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Live from Panama City: 2013 Panama IFF

One of the perks of working in film journalism and being both a passionate and shrewd supporter of film festivals for a decade plus, is that sometimes you’ll receive an offer to cover a newly minted one. So after being invited as a jury member at SXSW this past March, a month later I’ve been invited to cover the 2nd edition the International Film Festival of Panama (April 11th to the 17th). Thanks to its foreign banking coin and commerce investments, world famous for its canal, the sprawling, still developing city is becoming a high-rise central. The resounding first impression one gets from the quick ride on the mostly luxury brand billboard route from the airport to the swanky fest headquarters of the Trump Hotel, is that Panama City is the Dubai of Central America.

2013 Panama IFF

While the key to any successful fest is the backdrop, the actual screenings, ease of transportation, movie theatre lieu, programming and star wattage are must have essentials. In the fest’s sophomore edition, Festival Director Pituka Ortega Heilbron and Artistic Director (TIFF’s Latin American/Spanish cinema programmer) Diana Sanchez lassoed Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves (which we gave a rave review for) as the opening night film, and a wave of titles we’ve been tracking or have seen in other major film fests such as Pablo Larrain’s No, Neighboring Sounds, Una Noche, After Lucia, Tabu, In the House, Middle of Nowhere, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Five Broken Cameras and the lists goes on to include a showing of 1921’s The Kid – the fest is holding mini Geraldine Chaplin tribute with the actress in attendance. Look for more daily coverage in the shape of.

2013 Panama IFF

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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