A voice that claims to belong to a hippopotamus. A voice that does not understand the perception of time. A voice that tells of a historical event as if in a trance. “Am I making that sound that comes out of my mouth? And what is a mouth anyway?” The only thing the animal knows for sure is that it is dead. The first and only hippopotamus ever killed in the Americas. The Colombian press called him Pepe. Between encounters and misunderstandings, epiphanies and sadness, we enter a world full of stories replete with even more stories. In a serious and playful way, both authentic and deceptive, images and sounds narrate the overwhelming orality of places full of beings who, like Pepe, died without ever knowing where they really were.
by Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
with Jhon Narváez, Sor María Ríos, Fareed Matjila, Harmony Ahalwa, Jorge Puntillón García, Shifafure Faustinus, Steven Alexander, Nicolás Marín Caly
Dominican Republic / Namibia / Germany / France 2024 Spanish, Afrikaans, Mbukushu, German 122’ Colour & Black/White World premiere


  • Jhon Narváez (Pepe)
  • Sor María Ríos (Betania)
  • Fareed Matjila (Pepe)
  • Harmony Ahalwa (Pepe)
  • Jorge Puntillón García (Candelario)
  • Shifafure Faustinus (Pepe)
  • Steven Alexander (Cocorico)
  • Nicolás Marín Caly (Ángel)


Director Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
Screenplay Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
Cinematography Camilo Soratti, Roman Lechapelier, Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
Editing Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
Music Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
Sound Design Nahuel Palenque, Nelson Carlos De Los Santos
Sound Nahuel Palenque
Production Design Daniel Rincón, Melania Freires
Costumes Laura Guerrero, Erik Paredes
Make-Up Mariana Correa, Nancy Rodriguez
Casting Laura Cano, Sara Vergara, Kulan Ganes, Karel Solei
Animation Erwin Jiménez, Manuel Barenboim
Producers Pablo Lozano, Tanya Valette, Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
Co-Producers Andrea Queralt, Mani Mortazavi, Christoph Friedel, Claudia Steffen, Joel Haikali, Sophie Haikali
Co-Production 4 A 4 Productions Paris
Pandora Film Köln
Joe’s Vision Windhuk

Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias

The Dominican director studied film in Buenos Aires and Edinburgh and has an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. His first short film SheSaid HeWalks HeSaid SheWalks won a BAFTA Scotland in 2009 while his documentary You Look Like a Carriage was part of the major Latin America art exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. His graduation film Santa Teresa & Other Stories won the Prix Georges De Beauregard at FIDMarseille; Cocote won the Signs of Life Award at Locarno. He developed Pepe while participating in the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin programme.


2009 SheSaid HeWalks HeSaid SheWalks; animation 2010 Should We Go Home?; short film 2011 La última golosina; short film 2013 Pareces una carreta de esas que no la paran ni los bueyes (You Look Like a Carriage that Not Even the Oxen Can Stop); documentary 2015 Santa Teresa & Otras Historias (Santa Teresa & Other Stories) 2017 Cocote 2024 Pepe

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024