Private Project

Joe and the Whale

A selfish and struggling Joe tries to break his run of bad judgement, guided by a whale that may or may not exist.

As Joe starts burning through friends and dodging everyday commitments, he takes stock of his life and realizes he needs to face the reality he’s been trying to avoid. The whale nods to the tradition of magical realism, as hints of the enchanted creature appear in otherwise mundane settings.

Told with grit within a 24-hour period, Joe and the Whale offers a glimpse of redemption as Joe reluctantly realizes both the necessity and loneliness of having to rely on himself.

  • Fernando Santacruz
  • Fernando Santacruz
  • Kelly Wilkinson
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    24 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 3, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Fernando Santacruz

Writer and director Fernando Santacruz is a Colombian-born filmmaker, skateboarder and artist.

Joe and the Whale is his first short film.

Fernando lives and works in San Francisco.

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Director Statement

The kernel of Joe and the Whale started when my friend got a huge whale tattoo inked across his chest.

It seemed both stupid and bold.

A character was born in my imagination.

Someone who was the epitome of early adulthood in San Francisco’s Mission District. That time when you don’t yet realize all the consequences of what your stupid, brash, impulsive decisions will be.

Joe is at the at the beginning of that arc of adulthood. He is living day to day, gig to gig, beer to beer. He’s sort of a jerk but has just enough charm to get by.

Until he doesn’t.

I was that person. I still carry that version of myself – as we all do, buried under the layers that have since accumulated with more experience navigating relationships, friendships, chances won and lost.

I believe it’s a slow process to travel that arc and come to understand the consequences of decisions – or lack of decisions – that we make along the way. There is no neat and tidy realization for Joe because I don’t believe life works like that. Instead, we have smaller, modest realizations that add up to nuanced changes in the way we move through our lives.

Joe and the Whale tells that kind of story. A story with a glimpse of redemption. A story that was born from my friend’s tattoo. A story that includes the mundane as well as the magical.

Because that’s reality for me.

I’m proud to show that with this film.