After its recent successful world premiere at SXSW—where it won a Special Recognition in the CherryPicks Female First Feature Award—and the Cartagena International Film Festival, Days of the Whale (Los días de la ballena) will have its New York premiere. The auspicious debut feature by writer-director Catalina Arroyave will participate in the 7th edition of the Colombian Film Festival NY, taking place March 28 – 31.
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.