The film Shadow Girl (75mins) will be screened through the CFMDC website and projected at 4th Space, following with a discussion with the filmmaker at 4:30pm.
Maria Teresa Larraín is a Chilean born filmmaker, who studied Law and Drama in her native land. In 1976, Larraín immigrated to Canada where she worked as a legal assistant and a community worker with immigrant women and refugees, and studied Radio and Television Arts at the Ryerson University in Toronto. She graduated from that program in 1984 and has since worked as an independent filmmaker both in Chile and in Canada. Larraín has been invited to participate in several professional development programs including the Documentary Edit and Story Lab and the Documentary and Composers Lab of the Sundance Institute in Utah and the Alan King’s Documentary Studio and the Canadian Film Centre Scriptwriters Lab in Toronto.
Her character driven films are often very personal and usually deal with social issues. Shadow Girl (2017) follows her journy into blindness and her encounter with a group of street vendors who help her find a different way to look and see. While she thought Shadow Girl (2017) would be her last film, she is currently editing Bodies in Crisis (2019-), a feature length documentary that follows 5 dissident activists through the social revolt and the contentious constitutional process that recently took place in Chile. Her previous film Besieged Land (2007) focuses on a land conflict between a powerful landowner and a respected Mapuche Chief. Both documentaries participated in various international film festivals in the Americas, Europe and Asia, winning several awards. Her earlier films “Dolores” (about Art modeling, narcissism and love) and “Looking for Findley (a portrait of the late Canadian author),” have been broadcasted in Bravo! and Tele Latino in Toronto.
While working on Shadow Girl, Maria Teresa studied Critical Disability Studies at Ryerson University. In her dissertation thesis and using autoethnography as a research methodology, she discusses the ways in which the making of her film helped her step into her new identity both as a blind woman and a member of a new community: that of people with disabilities. An important aspect of her thesis was the connection between Arts, Academy and Activism.
Shadow Girl tells the story of a filmmaker struggling with her imminent loss of vision. While editing her last film in Toronto, Chilean-born filmmaker María Teresa Larraín suddenly begins to go blind. After she’s denied disability benefits by the Canadian government, she returns home to Chile. There, inspired by the resilience and wisdom of the blind street vendors she meets, María Teresa confronts her fears and steps into her new life while reclaiming her dignity and her voice as an artist. This powerful and poetic film raises complex questions about art and “vision,” able and dis-abled, and poverty and privilege.
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