The Panama Film Festival (IFF Panama) is adjusting to the times, and offering a variety of new virtual initiatives. On top of its “pix-in-post competition” Primera Mirada and Su Mirada (geared toward women filmmakers from the region and judged by an all-women panel), the IFF Panama has launched the Panama Film Match (a new virtual coproduction forum) and a five-day online film festival.
IFF Panama was initially scheduled for March 26 to April 1, but was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis that’s postponed festivals across industries. Despite the circumstances, the festival will continue to support local artists by providing funding for their projects through new resources and competitions.
Over May 18-22, IFF Panama will be coordinating the Panama Film Match (PFM), “the first coproduction forum for Central America and the Caribbean. The 10 projects in development are from Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Panama, including four Panamanian projects,” reports Variety. The 10 projects will be judged by a three-person panel, consisting of Colombian producer Diana Bustamante, French producer and general delegate of the Montpellier Film Festival Thierry Lenouvel, and DocsMx film festival and Mexican producer Inti Cordera.
Something remarkable IFF Panama will also be offering through the Panama Film Match is “pitching sessions, online screenings, mentoring sessions and virtual meetings with international producers, distributors and programmers, and will culminate with the selection of the winner of the $ 10,000 coproduction award.” The PFM virtual forum will also include master classes with accompanying Q & As for industry professionals in Central America, and potentially the rest of Latin America. Two of those master classes will include “Pitching with Spanish Producer Elena Manrique” (Pan’s Labyrinth, Cell 211) and “Micro Budget Films with U.S. producer Andrew Hevia” (Moonlight). Imagine being taught by the best in the film industry!
“It’s important for us that this part of the Americas doesn’t feel as if it has been forgotten,” IFF Panama’s director, Pituka Ortega Heilbron tells Variety. “It needs to show its relevance and the necessity of its existence as crucial for the reconstruction of our nations. If we are to have a better future this cannot be done without cinema. It’s as simple as that.”
On top of the PFM, IFF Panama will also be launching a five-day online film festival that will feature 12-13 films, including the premiere of Panamanian feature Panquiaco, by Ana Elena Tejera, and round tables moderated by Diana Sanchez and IFF Panama’s director, Pituka Ortega Heilbron. Confirmed guests include Ricardo Darín, Daniela Vega, Yalitza Aparicio, Nico Celis, Jayro Bustamante, Eugenio Caballero and Maite Alberdi.
This virtual edition of IFF Panama runs May 18-22, 2020