A breakdown of all 16 films screening at the 11th Panama Int’l Film Festival:
“Aftersun,” (Charlotte Wells, U.K., U.S.)
Winner of the French Touch prize at Cannes’ Critics Week this year, “Aftersun” turns on Sophie who recalls her precious last holiday with her father when she was 11. Decades later, she reflects on their relationship and tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t. Produced by “Moonlight’s” Barry Jenkins along with Adele Romanski, Amy Jackson and Mark Ceryak.
“Argentina 1985,” (Santiago Mitre, Argentina, U.K., U.S.)
Winner of the Audience Award at the 2022 San Sebastian Film Festival and Argentina’s submission to the Oscars, drama is inspired by the true story of lawyers Julio Strassera, Luis Moreno Ocampo and their young legal team who dared to prosecute Argentina’s bloodiest military dictatorship and bring justice to the victims of the Military Junta. A critics’ favourite and box office phenomenon in Argentina.
“Bratan” (“Brother”), Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov, Tajikistan
A restored version of the lost 35mm debut feature of the late Khudojnazarov who won the best director’s Silver Lion at Venice in 1993 for his second feature, “Kosh Ba Kosh.” Restored by his friend and colleague Veit Helmer, the drama centers on brothers Farukh and Little Fatsy who set out across Tajikistan to find their father.
“Domingo y La Niebla,” (“Domingo and The Mist,” Ariel Escalante Meza, Costa Rica, Qatar)
Winner of IFF Panama’s 2019 Primera Mirada, it was also a contender at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard this year. Set in the mountains of Costa Rica where widower Domingo is regularly visited by his late wife’s ghost. He refuses to yield to those who are expropriating his property for a new highway.
“El Árbol Rojo,” (“The Red Tree,” Joan Gomez Endar, Colombia, Panama)
Gomez Endar’s debut feature turns on Eliécern who is left to care for his half-sister when his father dies. Anxious to shed his responsibility, he sets out to the capital in search of his half-sister’s mother who abandoned her when she was a baby. The journey turns into his own search for the home and family he has lost.
“El Caso Padilla,” (“The Padilla Affair,” Pavel Giroud, Spain, Cuba)
A documentary by the Spain-based award-winning Cuban filmmaker about the poet Heberto Padilla who in the Spring of 1971 is released from jail and appears at a meeting of the Cuban writers’ guild where he proceeds to declare himself a counterrevolutionary agent and accuses his attending colleagues, including his wife, of the same crime. The doc-feature’s extensive archive footage captures that historic meeting. Sold by FiGa Films.
“La Panthère des neiges,” (“The Velvet Queen,” Marie Amiguet, Vincent Munier, France)
Winner of the César Award for best documentary.Deep in the highlands of Tibet, wildlife photographer Vincent Munier guides writer Sylvain Tesson in his search for the snow leopard, introducing him to the art of observation, tracking and patience whilst conversing about the human being’s place in the world and revelling in its beauty.
“Greener Pastures,” (Matan Guggenheim & Assaf Abiri, Israel)
Cash-strapped 79-year-old widower Dov hates the nursing home he’s in and plots to get out of there and regain his house. When he sees many of his fellow residents smoking legal medical cannabis, he sees his path to freedom. World sales by Israeli Films.
“La Hija de Todas Las Rabias,” (“Daughter Of Rage,” Laura Baumeister, Nicaragua)
Selectedto compete at the New Directors sidebar of San Sebastian festival, Baumeister’s feature debut centers on Maria who is banished to a recycling factory where she is forced to work with other children after accidentally poisoning her mother’s puppies. Her loneliness turns into rage as she learns to cope with her mother’s abandonment. Int’l sales by BFF.
“Los Reyes del Mundo,” (“The Kings Of The World,” Laura Mora, Colombia, Norway, Luxembourg, Mexico, France)
Winner of the Golden Shell award at the 2022 San Sebastian Festival, a drama by Colombian-born Mora who made her mark with “Killing Jesus” in 2017. It follows five street kids from Medellin who set out to reclaim a parcel of land that one of them has inherited. Described as a “subversive tale about a savage and lovely clan that transits between reality and delirium.”
“Mi País Imaginario,” (“My Imaginary Country,” Patricio Guzmán, Chile, France
Awarded the Golden Eye at this year’s Cannes Festival, latest doc by Chile’s preeminent documentary filmmaker chronicles the October 2019 revolution when nearly two million people took to the streets of Santiago in protest. Among their demands: Better education, better health care and a new constitution to replace one set by Pinochet’s military regime.
“Nación de Titanes,” (Joaquín Horna Sosa, Panama)
Debut feature of Horna Sosa which follows six wrestlers during the golden age of wrestling in Panama which spans the sixties through the eighties. Drama delves into the origin of the sport as well as the wrestlers’ triumphs and defeats.
“Para su Tranquilidad Haga su Propio Museo” (“For Your Peace Of Mind Make Your Own Museum,” (Pilar Moreno, Ana Endara, Panama)
Documentary by Mansa Productora partners Morena and Endara about Senobia, a self-declared ghost who lives in a tiny town where years ago, she turned her house into the Museum of Antiquities of All Species. She has discovered how to avoid death, and now lives forever in the fantasy world she has created.
“Por Eso Vengo al Río” (“That’s Why I Come To The River”), Fernando Blanco, Dominican Republic)
A second-place winner at the 2019 IFF Panama’s Primera Mirada WIP section, the feature debut of Blanco is set in 1982 when Sintia flees to the Middle East in search of a better life. There she meets Bashir whom she marries and with whom she has a child. Forced to return to DR after 30 years because of a war, she struggles to reunite her family.
“Stars At Noon,” (Claire Denis, France, Panama)
Panama IFF opening night film. Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2022 Cannes Festival, a drama associate produced by Panama’s Hypatia Films and shot in Panama, follows a young American journalist stranded in present-day Nicaragua who falls for a mysterious Englishman. Sold by Wild Bunch Int’l.
“Tito, Margot y Yo,”(Delfina Vidal, Mercedes Arias, Panama)
Closing night film. Doc-feature pivots on the polemical marriage between Prima Ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn and Panamanian politician, Tito Arias. Fonteyn’s niece digs into their high-profile relationship that was colored by conspiracy and tragedy. A doc, a political drama and a homage to dance.