×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Panama Film Festival Unveils Centerpiece 2017 Primera Mirada Slate

Four films compete in IFF Panama’s work-in-progress sidebar

The third edition of the Panama Film Festival’s Primera Mirada pix-in-post sidebar has selected four films – from the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama and Puerto Rico- from a total of 48 films submitted from the Central America and the Caribbean.

Primera Mirada is particularly important for the region’s filmmakers who often work miracles to get their projects off the ground and often desperately require post-production completion finance. The number of films submitted to the competition has risen progressively – with 32 films in 2015, 46 in 2016 and 48 this year.

The sidebar attracts leading international sales agents to its screenings – projects will be screened in exclusive private sessions for sales agents, distributors, and film festival programmers – and has served as an important springboard for selected projects.

2015’s Primera Mirada winner, “I Promise You Anarchy,” by Guatemalan director Julio Hernandez Cordon, had its world premiere at Locarno a few months later, followed by screenings in Toronto, San Sebastian and Panama. This year, he is one of Primera Mirada’s three jury members and will also be screening his sixth feature, “Behind There’s Lightning,” that bowed at Rotterdam.

“It’s an excellent film,” said IFF Panama’s artistic director Diana Sanchez. “I’m so impressed with his development as a filmmaker.”

Primera Mirada’s other two jury members are Carlos A Gutiérrez, of New York non-profit media arts organization Cinema Tropical, and Virginie Devesa, co-founder of Paris-based independent sales company, Alpha Violet.

Sales agents attending Primera Mirada screenings include Gabor Greiner, head of acquisitions at Berlin-based sales agent Films Boutique, Pierre Menahem, co-founder of Paris-based sales company Still Moving, and Alfredo Calvino from Brazil’s Habanero Film Sales.

“There are other work-in-progress competitions in the region, including at Guatemala’s Icaro fest and Havana’s Cinema in Progress sidebar, but our initiative has really galvanized the interest of the region’s filmmakers,” said Sanchez.

“Primera Mirada is a key part of our strategy to reinforce the industry dimension of our fest,” added IFF Panama director Pituka Ortega. “We’ve been amazed by the response over the last three editions and we’re very, very proud of this year’s four selected films. What we have found is that even though there is evidence of a strong influence from world cinema in films from the region, once this is translated to the filmmakers’ own stories the result is a unique cinematic language that is rich, powerful and poetic.”

Trinidad and Tobago filmmaker Mariel Brown will screen project “Unfinished Sentences,” a highly personal picture about a daughter coming to terms with the death of her father.

Puerto Rican helmer Arí Maniel Cruz, who attended Panama in 2016 with “Before the Rooster Crows” will screen his new feature film, “¿Quién eres tú?” (Who Are You?), about a distinguished doctor whose wife is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The film portrays both the personal drama and political situation in Puerto Rico.

Dominican director Nelson Carlo dos Santos will compete with “Cocote” about an Evangelical Christian who attends the burial of his father in his hometown, where he has to participate in religious cults that clash with his own beliefs.

From Panama, Fernando Munoz will screen “Una Noche de Calypso” about a once famous calypso band that is getting together again. The project was also featured in the WIP sidebar in Havana, where it won the Aracne DC Post-Production Prize.

Said Sanchez: “In the main, the filmmakers have chosen to set their stories in fascinating and unusual, remote locations, with strong characters and a very distinctive color scheme that reflects the vibrancy of the region.”

More Film

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content