IFF Panama Announces New Awards For Women Filmmakers

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Pituka Ortega announced today the creation of the Su Mirada fund to support the films of Central American and Caribbean women. “There are no funds like this. We had to do it ourselves”. This fund seeks to further social themes. “Women’s perspectives on these issues must have a chance to be shown”, added Ortega Heilbron. The Su Mirada fund - $15,000 USD annually for the next five years - will be backed with the support of the Inter American Development Bank and private enterprises.

With the same enthusiasm, the festival’s director announced the “Festivalito” that will screen the six most watched movies of the festival. It will take place next weekend at Cinepolis Town Center. Ortega Heilbron also recognized the special work and passion of the dozens of volunteers who made this week of cinema possible: “[Volunteers] are not just the face of the festival, but also the face of the country.”

Pituka Ortega thanked the government, the private sector, and--especially--the panamanian people for their support the last eight years. “I want to express how proud we feel about the Panamanian public. How have they came to cinemas. How have they welcomed our guests. It is incredible how Panamanians connect with the films we bring to IFF.”

Essie Mastellari revealed that since its creation on 2012, the IFF has brought over $20 million USD to the Panamanian economy. She also announced that from April 16 to May 2, MICI will be accepting projects for the “Fondo Cine”, a $2.2 million USD fund for the production of films in four categories.

The Artistic Director of IFF Panama, Diana Sánchez, thanked the Locarno Academy for teaching marketing and distribution workshops to Panamanian filmmakers. “This has been our most successful year. We had some new initiatives, including the Locarno Industry Academy and the Fipresci Awards.”

This is the first year that the prestigious film critic awards honor Central American and  Caribbean films. The Panamanian critic, Daniel Domínguez announced that guatemalan Ana Isabel Bustamante’s La Asfixia, won this year’s award “for its use of the language of films and for its search of evidences”.

“This is one of the best festivals I have been a part of in my whole life,'' said Edward James Olmos. “I would like to say to all of you that having you here, supporting the festival is hugely important (...) The future of the world rests on us knowing each other. Cinema is the most profound way to achieve that.”

The actor emphasized the potential that movies have in connecting humanity with the hope of having a better future: “The future’s in our hands. Humanity has a responsibility to understand the future and to guide our children and ourselves. Cinema is hope”.

This week, the festival attendees met international experts, learned cinematic techniques and theories, and enjoyed the best stories of our shared humanity. As Pituka Ortega, indicated, “the best of us as a country and as a people, shines during this festival”

The IFF Panama 2019 will have its closing gala tonight at the red carpet of The Sentence in Teatro Balboa, and it will be presented by Edward James Olmos.