Alicia had a “perfect life” and she lost it. Her six year-old son died in an accident. She is haunted by pain and guilt which has made her withdrawn from society, her marriage and even herself.

Alicia lives in Casco Antiguo, a rich colonial enclave surrounded by the poorest neighborhoods in Panama. One day she meets Chief, a streetsmart thirteen year-old teen who watches after cars and demands to be paid for it. Annoyed, Alicia keeps her distance. One night, Chief comes to Alicia’s apartment bleeding from a gunshot and begging to be let in. How far will you go to help a stranger?


Original title: PLAZA CATEDRAL

Director: Abner Benaim

Country: Panama, Mexico and Colombia

Year: 2021

Length: 94′

Language: Spanish / English

Subtitles: English

Cast: Ilse Salas, Fernando de Casta, Manolo Cardona

Director’s bio: Writer, director and producer. Abner Benaim is considered a pioneer in panamanian cinema. He has represented his country on three occasions with official entries for the Oscars. He studied International Affairs and Economics at Penn State University and film directing at Camera Obscura in Tel Aviv. In 2014 he founded Apertura Films, an independent production company in his native Panama. His first feature film Chance (2010), was the first panamanian film to premiere in theaters in 60 years. His documentary Invasion (2014), which premiered at IDFA, was the first Panamanian entry to the Academy Awards. His films have been screened at prestigious festivals such as SXSW, IDFA, HOTDOCS and True/False, as well as received multiple accolades and have been acclaimed internationally by the critics.

Benaim’s work deals with social topics and deeply personal moving stories narrated in an unconventional tone, sometimes irreverent and funny. His documentary Ruben Blades is Not My Name (2018) premiered in SXSW where it received the people’s choice award. It was screened in over 50 festivals around the world and movie theaters in Latin America, it was also available on HBO. The documentary was also selected to be Panama’s entry to the Oscars and Goya awards, and was nominated for best documentary at Premios Platino. Plaza Catedral (2021), his latest feature, obtained the award for Best Actress and Best Actor at Guadalajara International Film Festival, and is Panama’s official entry for the Oscars.



Friday, December 3 (Opening Gala): Atheneum Theater, City of Knowledge, 7:30 PM.

Special guests: Abner Benaim, Ilse Salas


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