Starpower, Industry-Building and Regional Cinema: IFF Panama 2019

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For the eighth time in history, Panama opened up a space for Panamanian, Iberoamerican and international cinema at its International Film Festival (IFF) in the capital.[1] Artistic director Diana Sanchez was especially lauded during the 2019 edition, as she was recently awarded the title of Senior Director of Film at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been a programming advisor to IFF Panama since its inception in 2011. This connection to TIFF is no mere coincidence, as TIFF co-founder Henk van der Kolk retired to Panama with his family in 2010 after starting up the film festival in Canada in 1976. In 2011 after intense collaboration with local governments, his involvement was a catalyzing factor in the establishment of IFF Panama. After only eighth years, the festival has developed into a prestigious gathering for the region’s upcoming talent as well as more established film professionals in an industry-oriented event that is the only of its kind in the region. In the independent, non-state supported contexts of Central American and Caribbean cinemas, this short review regards IFF Panama as an industry-building platform that attracts international agents and representatives of the press to give impulse to the cultural and economic capital of regional filmmakers through a national showcase, a regional competition, a FIPRESCI critics award and the Primera Mirada work-in-progress fund.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFilm Criticism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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