This text begins with a question:
Is there a Panamenian cinema? Really? Are you serious?
The one who asked me the question was a man named Saul, fat and dapper, very friendly, a guy from Brighton Beach who attended on a warm Sunday night in March a Panamanian music concert in Parque de Santa Ana. There was singing the great veteran Arcadio Molinar. The public was composed of an eclectic mix of people. There were the veteran followers of the great Arcadio who came from all parts of the city, also a young audience from the neighborhood of Santa Ana and several tourists who enjoyed the delicious summer breeze and did not miss a beat of Don Arcadio and his musicians.
I return to the question with which I opened this text. I had met Saul days ago, while he was making drawings of the old houses of Santa Ana. He was visiting Panama for a few days and enjoyed his time in the Casco and the cultural effervescence of summer. We met for the second time at the presentation of Arcadio Molinar and then I asked him if he would stay until the start of the IFF (International Film Festival of Panama). I told him about the movies of excellent quality and also about the opportunity to participate in several world premieres of Panamanian films. And then he asked me with something of stupefied amazement: But is cinema really made in Panama? Does Panamanian cinema exist?
His suspicious attitude is more than understandable. Our country is much better known for its musicians (just think of Ruben Blades or Danilo Pérez, or why not, the very same Arcadio Molinar) and its boxers, like the immense Roberto Mano de Piedra Durán or the historic first world champion born in Latin America, called Al Brown and worldwide known as “Panama”.
But since 7 years ago in April things have changed. The IFF of Panama was initiated by the excellent IFF of Toronto, and the quality of its offer is really fantastic. This year the dates are from April 5 to 11, 2018.
For those of you who are in Panama, we advance something of what you can see. The IFF will show the winning film of the Palme d’Or in Cannes, the winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, as well as the film that won the Goya (Spanish) for the Best Latin American Movie and the winner of the Silver Bear in Berlin.
But today I want to concentrate on 4 Panamanian films that you will be able to see during the festival.
Ruben Blades is not my Name is a documentary by Abner Benaim about Ruben Blades, an icon of Latin American music, who inhabited the center of the salsa revolution of the 70s. His legendary songs tell stories full of social themes played with explosive rhythms. Blades has been awarded with 17 Grammys, and ran for the presidency of Panama. This documentary takes us on a journey through the 50-year career of Rubén Blades. A film about a living legend.
T’ach is a documentary inspired by the second book by the renowned Panamanian Chef, Charlie Collins. It is a trip through the Panamanian cuisine that will open a new door to the gastronomic tourism of Panama. The book on which the film is based has been nominated for three categories at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, known as the “Oscars of Gastronomy”.
Decembers is a drama that takes place ten years after the brief but terrible military invasion of the United States to Panama. Three survivors of the same family are guided towards a deep reconciliation through the person they lost that endless and painful night.
Al Brown: when the fist opens tells the story of a challenge. The story of an incomparable boxing champion who descended into the infernos of misery in his last days.
One night of Calypso follows the members of Grupo Amistad, one of the last bands of Panamanian calypso in activity. The six meet for a final concert where the audience will be fascinated. Through the concert, the essays and interviews, they tell the story of Panamanian calypso, its origins and heritage. The documentary puts into effect the contribution of a musical genre that does not forget its political, social and historical weight.
You´ve being told. Keep in touch. This is a yearly event and in our Blog we will keep you informed. If you want to know more about the IFF 2018 enter http://iffpanama.org/en