A truncated Panama International Film Festival (IFF Panama) ended December 4 on a high note, with Panamanian Joaquín Horna Sosa’s debut feature documentary “Nación de Titanes” snagging the Audience Award, a good indication of its box office potential.
One of four Panamanian feature films in competition, “Nación de Titanes” follows six wrestlers during the heyday of Panamanian wrestling from the 1960s to the 1980s. The documentary stars wrestlers Sandokan, Ricardo Díaz, El Greco, El Titán, Cronox II and Johnny González as he chronicles the highs and lows of their respective careers and delves into the origins of the sport.
The three-day festival received encouraging news from Culture Minister Giselle Gonzalez and Panama City Deputy Mayor Judy Meana, who both pledged their continued support for the festival.
Pituka Ortega Heilbron, chairman of the festival’s board and foundation, noted that the festival was operating at a fraction of its normal size and that the last three editions had been the most difficult. Unfortunately, the situation of IFF Panama is regional. Film festivals that have relied on public support have seen their budgets drastically cut as governments have diverted funds to bolster the economies of their countries, hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
The festival’s new director, Bernardo Ordás Guardia, who took over from Ortega Heilbron, is committed to making IFF Panama an epicenter of art and culture. “Our mission is to boost the Central American film industry,” he said, inviting festival staff and nearly 100 volunteers to take to the stage to recognize their invaluable contribution to the festival.
Other filmmakers present at the festival with their respective films include Laura Mora, director of “The Kings of the World”, winner of the Golden Shell of San Sebastián 2022 and the Colombian Oscar nomination; Pavel Giroud, director of the documentary “The Padilla Affair”; Santiago Miter and his Argentinian box office hit “Argentina 1985,” his country’s entry into the race for the Oscars; and Ariel Escalante from Costa Rica who presented his IFF Panama Primera winner Mirada “Domingo and the Mist” and the festival’s latest industry panel, “Film as a Punk Exercise”.
(LR) Executive Producer, Ariel Arauz, Director, Joaquín Horna Sosa, Eileen Ureña, Producer-wife of Horna Sosa Courtesy of IFF PANAMA
Industry panel “Is there an audience for Latin American cinema?” weighed the results of audience research drawn from three sources: IFF Panama, Copa Airlines’ IFF Panama channel and the free online platform, Cinema Sanitas.
Presented by Argentinian market consultant María Elena Provensal and featuring local producers María Isabel Burnes (“Panquiaco”) and Isabella Galvez (“Para su tranquilidad, haga su propio museo”) as panelists, the answer to the question was a yes resounding. The festival’s main sponsor, Copa Airlines, which has offered a dedicated channel of selected Latin American films on its flights since 2018, noted in its findings that airline audiences have a strong preference for drama, especially from Argentina. , Dominican Republic, Panama, Chile and Brazil. “A striking finding is that for all of the available information, there does not appear to be any relevant correlation between the decision to consume this content and the film’s international box office performance. This is good news given the meager marketing budgets of Latin American films,” the study concludes.
In turn, Cinema Sánitas and IFF Panama reported that audiences were eager to see original and authentic cinema with regional themes. Three of the four most-watched films over the past two years were Panamanian, including the docu “Panquiaco”, the Central American co-production “Dias de luz” and “Plaza Catedral” by Abner Benaim.
The IFF Panama took place from December 2 to 4.
Source : WORLD NEWS