Panama Film Fest Grants First Industry Award

Julio Hernandez Cordon in Panama - H 2015
Courtesy of IFFP

Julio Hernandez Cordon in Panama - H 2015

Guatemalan helmer Julio Hernandez Cordon’s 'Te prometo anarquia' is the first winner of IFFP's new sidebar for works in progress.

Guatemalan director Julio Hernandez Cordon’s Te prometo anarquía (‘I promise you anarchy’) has won the first edition of the Panama film festival’s new industry section First Look, which aims to promote Central American films in postproduction stages. The original $25,000 prize was split in order to deliver a special mention of $5,000 to Ariel Escalante’s Costa Rican debut, The Sound of Things.

A love story shot in Mexico City, Te prometo anarquia focuses on skater couple Miguel and Johnny, who sell their own blood to make a living and get in trouble when a delivery they make for the mob falls apart.

With films such as Gasoline, Dust and Marimbas from Hell, Hernandez Cordon joins a small yet growing group of Central American directors who lately have gained recognition in the international festival circuit. This incudes, among others, Costa Rica’s Paz Fabrega (Cold Water of the Sea) and Neto Villalobos (All About the Feathers), Dominican Republic’s Laura Amelia Guzman (Sand Dollars), Panama’s Abner Benaim (Invasion) and a new hub of Guatemalan helmers with names like Sergio Ramirez (Distance) and Jayro Bustamante, whose Ixcanul Volcano won the Alfred Bauer Prize in this year’s Berlinale.

Panama's First Look sidebar aims to promote the development of a solid film scene in the region, and reportedly received over 50 submissions that clearly express a burgeoning film production. Together with the final winners, three other works in progress had made the short list and competed for the prize: Marisol Gomez-Mouakad’s Angélica (Puerto Rico); Sergio Ramírez’s 1991 (Guatemala) and Enrique Perez Him’s Kenke (Panama).

“This award is fundamental for a region whose cinematography is constantly growing — not just on a quantitative level, but also quality-wise. Especially since Central American productions lack state support, and receive very little from the private enterprise,” said producer Elena Manrique (Ciudad Delirio), who sat on the First Look jury together with Peruvian actor-director Salvador del Solar (The Vanished Elephant) and María Lourdes Cortes, director of regional film fund Cinergia.

“I trust that the following editions will motivate directors to explore genres such as comedy, horror and thrillers,” added Manrique.

The International Panama Film Fest closes on Wednesday in Panama City.