×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Panama’s Daniel Domínguez on Central America Cinema Growth, Trends

PANAMA CITY — Until now, IFF Panama has only had audience awards for completed films. But for its 8th edition, it is hosting a new Fipresci Prize for the 12-pic competition, Stories from Central America and the Caribbean.

The jury members are Joel del Río, from Cuba, José Teodoro, from Canada, and Daniel Domínguez, from Panama.

“The attribution of a Fipresci prize during IFF Panama is a clear mark of recognition of the maturity and importance of the festival,” explains Diana Sanchez, the festival’s artistic director. Variety spoke with Domínguez, a film critic and reporter, about the new award.

Why is this prize important for the region?

Central America and the Caribbean is probably Latin America’s most invisible film region, with the fewest number of films produced. During the long period of dictatorship and civil war ,there was virtually no film production and even under democratic regimes very little support. Our stories weren’t told. They remained invisible. Also for the people. How can the people identify with their countries if they don’t have stories to share? Our films were virtually never presented in leading international film festivals. But little by little films from this region have gained ground in terms of local audiences and the international festival circuit, and this prize is an important milestone.

What does it mean for IFF Panama?

It serves as kind of a certification. It confirms that we are growing well – that we’re growing organically. Filmmakers from throughout Latin America come here and the Fipresci prize is a little window – it’s like a tiny hole in the wall, linking us to the rest of the world, but I think a lot of light will shine through it!

What kind of stories are coming from this region?

Obviously, there are multiple voices and many disperse viewpoints but there are certain points in common. Cinema provides an opportunity to talk about things that have been hushed under the carpet. For example, for many years in the countries of this region we had military dictatorships, of the left and right. There are many questions that still need to be resolved, and things to recover. Cinema offers a space for dialogue. There are so many issues related to the vulnerable sectors in our societies, questions of social inequality and of indigenous peoples. In our countries the importance of protecting the environment is often forgotten. We take advantage of nature for economic reasons and overlook the fact that species and peoples are disappearing. These are common themes. For example, the jungle in El Salvador and Panama is the same – it’s a force that brings us together.

Has IFF Panama helped introduce audiences to new kinds of films?

Yes. That’s directly linked to the Fipresci prize. There was no tradition of film festivals in Panama, for example. People were only used to Hollywood movies. Here the audience has grown and this has enabled people to see other realities. This festival helps spectators opens their minds. I’ve supported the festival from the beginning and last year I was a member of the jury of Primera Mirada. I’m very proud to serve on the jury of the first Fipresci prize at the festival.

More Film

  • Dami Im and Bong Joon-Ho'Parasite' premiere,

    ‘Parasite’ Wins Sydney Film Festival

    “Parasite,” the South Korean black drama that previously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, was Sunday named as the winner of the Sydney Film Festival. After collecting a cash prize of A$60,000 ($41,200), at Sydney’s State Theatre, “Parasite” director said: “This Festival is really amazing, especially the audience…really special and extraordinary. This is the most [...]

  • China Film Group's Jiang Ping

    Shanghai: China Studio Chiefs Debate Winter Chills and U.S. Rivalry

    The Shanghai International Film Festival pulled off the impressive feat of assembling leading executives from seven of China’s top film studios. Their discussion focused on the problems that have recently beset the production sector and the industry’s relationship with Hollywood. “The film industry achieved great things in 2018, but it was also the year that [...]

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping claps while

    Propaganda Films to Dominate Chinese Theaters in Anniversary Year

    A presentation at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday shed light on the welter of propaganda films that will compete with Hollywood blockbusters for the attention of Chinese cinema goers in the second half of this year. This year is laden with political significance for China’s ruling Communist Party. It is 100 years since [...]

  • Leung Chiu-wai

    Tony Leung to Star in Shanghai Film Group's 'Fox Hunt' Police Action Film

    Hong Kong’s Tony Leung Chiu-wai and mainland China’s Duan Yihong will head the cast of the Shanghai Film Group’s upcoming “Fox Hunt.” The film is based on real live events and depicts the activities of Operation Fox Hunt, a worldwide anti-corruption initiative managed by China’s Ministry of Public Security. The operation seeks to find and [...]

  • Wings Over Everest

    Terence Chang's 'Wings Over Everest' Set to Swell China's Rescue Film Genre

    “Wings over Everest,” a new action adventure film from veteran producer Terence Chang and “Wolf Warrior 2” producer Lu Jianmin, is poised to join the burgeoning Chinese sub-genre of rescue movies.   The Chinese- and English-language film stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu (“Project Gutenberg”; “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”), Japanese actor Koji Yakusho (“Babel”; “Memoirs of a [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    China Film Marketing Firms Must Adapt To Internet Age, Says Huayi's Jerry Ye

    Huayi Brothers Pictures CEO and media group VP Jerry Ye made no mention Sunday of the abrupt cancellation of the premiere for his firm’s highly anticipated war epic “The Eight Hundred,” which was set to be the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival’s opening film the night before. Instead, he looked to the future at a panel [...]

  • The Meg

    Chinese Script Development Requires A Different Touch, Top Producers Say

    Leading film producers highlighted the challenges of developing good scripts in China and abroad at a panel during the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday. Wanda Media GM Jiang Wei (aka Wayne Jiang) recommended that producers remain aware of the real differences between the scriptwriting process for Chinese productions versus international and co-productions. The fundamental [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content