Ignacio Agüero (1952, Chile), independent documentary filmmaker
Ignacio Agüero is a determined fighter against tyranny and injustice. Co-creator of the ‘No’ campaign that led to Pinochet’s defeat (recently popularised in the 2012 film No), Agüero has created 14 essential films documenting aspects of life during and after the dictatorship.
Report from the 2014 Prince Claus Awards Committee
Ignacio Agüero (1952, Santiago) is an independent documentary filmmaker and pro-active humanist whose work highlights the relationship of the personal and the political.His 14 films are essential in the account of Chilean society from the time of the dictatorship to today. Covering a wide range of subjects in diverse styles, they have a unique potency in conveying the positive in terrible adversity.
Filmed covertly and released under a pseudonym, No olvidar (Not to Forget, 1982) recounts the discovery of the bodies of 15 missing detained farm workers, proving their murder by state agents. Its strength lies in its sensitive portrayal of the resilience and loving remembrance of the victims’ families. Cien niños esperando un tren (One hundred children waiting for a train, 1988) documents a delightful children’s workshop while revealing their deprived social conditions and the teacher’s committed creativity. Censored from national television, El diario de Agustín (Agustin’s Newspaper, 2008) is a powerful exposé of the complicity of El Mercurio newspaper in the crimes of the dictatorship and its impunity even today. By filming a group of students carrying out the investigation, Agüero offers an effective example of human agency in resistance.
Active throughout the dictatorship, Agüero was instrumental in designing the ‘No’ campaign that led to Pinochet’s electoral defeat. He continues his filmmaking experiments and, as professor of film at the Universidad de Chile, he transmits ideological values to new generations.
Ignacio Agüero is honoured for his innovative work combining lyrical aesthetics and perceptive detail with political and social activism; for creating humane films that emphasise personal and civic responsibility; for bearing witness and preserving memory in a poetic way that fosters truth and reconciliation; for his crucial contribution to a full account of Chilean history from the dictatorship to the present; and for his integrity and commitment to social justice and his art under extreme circumstances.