Times Like These, Panama Film Festival 2017

Everything you need to know about the Panama International Film PanaFest Saturday, 11.4.17 – South Park Center Theatre, Downtown + view clips

Times Like These, Panama Film Festival 2017

By M.G. Poe
Hosted by the Panamanian International Film Festival (PIFFLA.com) in conjunction with NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA), Panafest, is the annual international celebration of Latino film, art, and culture hosted. In its third year, this all-day event, takes place on Saturday, November 4, at the South Park Center Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. Panafest began to create awareness of the filmmaking talents in the burgeoning Panamanian film industry. Today, Panafest has broadened in scope to include films from the gamut of Latin America as well as United States Latino talents. It has blossomed into a fully-fledged multi-cultural Latino festival event that includes visual arts and exhibits, industry panels, music, dance, and even culinary samples (and a complimentary open bar with full-day pass purchase) in addition to its expected catalogue of shorts and feature screenings, Q&A with filmmakers, and wide networking opportunities.



Panafest LA began as the creative brain-child of festival director, actor, and Panamanian-Los Angelino Carlos Carrasco. Mr. Carrasco, Hollywood veteran of screen and stage, has co-starred in such feature films as Parker, Double Take, Across the Line, One Man’s Hero, Speed, Blood In…Blood Out, The Burning Season and The Fisher King as well guest starring on various television series, and appearing on Broadway.

His Co-Director is Panamanian filmmaker, videographer, photographer, and editor Maia De Zan Hatch.

“I really, really like the programming that we have this year,” Carrasco says. “When I was a kid there was ZERO [film] industry in Panama….[becoming an actor], wasn’t anything you actually did, it was a hobby. So, I literally had to leave the country. I was fortunate enough, to get an acting scholarship here in the States. Fast forward, a hundred years, and there is now an emerging film industry in Panama that has really only come about in the last ten years, or so.”


Mr. Carrasco goes on to cite the International Film Festival of Panama, (IFF, Panama) now in its seventh year, as the incentive for the creation of Panafest. “There was a real need to create a venue that would open a dialogue between the filmmakers down there and the industry out here for mutual benefit. So, the idea was born to create a Panamanian festival version of the international festival there”



Panafest’s featured screenings include a vibrant variety of shorts and documentaries from countries such as Panama, Cuba, Spain, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Venezuela, Mexico and the U.S., and will span the genres from comedy to horror with subjects from feminism to immigration to technology and political resistance. Up and coming filmmakers include Adrian Manzano, (The Audition, La Internship), Juan Martinez Vera, (Spark), Glorimar Marrero (Todavía), Michael Flores (Mi Tesoro), and so many more. Each short will range between 2 to 20 minutes. Two additional full-length documentaries, La Matamoros, about the life of Panamanian union labor and gender equality activist, Marta Matamoros by Delfina Vidal, and The Last Colony, a film written by 4-time Emmy Award winning director Juan Agustín Márquez, profiling the long and complicated relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States.

Panels sessions include: Social Media for Filmmakers, Working with Unions, Crowdfunding and Shooting in Central America.


Carrasco stresses that part of the purpose of Panafest is also to widen the perspective of others regarding the quality of work and diversity to be found across the Latin American world. He speaks of the need to not only broaden the narrow vision people from outside Latino communities have of Latinos, but also the need to broaden that vision that Latinos have of themselves, because even within the Latino communities, internal prejudices and stereotypes exist.

When questioned about the preponderance of socio-political topics included in this year’s event he responds:

“The one thing I want to make clear, is that my agenda is not political. Having said that, I also am a great believer that art should not happen in a vacuum. I don’t believe in chamber art. I don’t see that as a function of art. I think art connects us to the world. To the real world. [Art] can comment on the world, and it can comment on it in a lot of ways. Aristotle said first you must entertain, and then you can educate. The top priorities are still: is it good? Is it well written? Is it well acted entertainment? Is it fun? Is it dynamic? These have to come first. You must first entertain, and then you can educate.”

With its preponderance of talent and subject matter, this year’s Panafest, is well prepared to do both.

Attending Panafest:

Date and Time:         Sat, November 4, 2017, 11:00 AM – 11:30 PM PDT

Location:                    South Park Center, 1139 S Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Ticket Prices:            $7 – $25 Available for purchase at panafest.eventbrite.com

(Buy one get one free offer: use code TribeLA Magazine and get two tickets for the price of one)

PanaFest-LA director Carlos Carrasco invites you to watch the trailer, “The Last Colony,” by 4x Emmy Award director Juan Agustín Márquez – A close look at Puerto Rico’s unique relationship with the U.S. + benefit screening 11.4.17

M.G. Poe
M.G. Poe

Writer M.G. Poe grew up in Miami, and now makes her home in the City of Angeles. With over 12 years-experience as a commercial and content copywriter for the radio, retail, and landscape architecture industries, she is not ashamed to admit that she can still crank out copy under deadline in two hours or less. She holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles, and a BA in Telecommunications-Management from Florida International University. Her non-fiction articles, political discourses, and short stories have been published in numerous publications.

Her loves include wine, travel, music, California culture, politics, and all things feline. She believes in Law of Attraction, anarchy Ursula Le Guin-style, and likes to ponder the peculiarities of the Quantum, especially when working on her current project, a novel about time travel, the multi-universe and the nature of existence. She is also an award-winning jewelry designer producing works under the name of Mac Originals.

Find M.G. Poe at her blog: Life Re-Viewed at 308CherryLane.wordpress.com, and follow her on Instagram @darkvikingqueen and on Twitter @arbitraryphoton

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