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"Come and learn a little more about José" said the reggaetonero when announcing the release date. PHOTOGRAPHY: The Boy from Medellín
"Come and learn a little more about José," said the reggaetonero when announcing the release date. Photo: The Boy from Medellín

'The Boy from Medellín': J Balvin's documentary to be released on Amazon

The documentary will focus on the lead up to his big concert in Medellín and on the idol's more hidden side as he struggles with anxiety and depression.

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Amazon will premiere on its streaming platform on May 7 the documentary The Boy from Medellín about the life and artistic career behind the powerful media mask that hides the nickname J Balvin.

Achieving the American dream? Yes, he has. Pay a high personal price for it? Yes, he has. And that's the unfolding of reality that the director found interesting to delve into.

Matthew Heineman was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar for Cartel Land in 2015; in 2017 he directed another documentary about Syrian refugees and the barbarities of war and, the following year, he embarked on a dramatic film about a female war correspondent.

Heineman wanted to give a personal touch to the story about J Balvin's incredible triumph, focusing on aspects such as his responsibilities. The director presented The Boy from Medellín at the last Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

The objective follows Balvin precisely during the lead-up to what he considers the most important concert of his career, when he sold out in Medellín and felt that with this show he was closing a circle of artistic dedication.

"But as the show approaches, the city explodes with growing political unrest forcing the musician to debate with himself the responsibility he has as an artist in front of his country and his legions of fans around the world," they added in the statement.

J Balvin is a Colombian reference on the international reggaeton scene with iconic albums such as Vibras (2018) or Oasis (2019) alongside Bad Bunny. His latest album, Colores (2020), won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Urban Music Album.

The dark side of success

Not feeling the pressure when the whole world is watching your actions is impossible. Fame and the social elevator pose a series of cruel lessons in the face of the global digital panopticon. We have seen in many documentaries about young stars how fame consumed them - like the Lil Peep or Amy Winehouse documentaries.

No wonder Heineman decided to tackle the inside of the idol rather than the glimpses of the outside, expressing appreciation for "his strength and openness in talking about his struggles with mental health."

"It was an honor to have Jose give us extremely intimate access to this important moment in his life, and the result is a universal story about a man trying to recognize his place in this world," the director added.

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