Culture, entertainment, and dining in Panama

With cinema, cuisine, literature, and theater on the agenda across the country, there is something for everyone.

HAYAH International Short Film Festival

The only Latin American festival dedicated to the short film genre is celebrating its seventh event this year. From August 1st to 7th, Panama City's Old Town district will put on a high-caliber and international festival, slating showings of award-winning films and those that have participated in the top industry festivals in 2013, such as Clermont Ferrand, Cannes, Goya Awards, and the Oscars.

This year, HAYAH will select the best in five separate categories of short film: fiction, documentary, animation, new national directors, and under 3 minutes long.

International Book Fair of Panama

The literary event celebrates its ninth year from August 21st to 25th. Under the slogan "Discover a Sea of Knowledge", the Panama Book Fair joins with the Holy See and Spain to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Founding of the First Catholic Diocese on Mainland and the discovery of the South Sea by the Spaniard Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

For five days the Atlapa Convention Center will house workshops, lectures, and seminars on diverse topics in the fields of literature, culture, academia, cinema, copyrights, and advocacy of reading. Reknown writers from Spain will be arriving as special guests, bringing with them the Letters of Spain cycle and giving lectures at the Literary Fair at the University of Panama.

Panamanian Gastronomy

"Dining in the Digital Age" is the theme of this year's Panama Gastronomy, an event that brings together acclaimed chefs and pastry chefs from Miami, New York, Lima, Montreal, Madrid, and Venezuela.

From August 30th to September 1st, the fair will also incorporate a new event that promotes the production and consumption of artisanal beers, allowing visitors to taste more than 22 varieties of local and international beers with the foods they best complement.

Attendees will be able to go on wine tastings and pairings on the Wine Route and sit down at the Chef's Table, an initiative by Panamanian restaurants that offer sample menus prepared by international chefs.

In addition, cooking professionals and amateurs are invited to sign up for the Copa Panama Gastronomy, a culinary competition to be held as part of the fair to promote the Panamanian culinary culture around the world.

Aida, the musical by Elton John and Tim Rice

Hundreds of actors and 20 musicians are bringing the show Aida to the stage at the National Theater of Panama from July 15th to 20th. The joint production by Elton John and Tim Rice is directed by Aarón Zebede and under the musical direction of Dino Nugent.

Proceeds from ticket sales to Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida will benefit the charities Fundación Juventud Casa Esperanza and Jesús Luz de Oportunidades.

Thus far the musical has only been performed in two Latin American countries, Brazil and Mexico, and 130,000 euros were invested to bring it to Panama.