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IFF Panama First Look: Five Works in Progress

IFF Panama First Look: Five Works in Progress

In its mission to be a platform for the development of
projects in Central America and the Caribbean, First Look/ Primer Mirada of the Industry Section of IFF Panama
grants aid for the completion of feature films are in post-production to
increase their visibility in the international film market.

Alliance with Cannes

First Look has US$ 15,000.00 from private funds to support
the completion of productions. Thanks to the alliance between Panama IFF and Cannes,
the winning film will be screened at the Marché du Film de Cannes – one of the
most important film markets in the world. The winner will also receive an
accreditation to the Cannes Film Festival plus travel and accommodations.

The winner will also receive the official poster design by Boogieman Media . A creative team
that made the posters of acclaimed films as “The Clan” and “Wild Tales”. In
addition, the production teams of the five pre-selected projects will receive
advice on the graphic image of their respective films. This consultancy will be
conducted by Leandro Mark, the director of Memorial Map, and Max Saad .

In addition to economic aid to the winner, all selected
projects will be shown in private sessions for industry distributors,
representatives of other film festivals and sales agents. The directors and
producers of the projects will answer questions and receive suggestions from
members of the international film industry, in order to enrich their projects
in this final stage.

The international jury will be responsible for deciding the
winner of works-in-progress.  The jury,
composed of specialists from Latin American cinema who share IFF Panama’s mission
to support the growing film industry in the region include the director of the
Film Festival in Havana, Ivan Giroud the uncle of Pavel Giroud, who is
participating in IFF Panama with his film “The Companion”; Canadian Jaie
Laplante who is the director of the Miami Film Festival; and Yissel Ibarra of
the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE).

This year, First Look received 46 nominations for movies in
progress. The five films chosen for competition are:

”Hold Me Like Before”/ “Abrazame
como antes”, 70 min. (Costa Rica, 2016)

Director: Jurgen Ureña

Producer: Gustavo Sanchez Cubero

Veronica is a transgender prostitute on the streets of San
Jose. One night, a car of her client strikes an enigmatic teenager known as
Tato. Impulsively, Veronica decides to take the boy to her apartment for
shelter and food. The next day, misunderstanding of the motives behind the
actions of his hostess, Tato plans to escape. A relationship of identification,
solidarity and tension initially arise between Veronica and Tato but they are
affected soon by Veronica friends.

 
“Jeffrey,” 80 min. (Dominican Republic, 2016)

Director – Producer: Yanillys Pérez

Despite his difficult life, 12-year-old Jeffrey, a Dominican
windshield wiper, dreams of being a reggaeton singer. This dream helps him
escape the harsh reality of his adult life full of responsibility. He writes
songs with his older brother Jeyson, 18, about his life, his neighborhood and
society they perceive. Guided by Jeffrey, they deal with their daily lives, their
broken family while they dance reggaeton and dembow.

 
Play the Devil,”  92 min. (Trinidad
and Tobago, 2016)

 Director: Maria Govan

Producer: Abigail Hadeed

Set in the exquisite landscape of Trinidad at the time of
Carnival, Gregory, a black working class youth of 18 acts in a local theater where
he is discovered by businessman James Young, who is immediately attracted by
Gregory and seeks all means to approach him. Carnival arrives on Monday, young
men cover their bodies with blue paint and dressed as devils, they descend into
the valley, where howls and drums that are lost in the carnal dance are heard.
This is the scene of a fatal showdown that will change their lives forever.

“Play the Devil” was first presented as a pitch last year at
the inaugural Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival’s Industry Days.

“Noelí Overseas,” 65 min. (Dominican Republic,
2016)

Director: Laura Amelia Guzmán

In attendance: Actress Desiree Reyes

The dream of many Dominican women is to go to Europe, as in
the case of Noelí and her mother. Noelí is an actress and is hired to film a
movie in Venice, while her mother does domestic work in Spain. After filming,
Noelí visits her mother whom she has not seen for 10 years; nostalgia and
desire to return to the island are just below the surface of their meeting.

 Sultán, 95 min. (Panama, 2016)

Director: Enrique Castro Rios

Producer: María Neyla Santamaría

 Ten years after the brief but brutal 1989 U.S. military
invasion of Panama, three survivors, a boy, his mother and grandmother, share an uncomfortably
intimate reconciliation guided by the ghost of one person who lost the most on
that pitiless night.

Variety’s exclusive reportage in 2015 quoted Castro Rios explaining how the film touches on
race relations and segregation in Panama and within families. In the film, the
grandmother has married whiter, part of a mindset to “improve the race”; her
son marries a girl of West Indian descent, which the mother sees as a
“backward” step. When the son is killed during the U.S. invasion, racial and
other tensions drive the grandmother, daughter-in-law and her young son apart,
until a ghost from the past comes to try and reunite them.

The cast includes Nina Vincent from
Panama and Jerónimo Henao of Colombia, as well as Panamanian newcomers Delicia
Montañez and Alex Jiménez.

Sultán’s”
first financial support was announced at the closing night of the Panama Film
Festival in 2013, when it became the first feature to be supported by the
Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Fondo Cine Cinema Fund. Paid in
installments, the award was a very respectable $700,000.  The budget Castro Rios projects is
around $1.1 million.  

The film is a coproduction between Sultan el Film (Panama) and Milagros Producciones
(Colombia).  It also received
support from the Ibermedis Fund and of the Film Development Fund of Colombia
(FDC).

Written and directed by Enrique Castro Ríos and produced by María
Neyla Santamaría, “Sultán” is the first feature film produced with
the support of the Panama Film Commission and represents a new Panamanian
independent film industry.

Castro Rios’ previous credits include
the short “Wata,” awarded
best Central American short film at the Icarus Film Festival of Guatemala in 2010.

The co-production was filmed by cinematographer Diego Jiménez
(Colombia), and executive produced by Miriam Pons (Panama).

About the Foundation IFF Panama

Foundation International Film Festival of Panama (IFF Panama
Foundation) is a non – profit organization created to support the
implementation of the International Film Festival of Panama and promote
cultural and educational activities that are an integral part of the event organization
. The Festival is sponsored mainly by the Ministry of Trade and Industry
(MITI), Tourism Authority of Panama, MasterCard®, Copa Airlines, 507 Red Lager,
Mayor of Panama, K Magazine, TVN FIlms, among other generous sponsors .

 See
more here.

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