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Jorge Fajardo

Jorge Fajardo

Born on April 18, 1944, Jorge Fajardo is one of the most iconoclastic Latin American-born filmmakers who ever worked at the NFB, though his body of work remains relatively unknown. Trained as a civil engineer, he made his first short film, El insomne, in 1970, followed by three more shorts in 1971 and 1972. After Chile’s coup d’état, Fajardo immigrated to Canada, where he continued his filmmaking career, directing 15 titles between 1975 and 2002. His first project in Canada was produced at the NFB very soon after he arrived; Fajardo joined forces with two other Chilean-born filmmakers to co-create the NFB’s first-ever Latinx-Canadian film, Il n’y a pas d’oubli (1975, loosely translated: “There Is No Oblivion”). He directed the last part of this anthology film, Steel Blues, about a university professor and left-wing activist who struggles in his new job in a Montreal steel mill. This 34-minute piece masterfully captures the distressing experience of an immigrant who’s lived through the horrors of a military dictatorship and who, cut off from family, embarks on a new profession in order to adapt and make a living in his host country. For the moment, Steel Blues is the only film directed by Fajardo that’s available for free to the public. Fajardo has also written three books and worked in theatre as a writer and director. 

(Much of the information in this bio was generously provided by Diego Briceño and Jorge Fajardo’s daughter, who are currently working towards making Fajardo’s films available to the public).  Picture by Philippe Amiguet.