Laura Varela is a San Antonio-based documentary filmmaker and media artists whose Medicine Stories are shaped by her roots growing up on the US/Mexico Border in El Paso, Texas. Her work explores ideological, cultural, linguistic and physical borders through the use of film and contemporary art installations. She has recieved awards from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Humanities Texas and Latino Public Broadcasting’s Public Media Content Fund. In 2015 she recieved the Best Director Award for the San Antonio’s Film Festival’s City on the Rise Award. She has also taught courses on documentary film at the University of Texas San Antonio; and lectures and screens her work around the country. Varela has dedicated her career as a filmmaker and artist as a form of cultural preservation and activism for the individual and communal healing and justice.
Her documentary, As Long as I Remember: American Veteranos is being broadcast on PBS stations nationally via an American Public Television offering till 2016. The film will soon offer 9-12th grade curriculum on PBS Learning Media’s website. She is currently developing the PBS documentary raúlrsalinas and the Poetry of Liberation, about the life and times of Xicano poet and activist.
Recently, she has directed several short films and co-directed the Frida’s Heart music video for the band FeminaX. In March 2009 she created the site-specific public art installation “Enlight-Tents” at the Alamo with German artist Vaago Weiland. Her installation work has been exhibited at the San Antonio Museum of Art, Blue Star Center for Contemporary Art, The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, Gallista Gallery, and the UTSA Downtown Art Gallery.
She is a fellow of the 2006 CPB/PBS Producers Academy, the 2006 NALAC Leadership Institute, and the 2003 NALIP/UCLA Latino Producers Academy. She attended the Sundance Filmmaker’s lab in 1997 and in 1993 received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas in Radio TV and Film. Artist Residencies include Swarthmore College, PA, Art for Change in NYC, and the Hoschule Neiderrhein and Faust Academy in Germany.
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