Special Guests

Thursday, March 1, 2018


Special Guests from the Film Industry

Anna Serner

CEO, Swedish Film Institute.

Laura Michalchyshyn

Executive producer and Co-Founder Sundance Productions.

Paz Alicia Garciadiego

From Mexico, one of the most relevant scriptwriter in contemporary filmmaking.



From our International Showcase

Iraq, Norway

Zaradasht Ahmed (Kurdish/Norwegian), Director & photographer
He was born and raised in Northern Iraq. His previous work includes the award-winning Road to Diyarbakir and Fata Morgana. His latest documentary Nowhere to Hide has won several prestigious international prizes including Best Feature Length Documentary at IDFA (2016), Best Documentary at the One World Human Rights Festival (2017), the Audience Award at Thessaloniki Film Festival (2017), the Nestor Almendros Prize for courage in filmmaking at the Human Rights Watch FF (New York 2017), the Citizen Journalists prize from Traverse City FF (2017), and the Norwegian AMANDA for Best Documentary (2017). Zaradasht has many years of experience working with documentary filmmaking in the Middle East, North-Africa, and Asian regions, as well as experience training locals in documentation.
USA, Italy

Giada Colagrande (Italia), Directora, escritora y actriz
She will participate in IFF Panama 2018 with her feature film Father (2016),that she wrote, directed and in which she also acted. All of her films had participated in the Venice International Film Festival and participated in several international film festivals. She was the winner of the Prix de l'Avenir Award of Paris Cinema with Open My Heart (2002). Her filmography includes Before It Had a Name (2005), distributed as Black Widow (2005); A Woman (2010); The Woman Dress (2012); Bob Wilson's Life and Death of Marina Abramovic (2012); The Abramovic Method (2013).


From our Iberoamerican Showcase

Daniela Vega (Chilean), Actress
Chilean actress and lyrical singer. She was born in San Miguel, Santiago, Chile. One her first plays was The Butterfly Woman, where she starred. In 2014 she made her filming debut in The Guest (2014). She also played the leading role in the Chilean film A Fantastic Woman (2017), which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. 
Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza
Colombia, Germany, Norway, Argentina, Cuba

Manuel Francisco Viveros (Colombia), Actor
Actor and theater director. One of the best-known Afro-Colombian actors in the region. As an actor he is known for his role in Pablo Escobar: El Patrón del Mal  (2012), Dirty Hands (2014), Candelaria (2017) and Antofagasta, New York (2017).
Juan Sebastián Jácome
Ecuador, Uruguay

Juan Sebastián Jácome (Ecuador), Director
His films include Loading Truck (2007) and Route of the Moon (2012), which premiered at IFF Panama 2012, and won Best Feature at the Oaxaca Film Festival.

Irina Caballero (Panama), Producer
Producer of shorts and feature films. Her productions include Route of the Moon (2012), Holiday (2014), and Ashes (2018).

Gustavo Rondón Córdova (Venezuela), Director
Creator of shorts and feature films, Róndon Córdova lives in Venezuela and has made film projects showing the reality of his country. His short film Nostalgia was part of the official Berlinale selection. His debut opera Family (2017), premiered at the Semaine de la Critique de Cannes and has been accepted in more than 35 international festivals. It also won best film at the Festivals of Biarritz, Santiago, Lima and Skopje, Macedonia.

Everardo González (Mexico), Director
One of the leading voices of the Latin American documentary, Everardo González received the Amnesty International Award at the Berlin Festival, and the FIPRESCI Award (International Federation of Film Critics) for Devil´s Freedom, which presents stories of the violence victims in Mexico. He has participated in more than 30 International Film Festivals and Exhibitions.

Antonio Méndez Esparza (Spain), Director
Specialist in family dramas, this Spaniard based in Florida was the winner of the Semaine de la Critique de Cannes award, and winner of festivals such as Jerusalem, Montreal and Mumbai, with his film Here and there (2012) ; and the FIPRESCI Award (International Federation of Film Critics) of the San Sebastian Film Festival with Life and Nothing More (2017).

Pedro Hernández Santos (Spain), Producer
Hernández productions have won awards at several international festivals, and they include Here and There (2012), Magical Girl (2014), Talk (2015), The Furies (2016), Life and nothing more.

Michel Franco (Mexico), Director
He won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes with After Lucia (2012) and with April's Daughter (2017). He also received the Golden Orange Award at the Turkish Antalya International Film Festival for best director.
Argentina, Colombia

Laura Mora Ortega (Colombia), Director
Her filmography includes Pablo Escobar: El Patrón del Mal (2012). Her debut feature Killing Jesus, an autobiographical film that tells the story of a young woman who sees a hit man kill her father, was the winner at The International Cairo Festival and the Roger Ebert of the Chicago International Film Festival of emerging directors.

