Cecilia Cornejo Sotelo is a Chilean-born documentary filmmaker, artist, and teacher based in Northfield, Minnesota. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies from The University of Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts in Film, Video, and New Media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With ties to both the American Midwest and the central coast of Chile, Cornejo Sotelo’s work explores notions of belonging and is rooted in the experience of living in-between cultures. She uses a range of approaches and production methodologies—from the very personal and essayistic to the expansive and collaborative—to create films that move fluidly from the local to the global, and from the intimate to the openly political.
In 2012, Cornejo Sotelo embarked on the “Living Marginal Project,” a multi-platform endeavor that traces the experience of diverse communities in Northfield that find themselves removed from the social, political, and geographic heart of the town. The project embodies the filmmaker’s continued effort to develop effective methods of collaboration with the people who take part in her work, transforming documentary subjects into active participants, co-creators of meaning, and architects of their representation.
Cornejo Sotelo is the recipient of an Established Artist Grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (2014), a Jerome Foundation Film, Video, and Digital Media Grant (2017), and a two-time recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board (2016 and 2018). Her work has shown locally and abroad at venues such as MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, L’Alternativa (Spain), Arsenale (Berlin), InVideo (Italy), Melbourne Latin American Film Festival, Puerto Vallarta International Film Festival (Mexico), Festival Internacional de Documentales de Santiago (Chile), Cine las Américas (Texas), National Museum of Women in the Arts, Athens International Film Festival, Tucson Underground Film Festival, Gene Siskel Film Center, Miami International Film Festival, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, and Frozen River Film Festival. She currently teaches in the Cinema and Media Studies Department at Carleton College.