Berkeley, CA, USA
Raúl Varela was born in México City and was raised in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. In October 1996, at the age of 22, Raúl abandoned his Architecture studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez in order to migrate to the United States. Over the next 19 years Raúl travelled around the world as a musician (drummer), playing for audiences in Canada, Japan, México, and all across the United States and Europe. These experiences and interactions with many different people and places awoke in him a desire to create art through the camera lens. During the last 12 years, Raúl has been involved in documentary film projects in Ireland, México, and the U.S., as well as photography assignments in Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, México, Peru, the United States, and Europe. At the end of 2014, when Raúl was wrapping up one of four trips in the southeastern state of Chiapas in México to film a documentary about the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), he decided to go back to school and pursue an undergraduate degree in anthropology. In the spring of 2017, Raúl received his Intersegmental General Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) from Merritt College in Oakland, and in the summer of the same year, Raúl—as a returning and transfer student—began his anthropology studies at UC Berkeley. As a member of the 2018-2019 Haas Scholars Undergraduate Research Program, Raul is completing an honors thesis and a documentary about the murders of young women (feminicidios - feminicides) in Ciudad Juárez. Raúl hopes to pursue a PhD in Anthropology with an emphasis on film, photography, virtual reality, and other types of visual media in anthropology.