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Cadejo Blanco film image

Sarita goes out dancing one night at the insistence of her free-spirited sister, Bea. After they argue she heads home alone, only to discover the next morning that Bea never returned. The police are indifferent, but Sarita suspects that Bea’s disappearance has something to do with Andrés, her sister’s dangerous ex. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarita finds a way to befriend him and infiltrate his gang. But in order to win their trust, she must first prove herself by setting up a rival gang boss for assassination.

American writer-director Justin Lerner spent years in Guatemala working with street kids and marginalized youths, learning about gang culture, and developing the script in collaboration with his first time cast. This authenticity underscores a movie that grows in authority and conviction the deeper its resourceful heroine digs herself into mortal danger. Cadejo Blanco is an intense, nail-biting thriller in the vein of Miss Bala, Sin Nombre and Maria Full of Grace, that digs deep into the underbelly of gang culture.

Now and then a US director immerses himself in Latin American culture so effectively that he delivers with all the gritty authenticity of a local filmmaker. Cary Joji Fukunaga did it with Sin Nombre, Joshua Marston with Maria Full of Grace. Now Justin Lerner has built on years of collaborative work with members of Guatemala’s ’clicas’, or youth gangs, to deliver a nail-biting, evocative and utterly persuasive crime drama that is very much a part of the country’s burgeoning film output.

Demetrios Matheou, Screen International

Pending the return of Brian De Palma and Michael Mann, the thriller seems to have found a worthy successor to both of them, even if it has appeared in the last place one might expect it: Guatemala.

David Pardillos, Cinemania


Justin Lerner


Karen Martínez, Rudy Rodriguez, Pamela Martínez, Brandon López, Juan Pablo Olyslager

Country of Origin





In Spanish with English subtitles

125 min

Book Tickets

Sunday May 28

8:00 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
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Thursday June 01

8:15 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
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Mauricio Escobar, Justin Lerner, Jack Patrick Hurley, Ryan Friedkin


Justin Lerner


Roman Kasseroller


César Díaz, Justin Lerner

Original Music

Jonatan Szer

Production Design

Fernando Gálvez Moscoso

Art Director

Myriam Ugarte