Art Directing in the Vibrant Streets of Medellín, Colombia

Stepping off the plane in Medellín, Colombia, I was greeted by the warm and colorful embrace of a city that instantly reminded me of my Caribbean homeland, Jamaica. It was a new adventure, a chance to collaborate with a talented film crew in a place known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture.

Language proved to be a small barrier, as I was one of the few on the set who didn’t speak Spanish. Yet, the crew’s kindness and willingness to help me navigate the language divide made the experience even more enjoyable. Their shared passion for filmmaking transcended words.

Our project was the brainchild of a brilliant director, Catalina Alcaraz-Guzman. The film, “Shades of Black,” explores the emotional journeys of two women at different stages of their careers in the world of performing arts. One was a jaded veteran, while the other was beginning her artistic voyage.

My role as the production designer was to create environments that would support the storytelling. I designed a moody kitchen where most pivotal dialogues took place, a bedroom where the narrative unfolded, and two contemplative courtyards where both characters grappled with the unspoken.

The beauty of Medellín seeped into our frames, enriching the visual narrative. The vibrant colors, picturesque streets, and photogenic settings served as a wellspring of inspiration for our artistic vision.

“Shades of Black” is a story that delves into the emotional depths of its characters. One has become disillusioned, wrapped in her self-indulgence, and captivated by worldly pleasures. The other is on a quest to shed her innocence and find her place in a world where art and life are intertwined.

As the days passed, I immersed myself in the story, intricately crafting each scene to support the characters’ emotional arcs. It was a crash course in resourcefulness and creativity, an experience that demanded making things work even with limited resources.

Medellín became a character in the film, its charming streets and scenic landscapes adding depth to the story. The city’s energy and spirit resonated with our narrative, amplifying the emotions of our characters.

Working in Medellín was not just a professional endeavor but also a personal journey. It reminded me of the beauty of my Caribbean home, the warmth of its people, and the power of storytelling that transcends language.

“Shades of Black” was more than just a film project; it was an exploration of the human experience, a journey of self-discovery and transformation. And Medellín, with its vibrant colors and photogenic sites, played a crucial role in bringing that story to life.

Ultimately, it was not just a film, but a testament to the universal language of art, one that transcends borders, cultures, and languages.

Shades of Black is a window into the emotional state of two women. One has become cold-hearted, wrapped in herself and the pleasures of the world. The other struggles to shed her innocence and yearning to be found.


  • Catalina Alcaraz-Guzman – Director
  • Marcel Morschhauser – Director of Photography
  • Yolande Thame – Production Designer

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