The Whaler Boy

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In an isolated village close to the Bering Strait lives a community of whale hunters. One of them, teenage boy Leshka, dreams of moving to America to find a cam girl he has seen on the Internet. That is until reality catches up with him.

The Whaler Boy takes us to the north-eastern edge of Russia, where the vast landscapes of Chukotka are separated from Alaska by less than 90 km of sea. Near the rugged coastline, a community of whale hunters live an uneventful life, punctuated by hunting, family gatherings, and… watching cam girls on the Internet. Most of the men see it as no more than a distraction, but Leshka, a boy who lives with his eccentric grandfather, dreams of meeting one of the American cam girls. But power outages are frequent, and the big cities of America hard to reach.

With its authentic portrayal of everyday joys and heartbreaks, this tender film brings us on an emotional journey alongside Leshka. The dreamy soundtrack and strong performances add relief to this engaging portrait of a Chukotki teenagehood. Russian film director Philipp Yuryev was inspired to write this story after a trip to the Far North of Russia, to shed light on the lives and culture of its inhabitants.


Philipp Yuryev (b. 1990) is a young filmmaker from Moscow, Russia. He studied at the Russian State University of Cinematography. His graduation film, The Song of the Mechanical Fish (2013), was selected in the short film competition program at Sundance. The Whaler Boy is his first feature film.


2013 The Song of the Mechanical Fish (Short film)

2010 The Modified Landscape (Short film)

2008 The Morning With Different Eyes (Short film)

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Sunday 24. january

Kl 14:30
TIFF Digital


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