The best of international cinema meets in Panama thanks to the point of convergence and platform created by Fundación IFF Panamá through the Panama International Film Festival (IFF Panamá).


IFF Panama exists thanks to the immense passion that the Panamanian public feels towards cinema. It is the audience of this country, always open to exchange with all the nations of the world, that motivated the birth of the festival in 2012 , since then the festival has grown because Panamanian audiences acknowledge and support it as an essential cultural nutrient. Today it is one of the most important festivals in the region, attracting the best films, filmmakers, actresses, actors, local and foreign, and, especially, an audience that, each year, attends and enjoys the call of IFF Panama.

In 10 years, IFF Panama has received more than 1000 international guests, tens of thousands of people have attended theaters to enjoy the films, and it has developed programs to bring the cinema as a transformative tool in different spaces.

This trajectory has projected Panama internationally, and promoted the cinema of the country, as well as the region. IFF Panama also seeks to show the world, the films from Central America and the Caribbean, a filmography in development, with a commitment to color and its own and genuine flavor that promises a new and fresh world offer.

After an exciting decade, breaking paradigms and redefining the identity of the country through cinema, IFF Panama Foundation celebrates its 10 years with a close and vibrant festival that will highlight 10 films and 10 guests, at the La Manzana cultural center, in the Santa Ana neighborhood, headquarters that will bring the audience and industry closer together, becoming the epicenter of cinema for Panama, Central America and the Caribbean.


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La Manzana

IFF Panama 2021 will have its main headquarters at a cultural center that will house the best of cinema in a space where audience and industry coexist. La Manzana is an emerging and innovative space that gives a new nuance to the Santa Ana neighborhood, adjacent to the Old Town of Panama, the historic center of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Plaza de Santa Ana

Panama will enjoy movies for the whole family with Open Air Cinema, now in the heart of the city. The projections will be in the mythical pedestrian of the Central Avenue, which connects Santa Ana with San Felipe, in front of one of the most traditional and iconic squares in the country.

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The Athenaeum at the City of Knowledge

The opening of IFF Panama 2021 will be in the old Clayton cinema, built by the United States Army in 1935. This auditorium, considered an example of Bellavista architecture and rehabilitated by the City of Knowledge Foundation, will be the meeting place to celebrate the tenth anniversary and the premiere in Panama of the film Plaza Catedral, by Abner Benaim. For the first time in IFF Panama’s history, a Panamanian film will be screened at the opening gala.

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Central Hotel 

Located in Plaza Catedral in Casco Antiguo, the hotel will be a space for workshops and conferences for the Central American and Caribbean industry that visit us every year. The hotel was built almost 150 years ago and was the first hotel in the country, becoming a meeting place for intrepid and iconic travelers. It is one of the historical buildings recognized by UNESCO for its architectural significance in the Old Town.

Initiatives with IDB Lab

The strategic alliance with the IDB Lab (BID Lab), the IDB Group’s innovation laboratory, with the project “Latin American Cinema of Panama, Central America and the Caribbean” strengthens the IFF Panama Foundation. This alliance aims to strengthen the cinema chain as a social and economic tool for Panama, Central America and the Caribbean, and will create a new business model for the region. In addition, the generation of new exhibition and market channels will be strengthened, as well as the creation of new audiences with the help of technology, alliances with innovative enterprises, companies, and key players.
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Our strategic alliance with BID Lab empowers the IFF Panama Foundation and creates a unique and enriching ecosystem for the tenth edition of IFF Panama, with three initiatives:
IFF Panamá Film Match

Co-production forum for filmmakers from Panama, Central America and the Caribbean. The participants of this forum will deepen from December 2nd to December 4th in tools to access markets, festivals, potential partners, investors and industry experts, consolidating Panama as a regional hub for Central American and Caribbean cinema, and stimulating the demand for services distribution-exhibition of cinema and new business models.

Program for Strengthening and Development of Technical Capacities Specialized in Cinema and Entrepreneurial and Business Skills

On December 3rd, the program will be launched with an extract that begins a program that seeks to increase access to training for creative small businesses and complementary services of cinema in Panama, Central America and the Caribbean in technical matters of production, distribution, and commercialization of cinema. This extract will serve as a sample of the program that seeks to accelerate business and develop entrepreneurial skills to better compete in the Latin American film industry.

Humanity Virtual Reality

Within the framework of the program of new technologies in the audiovisual industry, the piece “Mosquito: History of a Wound” by Panamanian filmmaker Ana Elena Tejera will be premiered at IFF Panama 2021. Virtual reality has the potential, as an audiovisual medium, to have stories and thematic communication of high social impact, and the production of Tejera, winner of Humanity Virtual Reality, will be presented on December 2nd after the 2021 IFF Panama press conference.


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The Panama International Film Festival, in its continuous desire to strengthen our growing audiovisual industry and be a platform for the development of projects in Central America and the Caribbean, announces for the seventh consecutive year its Primera Mirada industry section, dedicated to supporting projects in post-production stage.

The industry section of the Panama International Film Festival will deliver the cash prize, awarded by our partner in this project, the Inter-American Development Bank, to support post-production.

“Primera Mirada is a unique fund for filmmakers from Central America and the Caribbean, in their films they tell us about a territory, an identity, while pushing important factors in the economy and giving projection to their countries and regions. Thanks to the core support of the Inter-American Development Bank, from Panama we can be a platform for those films that are in the process of being finalized, ”said Pituka Ortega Heilbron, general director of IFF Panama.

In addition to the cash award, Primera Mirada has benefited producers and directors with invaluable expert advice from the jury and industry experts who have access to these screenings.