Erika Valenciana, Co-Executive Director
The work of Chicana filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist Erika Valenciana focuses on bringing stories of marginalized groups, particularly women of color, from the background to the foreground. Her goal is to amplify disenfranchised voices and, through her teaching artistry, empower others to tell their own stories.
For almost a decade, Valenciana has been a Teaching Artist in Chicago’s Public Schools and collaborates with CPS teachers to create and implement curricula that integrates academics, media arts, and technology. She has presented workshops based her unique curriculum at both SXSWedu and the Allied Media Conference.
Valenciana has screened a number of her documentary films and short videos and won various awards in the United States and abroad. Through her film work, she has traveled extensively to Mexico, Canada, Scotland, South Africa, India, France and Ecuador, where she taught a stop-motion animation workshop at a safe-house for survivors of human trafficking while in production for her documentary film, “La Mitad del Mundo.”
In 2015, she was a Diverse Voices in Docs Fellow, a program sponsored by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago.
Her short film on teenage pregnancy “Athina” was screened at Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner, The Chicago Latino Film Festival, and at both Columbia College’s Best of Docs and The Big Screen, Columbia’s annual juried screening. “Athina” also went on to win the Special Mention Award at the International Student Documentary Competition and first place at the Latino Student Film Festival.
Valenciana, a Chicago native, is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s Film and Video program, where she won first place for Columbia’s Oral History Department Award for her film “Rock On Wesley”.