IFF Panama Foundation, Panama’s Ministry of Culture and IDB Lab join forces in the creation of virtual activity CINEMA SĀNITĀS

Friday, September 4, 2020

The IFF Panama Foundation (FIP), organizer of the International Film Festival of Panama, in alliance with the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group, IDB Lab, and the Ministry of Culture, will be launching the first series of CINEMA SĀNITĀS from September 18-20. This pilot initiative, which will take place during  one weekend  of September, October, November and December, aims to support the reconstruction and emotional and mental rehabilitation of the citizens of our country and Central America.


The end of the confinement due to the coronavirus means finding the balance between the reactivation of the economy and health care. In this space, where reflection on the individual and community role will be crucial, is where the birth of CINEMA SĀNITĀS takes place.


The Minister of Culture, Carlos Aguilar Navarro, explained that initiatives such as CINEMA SĀNITĀS make us reflect and ponder on the importance of culture as a platform for the relief and preservation of our mental and spiritual health, but at the same time, it is an engine that drives the economic reactivation of our countries, through all those initiatives that from the creative economy facilitate growth opportunities in such thriving industries as cinema in Panama and the world.


In its first phase, CINEMA SĀNITĀS will produce and run virtual events where the audience will have access to a curated selection of films. These will be complemented with interactive activities such as question and answer sessions, panels and an essay contest, with which you are invited to explore the value of cinema as a tool for transformation, inspiration, awareness, empowerment, empathy and reconstruction. This program seeks to reach a large population of different ages and diverse life experiences in Panama and Central America. In addition, in the segment of the month of December, FIP and BID Lab seek to focus on a series for young people where technology and cinema come together to contribute to the social, educational and emotional development of this population


“The concept of cinema as a tool to restore and heal is not new. It has been used in psychotherapy and other methodologies for more than four decades. In the case of the activities that we will carry out during the last four months of the year, we  seek to strengthen our effort with the participation of experts in the topics addressed in our selection of films, in addition to developing strategic alliances with local and international organizations that work and explore this initiative from different approaches that ultimately seek the same objectives. The intention of FIP is to reach a larger scale in terms of impact, since from its inception it has understood the transformative power of cinema and all its derivatives in the social, emotional and economic development of populations and their countries ”, commented the executive director from the IFF Panama Foundation and its festival, Pituka Ortega Heilbron.


“CINEMA SĀNITĀS is an example of the series of innovative technology pilots that BID Lab and FIP will develop together, where one of the objectives is to facilitate access to cinema as a complementary tool for the education of children and adolescents. In the current context, this effort, in which the contents are Latin American, it is critical for strengthening the socio-emotional skills of the youngest and creating a regional identity in which citizens can see themselves reflected on the big screen ”, he explained Verónica Zavala, IDB Representative in Panama and Manager of the Central American Countries Department, Haiti, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic.


During the 9th edition of the International Film Festival of Panama, which was held virtually, the public clamored for comedies within the programming. The benefits of laughter on physical and emotional health are widely known and that is why the first cycle of CINEMA SĀNITĀS will focus on outright comedy and a cinema of humanity that also contains the subtle humor of everyday life, mixed with the vicissitudes of aging.


The films will be Spy Time, one of the most popular titles in previous editions of IFF Panama, with the virtual participation of one of the most beloved festival guests, Javier Ruíz Caldera; and the documentary Agent Mole by the young Chilean director and producer, Maite Alberdi. Agent Topo will have its premiere for the Panamanian population and was part of the official selection of the ninth on site edition of the International Film Festival of Panama, which was not held due to the health crisis. This will be the first time that the Panamanian public will be able to enjoy this beautiful piece.


Both films will be screened for free. Spy Time will be available to the entire Central American region, while Agent Topo will be exclusive to the national territory. Both conversations and other activities will be available without geo-blocking.   Directors Javier Ruiz Caldera and Maite Alberdi will participate in an extended 45 to 60 minute Q&A, each,  in which they will share the processes and motivations of their work as filmmakers.


Spy Time

A humorous story, masterfully directed, that tells the story of Anacleto, who in the last stage of his career as a member of a secret organization has to face his true identity with his son Alfredo. Dir. Javier Ruiz Caldera


Agent Mole

Moving and beautiful documentary about a man in his 80s who is hired by a private detective to spy on a nursing home. Directed by Maite Alberdi.


The dates of the CINEMA SĀNITĀS activities will take place during September 18-20, October 23-25, November 13-15 and December 11-13 of the current year. The virtual platform will be EVENTIVE.



In the coming days, the IFF Panama Foundation will share more relevant information, for which we suggest being attentive to their networks.


Una piedra angular del sistema de creencias de la Fundación IFF Panamá es que todos los seres vivientes tienen derecho al respeto, así como al trato justo y equitativo de los demás. FIP no tolera la violencia, el maltrato o el acoso (verbal, físico, sexual o de otro tipo) hacia el personal, los voluntarios, los delegados, los miembros de la audiencia o los asistentes a ninguno de nuestros festivales, conferencias o eventos. Nuestro personal y voluntarios están comprometidos a garantizar la mejor experiencia posible para todos nuestros asistentes. Si la seguridad de nuestros huéspedes o equipo está en duda, tomaremos medidas inmediatas para garantizar su seguridad y bienestar.