La Arcadia in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, is a home for teenage girls who can no longer rely on their families. Giggling, they take a seat in front of the camera, against a background of shelving containing their personal belongings. The camera glides over the shelves, which are decorated with brightly colored nameplates: Natalia, Veronica—but Alis’s compartment is empty.
One by one, the girls close their eyes to picture this imaginary classmate. While they reminisce, the third-person perspective of the fictional Alis allows for candid and sometimes shocking stories to emerge, which increasingly touch on their most intimate feelings.
For five years, filmmakers Clare Weiskopf and Nicolas van Hemelryck gave film workshops to the captivating residents of La Arcadia, whose powerful personalities make their poignant stories of abuse all the more compelling. Alis received major awards at film festivals worldwide, including Berlin, Guadalajara and Sheffield.