According to an article that appeared on Telemetro, there have now been 80 cinematic productions that were recently filmed in Panama.
“In the last year and a half there have been 80 foreign film projects of varying sizes that have been shot in Panama, which has lead to a $30 million investment.” Said Stephen Proaño, director of the cinema department at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI).
Bragging Note: I got to be an extra as a soldier in “Hands of Stone”. It was two brutal 15 hour days of wearing full soldier gear in Panama’s scorching heat. Hopefully I make an appearance!
Before this the only major international films that took place in Panama were 2001’s “The Tailor of Panama” and 2008’s “Quantum of Solace”.
There have also been several recent locally produced films like “Invasion”, a film about the 1989 United States Invasion of Panama, “Historias del Canal” a narration about the last 100 years of the Panama Canal, and “Rompiendo la ola”, a film about three surfers from Santa Catalina that struggle reach the peak of peak of world surfing due to their economic situations.
Part of the huge increase in film projects in Panama has been due to a new law introduced in 2012 offering very attractive benefits to film makers. The legislation includes the return of up to 15% of the investment of productions in Panama and also sets aside $3 million a year for local film productions. Panama has a wide variety of landscapes including city, beach, jungle, old-world, mountains, and more which can also be a very appealing to film makers.
We want to turn Panama into a magnet for film production by offering a wide variety of landscapes and offering them a return of investment. – Proaño
In addition to the film projects, Panama City hosted it’s first International Film Festival in 2012 which has grown bigger and more prestigious each year.