Willie Varela has been making film in the independent, personal tradition since 1971. To date, Mr. Varela has completed 91 films ranging in length from 30 seconds to 104 minutes. In addition, Varela has completed 15 videotapes since 1991. Varela’s image making practice also encompasses photography and visual/text pieces incorporating found imagery, photos, text, and graphics.
Mr. Varela’s public exhibition career has spanned over twenty years, with one-man shows at such independent film showcases as the San Francisco Cinematheque, Los Angeles Film Forum, Chicago Filmmakers, Millennium Film Workshop, Rice University, Berks Filmmakers, the Boston Film/Video Foundation, Anthology Film Archives, Collective for Living Cinema, Pacific Film Archives, Austin Film Society, Guadalupe Central Arts Center, San Antonio, Donnell Media Center, and many others. Highlights of Varela’s career include a Cineprobe at the Museum of Modern Art in 1988; videos in the 1993 and 1995 Whitney Biennials; and inclusion of 12 Super 8 films in the Big As Life: An American History of the 8mm Films, the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Varela was also the subject of a mid-career retrospective of his completed work in film and video at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the spring of 1994. This exhibition was organized by Chon Noriega. Mr. Varela’s films and videotapes have also been shown on broadcast television outlets, including KQED in San Francisco, KUHT in Houston, KDET in Corpus Christi, and KWHY in Los Angeles. Varela’s photographs and visual/text pieces have also been included in group shows at the Bridge Center for Contemporary Art in El Paso, Texas; the El Paso Museum of Art; the San Antonio Museum of Art; and the Jansen-Perez Gallery in San Antonio, Texas.
Mr. Varela has also been the recipient of film production grants from the Southwest Independent Production Fund, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the City of El Paso Arts Resources Department, and the New Forms Regional Initiatives Grant. Varela’s films are available for rental and purchase from Canyon Cinema Cooperative, 2325 Third St. Suite 338, San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 626-2255. Currently, Mr. Varela is an Assistant Professor of Film Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso.