‘Keyla’: a quintessential Caribbean film showcasing Providencia, Colombia

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A post by Peter Jordens.

The new Colombian movie Keyla premiered at the 57th International Film Festival Cartagena de Indias (FICCI, March 1-6, 2017), has been shown at the 5th Colombian Film Festival New York (March 24-26), recently screened at the 6th Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam (CIFFR, April 5-9), and will open commercially throughout Colombia on May 11.

The first feature-length film directed by Colombian cinematographer Viviana Gómez Echeverry, Keyla is also the first-ever fictional film shot in Providencia, an island that, together with San Andrés and Santa Catalina, lies midway between Costa Rica and Jamaica and forms part of Colombia. The movie’s cast consists almost exclusively of Providencia residents who were trained for the specific purpose of the film.

Keyla is a film with a quintessential Caribbean feel, richly displaying Providencia’s natural environment, culture, and linguistic and musical rhythms enveloped by the omnipresent Caribbean Sea, while dealing with the importance of family, the nature of gender relations and the role of legends and dreams, and touching upon tourism, the drug trade and the islands’ recent territorial dispute. The CIFFR 2017 Program calls Keyla “a declaration of love to a beautiful island that Gómez Echeverry captures in all its complexity.”

Title: Keyla

Genre: Drama, adventure

Director: Viviana Gómez Echeverry

Producer: Raquel Imedio García, Fundación Old Providence School

Country and year: Colombia, 2016

Duration: 1 hr 27 min

Languages spoken: Spanish and Providencia Creole

Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL42dHMrg6g and https://vimeo.com/198359660

Website: http://www.keyla-isla-providencia.com

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/keylaprovidencia

Synopsis: Keyla lives with her father on the island of Providencia, a former “land of pirates” in the Colombian Caribbean. On her 17th birthday she waits in vain for her father who went out to sea and has not returned. While searching for him, Keyla receives an unexpected visit: her father’s former wife arrives from Spain with her 13-year-old son Francisco, Keyla’s half-brother. Together with Francisco, Keyla discovers that their father kept a map of the pirate Henry Morgan which shows the location of a hidden treasure. Together they undertake a search and on this journey they get to know one another and accept each other as siblings. This is the story of a broken family that, through the loss of one of its members, comes together and works toward reconciliation.

Sources used for this post:

The film’s website and Facebook page (see above).

Three interviews with the Director: by Remezcla, March 24, 2016, http://remezcla.com/features/film/colombian-director-viviana-gomez-echeverry-tfi-latin-america-fund and by Directo Bogotá, February 27, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueodanB13gM and March 6, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t1R9MLh46s.

The articles “La primera película rodada en Providencia”, Sara Malagón Llano, El Espectador, June 3, 2015, http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/cultura/primera-pelicula-rodada-providencia-articulo-564434 and “Keyla navegó en la heroica”, Alexa Castellanos, El Isleño, March 2017, pp. 18-19, https://issuu.com/el_isleno/docs/el_isle__o_114.

CIFFR 2017 Program, http://www.curacaoiffr.com/Films/Keyla.

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