This week kicks off one of my favorite events in Panama City: The 5th Annual International Film Festival! The festival opens on Thursday, April 7 with a red carpet screening of the Cuban produced movie Viva at Teatro Balboa and closes with on the 13th with the movie La Delgada Linea Amarilla.


Movie theaters in Panama rarely show anything but the big American box office hits so it’s the one week out the year we get to view the best films produced by our neighboring countries and the rest of the world! Throughout the week movies will be shown at Teatro Balboa, Teatro Anita Villalaz, Anfiteatro de la Presidencia, Cinepolis Multiplaza, and FREE outdoor screenings on Cinta Costera (view complete schedule here).

I’m really proud of Panama this year because they actually have five movies that are going to be shown during the festival. It’s exciting to see more and more local talent being showcased in the cinema and the movies this year look great!

Here are the 5 movies made in Panama that you must see and where / when to see them…

A La Deriva(Drifting Away)

This alarming documentary investigates the long-term effects of the Dietilenglycol poisoning, which afflicted numerous Panamanians when a flu remedy laced with the poisonous substance was distributed in 2006. Director Miguel González sensitively conveys the suffering and endurance of three afflicted women who want only to be healthy, and to be treated with dignity.


Sunday April 10 7:15 pm – Cinépolis Multiplaza Sala 6 (Copa Airlines) BUY TICKETS

Wednesday April 13 5:45 pm – Cinépolis Multiplaza Sala 7 BUY TICKETS

Salsipuedes (Get Out If You Can)

The feature directorial debut of Ricardo Aguilar Navarro and Manolito Rodríguez tells the story of a young man coming home to Panama for the first time since his childhood exile and becoming ensnared in his criminal father’s troubled legacy. Salsipuedes is a well-crafted drama seething with deadly underworld politics, police corruption and family secrets. 


Friday April 08 8:30 pm – Teatro Balboa (Sala Mastercard) BUY TICKETS

Sunday April 10 2:00 pm – Anfiteatro de la Presidencia BUY TICKETS

La Ruta (The Route)

This city symphony follows several ordinary Panamanians on their way to work, and in doing so emphasizes the enormous, sometimes fatal, problems Panama City continues to experience with its desperately needed public transit system. But, with its dreamy, nostalgic transitions and sublime music, La ruta also pays loving tribute to the bustle of our great city. 


Saturday April 09 2:00 pm – Cinépolis Multiplaza Sala 6 (Copa Airlines) BUY TICKETS

Wednesday April 13 3:30 pm Anfiteatro de la Presidencia BUY TICKETS

El Cheque (The Check)

The hilarious feature debut of Panamanian director Arturo Montenegro is a sly, class-conscious comedy that tells the story of a man in need of a maid and the beguiling, larger-than-life angel who promises to fulfill all his needs—at a cost.


Tuesday April 12 5:00 pm – Teatro Balboa (Sala MasterCard) BUY TICKETS


When teenage Kenny gets busted buying weed, his mother solicits Kenny’s respectable cousin Josué to help her boy conquer his addiction—not knowing that Josué himself smokes weed and is also dealing with a pregnant girlfriend. Shot-through with smart humor, the latest from Panama’s own Enrique Pérez Him hits a winning balance of cultural specificity and universal themes. 


Tuesday April 12 7:30 pm – Cinépolis Multiplaza Sala 6 (Copa Airlines) BUY TICKETS

Also, don’t worry if you don’t speak the language of the films! If they are in Spanish they will usually have English subtitles and if the film is not in English or Spanish (Portuguese for example) they will normally show English and Spanish subtitles at the same time. I’m personally using a week of nonstop movie binging as an excuse to “practice Spanish” (it really is practicing Spanish though).

Experience Panama


I'm Joey, a guy from Louisville, Kentucky that packed up and studied abroad in Panamá at the age of 20 and haven't moved back since. What started as a semester trip to Panamá has turned into 7+ years of living in Latin America and becoming a full-time travel blogger. Follow me on Instagram @joeybonura for more updates on my life abroad!

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