In 2007 I wrote about a dinner at the pending resort of Rancho de Caldera, the resort, then a dream, was under construction. The post indicated they would be open for New Years Eve and they were, we returned for that experience also. For New Years Eve 2008 the resort was reality.
In 1976 Henk Van Der Kolk a Dutch immigrant to Canada and a partner had a vision for an international film festival in Canada, in the beginning no one took them very seriously. Still they created one of the largest most successful film festivals in the world, the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, and have help invigorate the film industry in Canada.
Today, I and a covey of other interested people went to Rancho Caldera to sit in the concrete formed from a dream, to listen to still another dream, this time from people who have done it before. The dream is the Panama International Film Festival. It is happening.
You will soon read that the government of Panama is providing $1.3 Million of seed money and that the Panama business community has pledged another $1.3 Million. Copa Airlines, described as almost a corporate partner is starting flights direct from Panama to Toronto. TIFF is going to seed the Panama Film Festival with it’s history, expertise help to turn this dream into concrete.
The first Panama Film Festival will be held in Panama City in Feb 2011. In addition to the city there will be outreach to Boquete, El VAlle de Anton and the Pacific Beach Communities. The Festival has a goal achieved in Canada, a goal of helping to create a film industry in Panama, starting with a film school.
This is a win win for everyone which is why it is being embraced on all levels. The government will receive it’s seed money back in taxes, the private sector with continued millions from new tourists an subsequent investment. The people of Panama will see new opportunities, new work and unlike copper mines this industry does not have to be environmentally destructive.
This dream if realized will deserve the fireworks.