Days of the Whale (Los días de la ballena), the auspicious debut feature by Colombian writer-director Catalina Arroyave, will have its world premiere as part of the Global section at the 2019 edition of the SXSW Film Festival, taking place March 8-16 in Austin, Texas, followed by its national premiere at the Cartagena International Film Festival in Colombia, March 6-11.
Set in the bustling city of Medellín, Colombia’s second-largest city, Days of the Whale follows Cristina and Simon, two young graffiti artists who tag spots around where they live. Their restless spirit leads them to defy a criminal gang when they decide to paint a mural over a threat written on a wall. The love that unites them, their friendship with other artists at La selva—an old house they use as a refuge—and family tensions, come together to tell a story in which the powerful strength of youth is challenged by fear, violence and the difficulties of growing up.
Days of the Whale offers a vital portrait of the urban culture of a city in flux, and along some other recent films—such as Laura Mora’s Killing Jesus and Juan Sebastián Mesa’s Los Nadie—is putting Medellín in the map as an up-and-coming cinematic capital in Colombia, moving it beyond the media representation as the headquarters of the infamous Pablo Escobar.
With her assured and fresh debut feature, Catalina Arroyave joins a vital group of young Colombian and Latin American female filmmakers who are changing how the country and the region are represented on the big screen.