IFF Panama approaches

Pituka Ortega Heilbron, director of the International Film Festival of Panama (IFF Panama), reflects on how the event has managed to grow in two years and attained a following that exceeds their expectations.

In its first year, IFF Panama screened 56 films in three sites, while now in 2013 it is preparing to show 69 movies in 129 projections at four venues: the National Theater, Anita Villalaz Theater, Cinepolis Multiplaza and the Quinto Centenario plaza, where five free outdoor showings are scheduled. From April 11 to 17, the event will extend a special welcome to such guests as Geraldine Chaplin, Maribel Verdú, Pablo Berger (director of the Spanish film 'Snow White'), Ben Lewin (director of 'The Sessions') and Rubén Blades, among others who are yet to be confirmed.

Ortega Heilbron highlighted how “70% of the films in the festival will feature a special guest. There are some big names, but we can not mention anyone else just yet.” The director added, “Last year we invited the likes of Fernando Trueba, Alex de la Iglesia and Arturo Ripstein, who today serve as our best 'ambassadors' (...) they were delighted by the festival.”

This year, she continued, two awards will be chosen by jury and there will be a documentary section. Many have already purchased their ticket packages without even knowing which films they include, and to her “that means they blindly believe in the project.”

As such, expectations are high. The ticket box record of 18,000 in 2012 is expected to be beat this year, thanks to the diverse schedule of screenings (for details visit www.iffpanama.org).

“A festival should be a reflection of the country, and therefore our stories are quite varied,” affirmed the director.

Source: www.laprensa.com.pa