Narrative and documentary films to unearth the isthmus’ original stories


Friday, February 26, 2016

Salsipuedes, Drifting Away, El Cheque, The Route and Time to Love, A Backstage Tale are the five national releases that will be proudly presented at the fifth edition of the International Film Festival of Panama. Kenke will be screened as a special presentation. 

Comprising of three documentaries and three fiction films, this year’s Panamanian pictures portray the constant struggle of minorities, problematic life in the city, the search for one’s identity, and unresolved past events, exploring numerous socio-cultural issues living in the isthmus of Panama. Comedy will not be missed.

Salsipuedes, co-directed by Ricardo Aguilar N. and Manolito Rodríguez.

Salsipuedes tells the story of Andrés Pimienta, a young neighborhood boy from Panama. He is sent to the United States to remain as far away as possible from his troubled homeland and his father Boby, a boxing ex-champion now serving time in prison. Andrés returns to Panama ten years later to attend his grandfather’s burial, where he meets again with Boby-- a reunion that transforms Andres’ destiny. Determined to stay in Panama, he begins a new path to understand his own life and his difficult past. Co-directed by Ricardo Aguilar N. and Manolito Rodriguez, Salsipuedes questions the search for love and a better life through Andrés. Salsipuedes will be a World Premiere at IFF Panama.

Time to love, A Backstage Tale, directed by Guido Bilbao.

Time to love, A Backstage Tale is the true story of a group of young actors who courageously mount classic Panamanian play La Cucarachita Mandinga, without any previous experience on stage and under one special condition: down syndrome. Many thought it unlikely that they would manage to memorize lines, learn choreography or capture the attention of the public. This documentary, directed by Guido Bilbao, describes the artistic process as he shows the intimate world of these young aspiring actors, as well as their fears, hopes, and daily struggles of their adventurous lives. Time to love, A Backstage Tale will be a World Premiere at this year’s edition of IFF Panama

Drifting Away is a documentary film directed by Miguel I. González.

In 2006 the healthcare system in Panama mistakenly created and distributed over 200,000 jars of a common flu remedy, made of a substance named diethylene glycol; which is used in the automotive industry. This caused the mass poisoning of patients, mostly resulting in permanent illness or even death. This notorious case involved companies in China, Spain and Panama. Drifting Away, directed by Miguel I. González, portrays the life of Iris, Milagros, and Briseida, three women who were severely affected by the poison, both physically and emotionally. Their stories will teach us about the diethylene glycol case, these women’s inner conflicts, as well as patience, desperation, solitude, and the yearning to be healthy again. Drifting Away will be a World Premiere at this year’s edition of IFF Panama

The Route is Pituka Ortega-Heilbron’s new documentary.

Every morning from Monday to Saturday Severino González, a construction worker, wakes up at 3:30 A.M. to take the bus to work. For most Panamanians, buses are their only option to get to work and sustain a city that grows so recklessly. Yet these buses are like time bombs, its passengers well-aware of its danger but ignorant of its countdown. Every month people die or get hurt, and Severino knows this, but he has no other choice as he will show us through his everyday bus route and his life. Pituka Ortega-Heilbron’s The Route is the portrait of a nation that claims it is becoming a first world country but lacks the basic resources to live up to it. The Route will be a World Premiere at this year’s edition of IFF Panama

The Check is Arturo Montenegro’s first feature film.

The Check is a Panamanian comedy which will premiere at this year’s International Film Festival of Panama. In the middle of the chaos that haunts the Vinda household, a wild and vigilant vegetarian spirit with massive eyes carrying the name of Dominga (Nilka Denny) appears to break the mold and change their lives in unimaginable ways. In her stay with the Vindas, Dominga’s fuss and madness becomes the joy and fervor of the family, except with the household’s spoiled dog, Claudia, who’s the only one aware of Dominga’s secret. Everything seems to work fine until a check raises a debate about identity, happiness, trust and the great beyond. The Check is Arturo Montenegro’s first feature film.

Kenke, directed by Enrique Pérez Him.

A professional and successful young man, Josué (Eric De León) accepts the family challenge to help his cousin Kenny (Milko Delgado) get away from marijuana, unbeknownst to the rest of his family that he too shares this vice. Together in Enrique Pérez Him’s Kenke, Josué and Kenny face a society ruled by double standards and other addictions.


The six Panamanian films that will be screened in the fifth edition of IFF Panama are

  • Salsipuedes, dir. Ricardo Aguilar N. y Manolito Rodríguez, Panama, 94’, 2015
  • Time to Love, A Backstage Tale, dir. Guido Bilbao, Panama, 69’, 2016
  • The Route, dir. Pituka Ortega-Heilbron, Panama, 62’, 2016
  • Drifting Away, dir. Miguel I. González, Panama, 70’, 2015
  • The Check, dir. Arturo Montenegro, Panama, 100’, 2016
  • Kenke, dir. Enrique Pérez Him, Panama, 83’, 2016

The IFF Panama Foundation
The International Film Festival of Panama Foundation (IFF Panama Foundation) is a non-profit organization created to support the realization of IFF Panama and promote the cultural & educational activities that are an integral part of the event’s structure. The Festival is sponsored primarily by: the Ministerio de Comercio e Industrias (MICI), Autoridad de Turismo de Panamá, MasterCard®, Copa Airlines, 507 Red Lager, Revista K and many other generous sponsors.