Natasha Jaramillo (Colombia), Actress
First time actress, Jaramillo is the main character in Killing Jesus (2017).

Gustavo Salmerón (Spain), Director
Actor and director. His filmography includes the short Desaliñada, winner of the Best Short Film Award at both,  Los Angeles Film Festival and the Goya Awards (Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences); and with his first documentary, Many Children, a Monkey and a Castle  was winner of the Goya Award for the best documentary 2018.

Eduardo Noriega (Spain), Actor
Actor known for his roles in Alejandro Amenábar's films, Thesis (1996) and Open your eyes (1997). He was also in Wolf (2004), Vantage Point (2008), The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger (2013), the German French production Beauty and the Beast  (2014), Our Lovers (2016), and Perfect Strangers (2017).
España, Reino Unido

Geraldine Chaplin (USA), Actress
Actress of wide trajectory. Her first film was directed by his father Charlie Chaplin in 1952. She was the muse of director Carlos Saura in eight of his films and has been directed by master directors such as John Huston, Robert Altman, Claude Lelouch, Richard Attenborough, Martin Scorsese , Franco Zeffirelli, Pedro Almodóvar and others. She has won several awards of film academies and international festivals.
Lucrecia Martel

Benjamin Domenech (Argentina), Producer
Creator of REI productions of Argentina. He has produced films such as Carmina (2013), Sand Dollars (2014), History of Fear (2014), Hunting Season (2017), The Theater of Disappearance (2017) and Zama (2017).

Andrew Hevia (USA), Producer
He has produced for some of the most exciting directors working today, including Phil Lord, Hannah Fidell and Amy Seimetz. He co-produced the three time Academy Award winning film Moonlight for director Barry Jenkins, and with Irina Caballero, Ashes. He is also a co-founder of Borscht Corp, the non-profit film collective behind the Borscht Film Festival. 

Vania Catani (Brazil), Production company
She founded the production company Bananeira Films, which has produced different films and winners of several international film festivals.
Among these are Os Nomes do Rosa, which was nominated for the Emmys in 1998 in the best documentary category and O Palhaço, directed by Selton Mello and nominated for the Oscars in the best foreign language film category. Among her filmography is La Playa (2012), co-producer of Billi Pig (2011), producer of No Lugar Errado (2011), executive producer of O Palhaço (2011), executive producer of País do Desejo (2011) and O Last Romance of Balzac (2010).

Bruna Linzmeyer (Brazil), Actress
She has acted since 2013 in Brazilian film and television productions. Among her filmography is Rio, Eu te amo (2013); Seewatchlook (2014); Or Amulet (2015); Frente Friaque a Chuva Traz (2016); O Banquet (2017); O Filme da Minha Vida (2017), Bajo Nessa (2017). She has been nominated for different festival awards and has won best new actress of the Brazilian Qualidade Award and best actress of the Trofeu Vivier SC in Brazil.

Special Presentations

Pierre Filmon (France), Director, producer, screenwriter
Writer, director and producer, Pierre filmed his trip to China in the Trans-Siberian with a 16mm camera; these images would give birth to his first short film Bleus de Chine (1996). His filmography includes The Nuptials (1999), First came the Silence (2003), and Close Encounters with Vilmos Zsigmond (2016). 

Susan Roether Zsigmond (USA), Poet, scriptwriter, widow of Vilmos Zsigmond
Entre uno de los trabajos más interesantes está su participación en la película Encuentros Cercanos con Vilmos Zsigmond (2016) de Pierre Filmon, donde interpretó el papel de ella misma.

Alberto Serra (Panamá), Director and producer of film and television
He is the founder of Windmill Productions. His filmography includes La Isla del Diablo (2008), Sin Voz (2017) and La Fuerza del Balón (2017) with which he won nine nominations at the Italian Sports Film Festival. He has participated in the Festival of San Sebastian and Singapore.

Carlos Aguilar Navarro (Panama), Director
Studied economics at the University of Panama, and film at the International Film and Television School, Cuba. His filmography includes Tiempo Perdido (2009), Buscando al General (2011), and Panama Al Brown (2017).

