Philipp Yuryev

Russia, Poland, Belgium, 2020 / 93 min / Russian & English OV with French or English subt. / Drama

A whale hunter from the Bering Strait is looking for a camgirl he met on the internet.

Leshka lives in an isolated village on the Bering Strait on the dividing line between Chukotka and Alaska, Russia and America. Like most men in his village, the teenager is a whale hunter who leads a very uneventful life out at the far edge of the world. With recent arrival of the internet in Leshka’s village, the predominantly male population now gathers in a shed every evening to connect to a constantly buffering erotic webcam chat site and watch gorgeous girls thousands of kilometers away dance on the screen. For most of the guys, it's just a bit of fun, but Leshka takes it seriously. He meets a beautiful girl online and falls in love with her. His first love transforms the young whaler beyond recognition: Leshka is now determined to find the camgirl in the real world. His obsession leads to conflict with his closest friend and a foolhardy mission across the raging waters of the Bering Sea towards Alaska in search of his newfound love.


Wed 10/03 19:30 Ciné Utopia RU OV with FR subt. Public
Thu 11/03 10:00 Public
Thu 11/03 19:00 Cinémathèque RU OV with EN subt. Scolaire
Fri 12/03 19:00 Ciné Utopia RU OV with FR subt. Public

“There’s an almost fable-like simplicity to this atmospheric coming of age story.” Wendy Ide, ScreenDaily, 5/11/2020

The Whaler Boy is a film about finding our place in the world, universal in its portrayal of the turbulence of adolescence with its first loves, jealousies and yearning for escape, but unique for the place in which it’s set, half-way between two continents, with America on the one side and Russia on the other, the past on one side and the future on the other. And in Leshka’s case, it’s not just a question of negotiating time-zones.” Vittoria Scarpa, Cineuropa, 05/09/2020

“In his first feature film as director, award-winning Russian cinematographer Philipp Yuryev crafts a delicately unusual and visually resplendent low budget action drama about an experience that is relatable for thousands of men (and women) all over the world. The drama then turns into something unexpected and alluring with an eclectic and atmospheric soundscape that resonates and often dissonates with the film’s quirky storyline. At the same time Kitoboy connects with the narrative of surviving communities on the verge of extinction in the Russian Far North, whose cultures and customs are evocatively brought into focus in this stark but richly satisfying feature.” Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia, 03/09/2020


  • Giornate degli Autori Director's Award, Venice Film Festival, 2020 (Italy)
  • Special Mention – Premio Fondazione Fai Persona Lavoro Ambiente Award, Venice Film Festival, 2020 (Italy)
  • Best Direction, Sochi Open Russian Film Festival, 2020 (Russia)
  • Best Actor – Vladimir Onokhov, Sochi Open Russian Film Festival, 2020 (Russia)
  • Diploma of the Guild of Russian Film Scholars and Film Critics, Sochi Open Russian Film Festival, 2020 (Russia)
  • Best Film, Pingyao International Film Festival, 2020 (China)
  • Grand Jury Prize, Les Arcs Film Festival, 2020 (France)
Cast & Credits
Vladimir Onokhov, Kristina Asmus, Vladimir Lyubimtsev, Nikolay Tatato, Arieh Worthalter, Maria Chuprinskaya
Philipp Yuryev
Mikhail Kursevich, Yakov Mironchev
David Vrancken
Aleksey Uchitel
Krzysztof A. Janczac
Rock Films
Man’s Film Productions, Orka Film
Loco Films

Philipp Yuryev was born in 1990 in Moscow. Without any prior film experience he was accepted to the Russian State University of Cinematography. His first student film, The Morning with Different Eyes (2008), won several prizes at international film festivals, including in São Paolo, Abu Dhabi, and Montreal, as well as at InterFilm Berlin. His thesis film, The Song of the Mechanical Fish (2013), was selected for the short film competition programme at Sundance and Clermont-Ferrand. The Whaler Boy (2020) is his first feature film.

  • 2020 – Kitoboy
  • 2013 – Pesnya mekhanicheskoy ryby (short)
  • 2010 – Vidoizmenennyy landshaft (short)
  • 2008 – Utro drugimi glazami (short)