. More recently, Duran has widened her artistic scope to consider the nature of violence done by humans not only onto other humans, but onto life as a whole. Like many of her Latin Canadian filmmaker contemporaries, Duran does not seek to examine her place in Canadian society through her work, but instead casts her vision squarely back onto Latin America as a site of origin, examining and analyzing it from a distance, dialoguing with and challenging the definition of Latin American cinema.

Cuentos de mi niñez (Tales from my Childhood) – 8:45 mins, 16 mm, 1991
In this autobiographical experimental film, a young woman remembers and recounts difficult childhood memories of the 1973 coup in Chile when her family was forced into exile.

Retrato Oficial 1 (Official Portrait 1) – 1:00 min, 16 mm, 2003 – no sound
After declared unfit to stand trial in England, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet stands up out of his wheelchair and greets his supporters.

Retrato Oficial 2 (Official Portrait 2) – 4:00 mins, digital file, 2009
Based in part on a conceit borrowed from Raul Ruiz’s essay Images of Images and original footage shot by Patricio Guzman on September 11, 1973, Retrato Oficial 2 explores the nature of the mediated image and image-making technologies as it reacts to the mythology of Chilean revolutionary Bernardo O’Higgins and the reach of the Pinochet dictatorship.

Dominion – 2:51 mins, digital file, 2004
A found footage piece consisting of reworked of images of Princess Diana, pointing to England’s colonial past and the elusiveness of a media image.

Even if my hands were full of truths – 7:29 mins, digital file, 2012
The third part of the Retrato Oficial series, Even if my hands were full of truths contemplates how memory may or may not become history, using excerpts from now-declassified CIA correspondence and a photo-montage taken at the Museum of Human Rights and Memory in Santiago.

Traje de luces (Suit of Lights) – 18:03 mins, digital file, 2018
A traje de luces, or suit of lights, is a bull fighter’s uniform. Intricately hand-crafted film footage of a bullfight during the time of Franco’s dictatorship in Spain is used to explore the broad reach of fascism and why citizens accept the harm done to others.

It Matters What – 9:06 mins, digital file, 2019
A textual and textural filmic manifesto combining extracts from Donna Haraway’s essay Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene with in-camera animation, contact printing and phytograms (the exposure of 16mm film overlaid with plant material and dried in direct sunlight) – Kim Knowles

Boy – 7 mins, 16 mm, 2005
The visual poetics of Vancouver are brought to light as the filmmaker reflects on the cities she has lived in, motherhood and the birth of her first son.


Still from It Matters What (2019), directed by Franci Duran


Francisca Duran is a Chilean-Canadian experimental media artist who creates films, video installation, and 2D, photo-based, mixed-media works about history, memory and violence. Duran has exhibited internationally at film festivals and venues including Edinburgh International Film Festival, International Film Festival at Rotterdam, HotDocs, Arkipel, Anthology Film Archives, Los Angeles Film Forum, John Hansard Gallery and Gallery 44. Duran holds an M.F.A. from York University and a B.A.H. from Queen’s University. Her practice has been supported by research, travel, and production grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.


Franci Duran, photo by Justine McCloskey


Franci Duran: In Departure’s Wake has been made possible by special project funding from the Manitoba Arts Council to Harbour Collective