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Interactions with Two Panamanian Film Directors



Jun 12, 2012

Culture, Education

Interactions with Two Panamanian Film Directors

For my  Advanced Conversation Cinema class on the Short Term 2012 Semester at Sea voyage, we spent the day with Panamanian film directors for our field lab. It was a joy to watch the students interact with the two film directors we met at Restaurante Manolo Caracol. They had not only seen and discussed their films in class –all in Spanish, of course– but they had prepared questions about the films, the Panamanian film industry, the difficulties of working in the movie business, the reception the two films have enjoyed around the country and around the globe, and the various ins and outs of the business.  Both directors –Abner Benaím (“Chance”) and Pituka Ortega Heilbrun (“Los puños de una nación”)– proved to be intelligent, articulate, and charming. And, I might add (as I heard from each of them later), very impressed with the students.  We spent about an hour talking with each of them, and in the interim, enjoyed “the best meal I have ever had in my life,” according to one of the students. This was a unique and thrilling Field Lab, and I am grateful to all of the various participants for their wonderful contributions. – David Gies

David Gies' class takes an appreciative look around to what is going to be the setting for their discussions with the the two Panamanian Directors. Along with stimulating conversation the class will be enjoying an assortment of local delicacies.
Katie Hansen, student at Iowa State University, listens intently as Pituka Ortega Heilbrun details the various ins and outs of the Panamanian film industry.
The entire class taking in and absorbing the information being provided to them all in Spanish. Then entire duration of their field lab was conducted in Spanish.
Kara Millstien, a student at the University of Virginia, expresses her gratitude and appreciation along with a small gift of a baseball cap from her home university. Pituka Ortega has been collecting baseball caps for many years now.
Abner Benaim starts of the next part of the field lab by engaging the students and asking them for their interpretations of his film.
Devani Janssen - student at South Dakota State University, Mai Neng Vang - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and Hunter Jackson - Clemson University, mark Abner's words as he describes the difficulty he had in casting actors and scouting of locations.
As the discussion time comes closer to an end, the students are able to take with them a physical reminder of their time spent interacting with both directors, as Abner signed a copy of his movie to each on of them.
The last part of the field lab is spent taking a walking tour of Panama City, where the students took part in appreciating the unique history of Panama and were able to continue using their Spanish to communicate and have conversations with the Panamanians

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