Anyone who has lived or done business in Panama for a while has probably noticed our country continues to become more internationally minded. While Panama will always maintain its unique history and cultural heritage, it’s also gaining ground as an important country in the international sphere.
From developing trade deals with China to a growing number of multinational companies basing Latin American operations in Panama, there are plenty of ways our country is becoming more interconnected with the global world. The effects of this have also trickled into our city’s local culture. In our nation’s capital today, it isn’t impossible to find a dim sum restaurant across the street from a taco shop or to hear people on the streets conversing in a foreign tongue.
One of the events that best showcases becoming a part of a global community is Panama’s International Film Festival (IFF Panama). Now in its eighth year, the festival will take place from April 4 to 10 and will bring a greater diversity of films to Panama than ever before. We promise you won’t want to miss it!
What You Need to Know About IFF Panama
The International Film Festival of Panama exists to celebrate a Panamanian passion for the cinema as well as our country’s welcoming attitude toward other countries and ideas. Since 2012, this annual event has brought films from all over the world to the Panamanian public.
This year, IFF Panama will be hosted at four different venues throughout the city. These are the Teatro Balboa, Gladys Vidal Theater in El Hatillo, the Pacific Viewpoint in Cinta Costera II, and Cinépolis at Multiplaza. Each of these venues offers something special. The Pacific Viewpoint, for example, is an open-air cinema on the Cinta Costera. The films screened here appeal to the widest audience (children included) and viewings are free for the public. The iconic Teatro Balboa is one of the oldest theaters in Latin America and allows viewers to enjoy a bit of local history along with their movie.
Each of the films is profiled on the IFF Panama website. You can purchase tickets to individual movies online or at the corresponding theater. Film enthusiasts also have the option of opting into IFF Panama Passport Access Plus. The purchase of an IFF Panama Passport gets you 12 exclusive tickets that you can redeem for any movie during the course of the event. As long as you arrive at the theater 20 minutes before showtime, you’ll be able to redeem your ticket and be at the front of the line to choose your seat. If you’re hoping to take in much of what this festival has to offer, the IFF Panama Passport is the way to go.
While you can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing what films to enjoy, there are a few films and special guests that are likely to draw a crowd. Actress Yalitza Aparicio who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress as well as Design Producer Eugenio Caballero are set to present the award-winning Mexican film, Roma.
We also can’t wait to see Panamanian Anghelo Taylor’s documentary Calypso and the Spanish film Yuli by Icíar Bollaín, which is set in Cuba in the 1980s. Overall, the films this year are divided into four categories which include Panamanian, International, Ibero-American, and Central American and Caribbean. You can see all of the featured films here, though the IFF is still updating this list, so continue to check back.
Regardless of which films you choose to watch or which theatre you go to, this event is the perfect chance to take a break from reality for a few hours and travel to another time, place, or see a new perspective. Though it’s a relatively new tradition, Panama’s International Film Festival is one that continues to reflect the open-mindedness and interconnectedness of the Panamanian people.