Primera Mirada, a privately funded works-in-progress showcase, formed to promote Central America and Caribbean cinema, screened five films out of a total submission of 46 works-in-progress during the Panama Film Festival.
Evaluated by an international jury during the International Film Festival of Panama 2016, two works in post-production won awards and three won kudos as well. “Noeli Overseas”/ “Noeli en los países” will screen in the Cannes Market this May.
Serving as international jury of Primera Mirada were Iván Giroud Gárate, director of the Havana International Film Festival, Yissel Ibarra, responsible for Strategic Projects of the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE), and Jaie Laplante, director the Miami International Film Festival. I can hazard a guess that these films will be screened in Jaie’s and Iván’s respective festivals when they are completed. All five have great strengths, which is, of course, why they were chosen out of 46 submitted works-in-progress.
The jury awarded the prize of US$ 10,000 to the Dominican film “Noeli Overseas”/ “Noeli en los países” by director Laura Amelia Guzmán, with the expectation that this award will help the film find its way in the international scene. Laura Amelia Guzmán is a producer and director, known for “Cochochi” (2007), “Jean Gentil” (2010) and “Sand Dollars” (2014). Producer Desiree Reyes comes out of Cuba’s EICTV and has produced Laura’s films “Sand Dollars” and “Jean Gentil” as well as numerous more recent films. In this documentary, Noelí becomes an actress and travels to Europe, where she reunites with her mother and starts feeling homesick.
The jury also awarded US $5,000 to the Panamanian debut film “Sultán” by director Enrique Castro, with the hope that this support will help its completion and help this story be seen by many around the world. December 20th 1999, a grandmother, her daughter-in-law and her grandson live a conflict and mourn. They blame each other for the death of a man – her son, her husband, his father – the night of the brutal U.S. military invasion of Panama ten years ago. It all gets worst when Sultan, the grandmother’s dog, kills her grandson’s puppy. Now only the deceased can reconcile them with their past.
This industry section is solely funded by the private equity, whose monetary contributions are directly handed to the winner.
Primera Mirada’s winning film, “Noelí en los países,” will also benefit from an agreement between IFF Panama and Marché du Film de Cannes; one of the few agreements between Cannes and Latin America (aside from their partnership with Ventana Sur). The film will screen in the Marché, an integral part of the Cannes Film Festival, widely regarded as one of the most prominent film festivals and film markets around the world. Travel and accommodations are included in the prize package. In addition, Boogie Man Media, a renowned design company that specializes in creative advertising campaigns, will design the film’s poster.
“Noeli Overseas”/ “Noelí en los países” will screen as part of the Panama film showcase along with the Audience Award winning “Salsipuedes”.
Primera Mirada was created in 2015, and its first winner was Guatemalan director Julio Hernández-Cordón and his film “I Promise You Anarchy”/ “Te prometo anarquía”. The film premiered in Locarno, continued to TIFF and a surprisingly long list of top festivals in the international film festival circuit, while also receiving critical acclaim. “I Promise You Anarchy” was finally projected at IFF Panama 2016, much to its audience’s delight. Latido represents international sales. The Film Collaborative holds U.S. rights.