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A young Colombian man receives a voice message from home while grappling with cultural differences at a London dinner party with his new English girlfriend.

This is the proof of concept and opening scene of a 90-minute feature film, which the team intends to shoot across Colombia and the UK in 2023.

One of 50 films selected from over 1,000 submissions for the BFI Future Film Festival Official Programme 2022.

  • Harry Richards
    Glass People, Year 13
  • Harry Richards
    Glass People, Year 13
  • Stan Stott-Hall
  • Jon Gutierrez
    Key Cast
  • Zulekha Chaka
    Key Cast
  • Holly Cattle
    Key Cast
  • Kieran Slade
    Key Cast
  • Oliver Asante
    Key Cast
  • Ed Piercy
    Key Cast
  • Marvin Vivas
    Executive Producer
  • David Sierra Márquez
    Executive Producer
  • Liam Wallace-Cook
  • Danny Rumbelow
  • Claire Wolf
    First Assistant Director
  • Phoebe Flatau
    Production Designer
  • Oscar McNab
    Director of Photography
  • Raf Swiderski
    Sound Designer
  • Ned Stewart
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 25, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    7,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • BFI Future Film Festival | BFI Southbank
    United Kingdom
    February 19, 2022
    Official Selection
  • London Premiere | Everyman Chelsea
    United Kingdom
    September 27, 2021
    London Premiere
  • Shoreditch Screening | The Lighthouse Bar & Club
    United Kingdom
    November 8, 2021
  • Kingston International Film Festival | Rose Theatre
    United Kingdom
    June 25, 2022
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Harry Richards

Writer and director of three short films: ‘Santi’ (2021), 'Glass People' (2019) and 'Year 13' (2016). Following Harry’s return from a year working in South America, Harry has written a 90-minute feature film set in Colombia and the UK, which he intends to make within the next two years. His current 10-minute short film, ‘Santi’, is a proof of concept for this feature project.

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Director Statement

‘Santi’ is a ten-minute proof of concept short film about a young Colombian man who receives a voice message from home while grappling with cultural differences at a London dinner party with his new English girlfriend. It is a scene taken from a feature film I have written around the same subject, loosely based on the experience of my Colombian friend Marvin who moved to the UK last March and inspired by my own time living in Bogotá.

Unable to speak fluent Spanish upon my arrival in Colombia, despite being able to read and write well, I struggled to adapt to the local culture. My work colleagues and house mates were very welcoming but the humour and local customs were difficult to understand. Colombian parties and visits to bars became exhausting due to the constant grammatical corrections, fast-paced conversations and pre-conceptions about British people held by many Colombians. Now, I am a fluent Spanish speaker with lots of Colombian friends and fond memories of my time in Bogotá but that initial six weeks taught me a great deal about my own identity and how to adapt to a new culture. Most importantly, I finally appreciated my family back home.

Upon my return to the UK, Marvin and I worked on a script to highlight the alienation of moving to a city, where you don’t speak the first language nor understand the local customs. We have worked hard to ensure that this is an accurate representation of the Colombian experience, by reaching out to the Colombian community living in London in areas such as Brixton and Elephant and Castle. We have also been supported by a small initiative called SentARTE based in Medellín, Colombia that focuses on increasing cultural diversity on screen.

The film uses long takes and a slow contemplative editing style to give each viewer time to reflect on their own experiences, as the limited dialogue encourages them to consider the motives for each character’s thoughts and actions without always being given prescriptive answers. It focuses on how Santi relates to the alien environment around him, so the dialogue and action that take place in the background are as equally important as Santi’s own dialogue and actions. The actors themselves were encouraged to treat the film like performing a play. As the film almost takes place in real time, each cast member had to know where and what their character was doing at any given moment. This allowed the sounds of the dinner party guests around Santi to be very geographically specific and mesh together to create a rich, naturalistic soundscape.

The deep yellow colours and dramatic low-key lighting gives the film a high contrast look with deep black points within each frame. This highlights the tension between Santi, his girlfriend Violet and the surrounding environment while the use of tight framing is intended to create a sense of the claustrophobia as Santi struggles to adapt.

This is a film that juxtaposes the nuances of the British and Colombian cultures and a meditation of a key moment in a young man’s life, as he learns about himself, his family and the world around him in equal measure.