Vanesa Paredes, 34, is an Argentine film director and producer, born in Buenos Aires, a city she describes as full of art and movement. Her mother, a housewife with a taste for theater, drawing and music, was the one who influenced her and her siblings (dancers, actors and musicians) in the art world.
Vanesa always wanted to tell stories, since a young age, she drew on every blank paper she could find, invented and wrote stories, drew cartoons. With the help of her art teacher, in high school, she found the perfect profession: Filmmaking. She started her studies at the prestigious University of Buenos Aires. Before graduating, she started working as a cameraman and video editor, first at a record company in the visual area, later, as an editor at an important company located in Buenos Aires.
Living in Buenos Aires, she was friends with children of Asian families and from other countries of Latin America. She always had a special interest in the experiences of travelers and an empathy towards immigrants. She wondered how it felt to live between two worlds. What was it about living away from your culture and your language? How did it feel to share and learn new customs and ways of life? She felt in them the pain of uprooting and the feeling of being between two cultures, without feeling 100% part of any of them. She graduated as an audiovisual designer with a thesis on this subject and in 2012, she did a lively short on this topic.
Vanesa’s life was good. At 29, she got engaged to her boyfriend of three years, a good man who loved her enormously. However, deep inside, she knew she was not ready to take that important step.
“I was always a curious person with an adventurous spirit. I felt that something had been relegated in my life. I felt the need to travel, to see the world, to explore, to hear stories, to be by myself. My family is very traditional, I was about 30 years old, and everyone thought that it was the ideal time to get married and have children. I had found a wonderful man, why shouldn’t I want to marry him? I tried to keep myself strong on my decision to get married, because it was supposed to be the right one. I was lying to myself and he felt my doubts, he knew me enough to see that I wasn’t sure about it, so he asked me what I really wanted, and in that moment, I realized that I wanted to follow my dreams of traveling and exploring the world. We cried and hugged, we said goodbye and I made the conscious decision of changing my life. It wasn’t easy, I loved him, but it wasn’t my time to be a wife and mother; and for him that was a priority.
After a few months, I got a working holiday visa in New Zealand and my adventure started. I was so excited and happy! I wanted to learn English; I wanted to see the world. I couldn’t believe that my life had changed so much in such a short time. I have been in 12 countries in the last three years. I have seen wonderful things, I have met many people and I had the opportunity to work on what I love. At the moment, I am 34, and all these experiences have made me stronger and more independent. My life is a continuous adventure. I do not regret my decision. When you listen to your heart, there is no way things can go wrong. My ex-fiancé got married and became the father of a beautiful daughter. He is happy with his new family, I am happy for him and he is happy for me. We both fulfilled our dreams and we are still friends.”
After 2.5 years doing all kinds of work, but always, looking for the opportunity to do what she loved, she found the opportunity to keep working as a filmmaker in New Zealand. She has participated in different audiovisual projects and was presented with the possibility of participating in “Crossing The Bridge”, a creative collective founded by Mauritian Anthropologist Sophie-Claire Violette supported by Creative Editor Lucy Holland from New Zealand and now, also supported by Vanesa as a filmmaker. They create visual and experiential projects with a strong anthropological focus. Their first eponymous project “Crossing The Bridge; Exploring Identity and Belonging in Ashburton’s Migrant Community” told the stories of twenty one migrants and their experiences integrating into the rural town of Ashburton | New Zealand. This project is extremely close to Vanesa’s heart as she can feel in her own flesh what her immigrant friends felt living in Argentina.
“With perseverance and following our hearts and true dreams, we can fulfill everything. Our work in “Crossing The Bridge” is the best example.” For more about Vanesa Paredes and Crossing The Bridge please visit: www.crossingthebridge.co