Bolivian Pioneer Female Photographer and Filmmaker Julia Vargas-Weise Dies


Bolivian filmmaker Julia Vargas-Weise died yesterday at the age of 76 in Barcelona, Spain—where she was based for many years—due to undisclosed causes. She was the first female professional photographer of Bolivia, as well as a established filmmaker. 

Born in Cochabamba in 1942, she studied at the Ecole des Arts et Métiers" in Switzerland. She traveled Bolivia extensively capturing everyday life, events, landscapes and local people for over half a century. She participated in over 30 exhibitions, 17 of them solo, in Europa, the U.S., and South America, and receiving numerous national and international awards. 

In the early eighties she turned to video art and later to film. Her production includes short and feature films, both documentary and fiction. In 2004 she directed her first feature film Esito sería... La vida es un carnaval, followed by Patricia, una basta, a year later.

In 2015 she co-wrote and directed Carga sellada / Seal Cargo, a drama based on real events about an attempt by corrupted officials to smuggle toxic chemicals into Chile. The film, which was featured in several film festivals including Havana, Palm Springs, and the International Film Festival of India at Goa, where it won the Special Jury Prize, was Bolivia's official submission to the 86th Academy Awards.

Additionally, she created a NGO for children media training, taught numerous photography and film workshops, and participated as a jury member of diverse audiovisual competitions. She was working on a documentary about femicide following the story of a teenager that was murdered by her boyfriend.