(EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE)  Los Angeles, CA — Monday, October 21st, 2019 — The Panamanian International Film Festival in Los Angeles (PIFF/LA) presented PANAFEST 5. PIFF/LA’s non-traditional approach is reflected in the festival’s diverse slate of over 50 films from 11 countries, including dynamic features, feature-length docs, shorts, panels and experiences. 

Ben DeJesus ~ Director and Producer of Raul Julia : The World’s a Stage. All photos by Dustin Brown
PIFF/LA was held from October 18th through October 20th at The Downtown Independent Los Angeles Theater.
PANAFEST 5 will featured the work of a vibrant group of innovative storytellers whose fresh voices and perspectives illuminate things that matter to us all” said PIFFLA’s Artistic Director Carlos Carrasco. 
Marisa Echeverria from Goliath (L) with PIFFLA’s Artistic Director Carlos Carrasco(R)
Alejandro De Hoyos lead Executive Producer from El Contratista
Kat Kramer on the red carpet
5th Panafest red carpet
Angela Ortiz ~ Judge – Se Fija Online

Carrasco, who is best known for his work as an actor as Popeye in Blood In Blood Out and Ortiz in Speed, created the Panamanian International Film Festival in Los Angeles (PIFF/LA) in 2014. Its evolution into PANAFEST, a multi-disciplinary celebration, is a salute to the pan-Latino nature of a diverse community. PIFF/LA is produced in partnership with Los Cortos and New Filmmakers Los Angeles.

Lidieth Arevalo ~ Director of Alpharauh
Sanjini Bhakta ~ actress and producer from Eye of the Empress
Maylen Calienes ~ Producer from And the Brave Shall Rise
Flaco Navaja ~ Actor, Musician and Performer
Actor/model  Newton Mayenge

Celebrating our 5th year is a major milestone. Our approach to networking, education, and engaging filmmakers and film audiences, is more important than ever as our stories – all of our stories – are too vibrant not to be told. False narratives have defined our community for far too long. Together, we can bring new voices to new heights ” Carrasco said.

Lorena Knot ~ Lead Singer – Miami Sound Machine
Ben DeJesus (L) with Lorena Knot (R)
Eddie Martinez ~ Actor – The Sinner

Inspiring themes like immigration, profiling, diversity, and identity are brought to life in new ways in films that range from heartwarming comedy, to a technologically sophisticated thriller, to a horror film based on a Panamanian folk tale.

Benjamin Liao ~ Director and Writer from El Arte de los Diablos
5th Panafest red carpet
Danny Hastings ~ Director from Venus de Macho
Deborah Castillero ~ Producer and Creator of Tipi Tom
Maia De Zan ~ Associate Director of PIFF (R) with PIFFLA’s Artistic Director Carlos Carrasco (L)

A new addition to PANAFEST 2019 was a prestigious judging panel. They joined Carrasco who has been curating content along with Maia De Zan Hatch and Yaniv Waisman, founder of Los Cortos. Waisman returned to PANAFEST 2019 with an exciting display of 360 VR technology, sponsored by Samsung. This allowed audience members to appreciate the work of filmmakers who are engaged in this innovative technique for differential storytelling.

Sabrina Percario ~ Filmaker and judge
Sergio Guerra ~ Intolerance No More (L) with guest
Marissa Hererra ~ Executive Producer from Two Feet In
Deborah Castillero Speaking to BUZZ
5th Panafest red carpet
The judging panel included Juan Escobedo, Juan Agustín Márquez, Angela Ortiz and Sabrina Precario. In addition to official award categories, PANAFEST is known for its innovative recognitions which have included the Yucca, Platano and Gandules Awards for noteworthy filmmaking elements.
5th Panafest red carpet
Iris Almario ~ Actress – All Rise

The Experience Magazine was honored to cover the red carpet and looks forward to next year’s Panafest!


About Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown is a writer and editor for the Experience at

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