Catalina Arroyave Restrepo Discusses Her Feature Film Days of the Whale – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2019 SXSW Film Festival is almost upon us and we can’t wait to have you here! Before you make your way down to Austin, TX, get to know films from our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series. Dive into our Q&A with director Catalina Arroyave Restrepo as she tells us about her film Days of the Whale, which will World Premiere in the Global section.

In your own words, what does this film mean to you?

Catalina Arroyave Restrepo: Days of the Whale was the way that I found to talk about different experiences that had a great impact on my life when I was growing up. From seeing a man put a gun to my father's head when I was eight; to living next to one of the most violent neighborhoods of Medellín; to falling in love with my best friends; having the feeling that I was immortal and could change and defy anything that came across. I needed it to make this film to get these growing years out of me, so I could move on.

What motivated you to tell this story?

CAR: I was born and raced in Medellín, a city that has struggled for years with a history of violence, and that is mostly a conservative town. My spirit crashed against different structures while becoming a woman in this context: my family, my private school and university, the mafia culture of the city, the control gangs have of the territory and the way you´re supposed to be a woman here. This film is the result of this permanent crashing against something. Also, of the nostalgic feeling I had for the people that helped me to grow up. Days of the whale talks about those days of being lost but feeling powerful.

What do you want the audience to take away?

CAR: I would like the audience to have questions about my city and the different frontiers that are a part of our everyday lives. I would especially love them to feel mirrored by the characters and remember their own love and disobedience stories when they watch the film.

What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?

CAR: Our film is connected to an indie spirit. We have made it among friends, it is crafted with wonderful independent music of Medellín and done with powerful visual artists that are starting a career as well. We feel that SXSW has this same spirit and celebrates openness and risks, as we do in Days of the whale.

Add Days of the whale to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2019 filmmakers!

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Days of the Whale - Photo by David Correa Franco

By Neha Aziz