CONTACT is an attempt to explore the new way of telling stories not only with tightly edited images but also with contact sheets in order to give little more information to the audience. Issue #1 is on “Any given day” a documentary story of the daily life of young gangsters and their family members living in the Medellin that was photographed in 2010.
“Everything is easy in this town, love, sex, drugs, even killing, you know… we have a god who makes everything easy, that’s the god of Medellin.” Alberto, one of the gang members in Medellin said on the street in the slum area of the town. “I know the situation became quite tough, but we have been in this situation for decades. And there is no way to escape from this war.”
Young gangsters started fighting each other after the extradition of Diego Fernando Murillo, commonly known as Don Berna, who was a drug lord and a paramilitary boss. He controlled the town from prison even after his arrest by hiring hit men, and managing the ever lucrative drug business. But when Don Berna was extradited to the U.S. in May 2008, and Medellin lost its boss, the town spiraled into chaos. All small narco groups started fighting for control of the city, and ultimately, for control of the cocaine trade.
The situation of these slum areas is complicated since many gang groups exist like mosaic. The groups are not clearly separated. There is a group and another opposition group is just 2 streets away. All of these groups belong to 2 bosses after Don Berna’s extradition to the U.S. One is Sebastian, the other is Valenciano. Now Medellin is expecting either Sebastian or Valenciano to control the entire town. Until the end, the fighting will not stop. A former undercover DEA officer in Medellin said, “They won’t stop this until they find the one who takes complete control. They keep killing each other until they find their god. But it’s true, this is the way it is here. People cry when someone is killed but it’s also a part of normal life here. It’s not a special thing; life goes in the streets even if there are deaths.”
Medellin is once again at war with itself, in search of a ruthless ruler to reign over the city and all drug groups in their violently smooth and easy-going life. Colombia is facing a new era with a new president but Medellin is always a strategically important city in Colombia.