Community is a fundamental and key part of cinema, a medium that for more than a century was appreciated exclusively in “face-to-face” community, to use a pandemic term: more specifically, in the community of a room in which you were both alone and in public, in a dream and in an imitation of life, explored by the cinema itself from the idealizing Singin’ in the Rain and the recently mentioned film in its second version by Douglas Sirk to the brilliant and disturbing Mulholland Drive, not to mention its paleolithic roots, explored by Werner Herzog in Cave of Forgotten Dreams…
Now, notice that we mention five films that are wholly or mostly American. The influence of what we call and understand as Hollywood on world cinema is undeniable.
“Hollywood shapes culture and the development of social norms but does not reflect the diversity of our society. Equity and access issues have prevented minorities from telling their stories on Hollywood screens. These problems have limited the dispersion of cultural knowledge and a better acceptance of our diverse world“
—even more so now that we have cameras of increasing quality in the simplest mobile device— your Foundation, through its alliance with the IDB LAB is developing a series of programs directly related to that broader community that is Panama.
Cinema in Classrooms is one of the original dreams of your Foundation: that cinema be present in our public schools not only as a product but to be studied to be produced by its students, thus achieving extraordinary changes in the lives of its children. filmmakers.
Looking for similar experiences, our advisor Diana Sánchez discovered the Youth Cinema Project (YCP) or Youth Cinema Project of the Latino Film Institute in the US, which works with children at high social risk in the state of California.
For this reason, Edward James Olmos, founder of YCP as well as a renowned Latin American activist and actor — Stand and Deliver, Blade Runner —, visited us during your 9th Festival in 2019 to establish this collaboration. With the support of BID LAB and the US Embassy in Panama, at the beginning of 2020, six local filmmakers were trained by YCP to teach said program at the Nuestra Señora de la Merced Educational Center for Comprehensive Training in the famous El Chorrillo neighborhood, a plan that covid-19 stopped short.
But since – like the community of El Chorrillo – we are resilient, against the wind and covid we managed to dictate Cinema in Classrooms virtually to 5th grade students from La Merced throughout 2021 and this 2022 in person. This, parallel to frame-by-frame animation workshops, film appreciation and documentary filmmaking for students from other grades of our beloved Colegio La Merced.