Stories from Central America and the Caribean


Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias (Dominican Republic), Director
Participates in IFF Panama with Cocote, winning film of Primera Mirada 2016, with which he won the Special Jury Prize in Estoril, Lisbon; awarded in the Signs of Life section at the Locarno International Film Festival. His filmography includes Santa Teresa y Otras Historias (2015), winner of the award for best Latin American film at the Mar del Plata Film Festival.

Enrique Castro (Panama), Director, screenwriter, editor
He will participate in IFF Panama 2018 with the world premiere of his most recent film, Decembers, the 2016 Primera Mirada finalist. Enrique Castro Ríos graduated from Brown University in the United States and obtained his master's degree in screenwriting from the University of Bergen in Norway. His filmography includes Familia (2007), and the short film Wata (2010), winner of the Best Short of the Hayah Short Film Festival.

Mariel Brown (Trinidad y Tobago), Director
Among her filmography she has award winning films such as the Caribbean Broadcasting Union award for Best Television Documentary West Indies at War; jury prize for Best Documentary Short Smallman, Caribbean Tales International Film Festival; Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary The Insatiable Season; Best Local Film Jury Prize Inward Hunger Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival. She has participated in several international festivals including Clermont-Ferrand, the Pan African Film Festival, and Havana International Film Festival. Her films have been selected at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut.

Alexandra Latishev (Costa Rica), Director, producer 
Her filmography includes Los volatiles (2014), winner of the Best Documentary prize at the Costa Rican Film Festival, and Medea (2017), her first fiction feature film, which was selected by BAFICI, San Sebastian.

Emilie Upczak (USA), Director, producer, screenwriter  
She was the creative director of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival for ten years, and has worked on a number of short documentaries and experimental work exploring bodies in movement, color, and the feminine look. Her filmography includes the short film Knockabout (2013), and Moving Parts (2017) his first feature film. Her shorts have participated in various international festivals.

Israel Cárdenas (Mexico), Director, producer, screenwriter
He codirects all his films with his wife Laura Amelia Guzmán. His filmography includes Cochochi (2007), Jean Gentil (2010), Carmita (2013), Sand Dollars (2014), and Sambá (2017). They have participated in several international festivals and have won several awards such as Discovery Award, (2007); the Human Rights Prize, (2008), and the SIGNIS (2011) of the International Independent Film Festival of Buenos Aires; the First Prize for Feature Film and Grand Prize of the Latin American Film Festival of Toulouse (2008); and the nomination of the best feature film at the Venice Film Festival.

Laura Amelia Guzmán  (Dominican Republic), Director, producer, screenwriter 
She co-directs her films with her husband Israel Cárdenas. Her filmography includes Cochochi (2007), Jean Gentil (2010), Carmita (2013), Sand Dollars (2014), and Sambá (2017). They have participated in several international festivals and have won several awards such as Discovery Award, (2007); the Human Rights Prize, (2008), and the SIGNIS (2011) of the International Independent Film Festival of Buenos Aires; the First Prize for Feature Film and Grand Prize of the Latin American Film Festival of Toulouse (2008); and the nomination of the best feature film at the Venice Film Festival.

Christian Escobar (Colombia/Panama), Director
He studied at Taller Cinco University in Bogotá. He began his career working for television as a camera assistant. T'ach (2017) is his first documentary feature film.

Fernando Muñoz (Argentina/Panama), Director, screenwriter
He began his career in direction, art, illustration and animation working for institutions such as the United Nations, and independent productions for television and advertising in Panama and Argentina. Una Noche de Calypso (2017) is his first long documentary.

Hilda Hidalgo (Costa Rica), Director
Graduated from the International Film and TV School of Havana. She has written and directed fiction shorts and documentaries in Costa Rica, Italy, France, Bhutan, Benin and the Netherlands. Her filmography includes La Pasión de Nuestra Señora (1998), winner of the San Francisco Latino Film Festival Award; Powder of Stars (2001), winner of the best documentary at the International Film Festival of Bogotá; Violent Station (2013), Del amor y otros demonios (2009), and Violeta al fin (2017).

Abner Benaim (Panama), Director, producer, screenwriter
Benaim is again at IFF Panama with his documentary I do not call myself Ruben Blades (2017), his most recent film, winner of the SXSW Audience Award. His films include Chance (2009), Empleados y Patrones (2010), Invasion (2014), winner of the Audience Award at IFF Panama 2014, Best Director Award at MIFF, Best Documentary at the FIQBAC International Festival of Barranquilla, Colombia, and the Audience Award at the Malaga Film Festival. He was one of the directors of Panama Canal Stories (2015), which was screened in the fourth edition of IFF Panama.