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Icaro Festival 2010 in Nicaragua | Nov 3, 2010

Cinthia Membreño

Being part of the thirteenth edition of the Icaro Festival, a regional event that screens the movies of Central American directors in Guatemala city, will be the goal of 17 Nicaraguan filmmakers. Starting on Friday, November 5th, they begin competing with 22 cinematographic pieces in the national festival of the same name, which will be held in Nicaragua as an eliminatory phase.

In addition to the competition, Nicaraguans and foreigners will have the chance to watch the winner films from 2009 in different places of the country. On November 5th, the cities of Managua, Estelí, Matagalpa and Jinotepe will be the headquarters of these presentations, where movies from Mexico, Central America and others from Cuba (special guest) will be screened.

María José Álvarez, filmmaker and organizer of the festival in Nicaragua, said that there are a couple of innovations in this year's edition, such as the participation of directors from the Atlantic Coast. "A lot of young directors are also being part of the competition, in addition to other renowned ones like Florence Jaugey and her film 'La Yuma', which is participating as the only fiction film," she stated.

As for the jury, Álvarez explained that they followed the regional festival's rule, which is choosing three members: one Nicaraguan, one Central American and one person that's not Latin American. This year, the event will have the participation of Abbie Fields, American member of the Audiovisual Nicaraguan Committee, Humberto Arcia, photography director and producer of Imaginarte Films, and the Honduran Katya Erazo Ramos, cinephile and journalist with a specialization in development and genre.

Accomplishments and challenges of the festival in Nicaragua

During the seven years that Nicaragua has participated in the regional event, 2003 was the peak year, explained Álvarez. "We won the 90% of the awards. This happened because, between the 90's and 2000, there was a rise of documentary productions in the country," she said.

For María José, the extinct Nicaraguan Institute of Cinema (INCINE) was the seed that led to create a school of national directors who wanted to film documentaries. "After the closing of INCINE, all efforts have been personal. That's the importance of promoting a regulated film law, so that directors have a state fund to start looking for other funds. It's important to have the support of the State," she claimed.

After 2003, the awards haven't been as numerous as significant. In 2005, the Spanish-Nicaraguan Mercedes Moncada and Félix Zurita won in the categories of best documentaries and in 2008, the film "Sol y Luna", directed by Joaquín Zúniga with the support of the Luciernaga Foundation, won a award for best educational documentary.

Regional Icaro Festival

The Icaro Festival was first born in Guatemala as an initiative of Casa Comal, a civil association dedicated to the promotion of a sustainable Central American film industry. Each year, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama organize their own Icaro festivals to choose the best movies and then send them to the regional event.

According to the festival's website, the event has an annual average of 400 registered films and 25 countries as participants. The topics that are generally shown are related to cultural diversity, the environment, human rights and genre.

The Icaro festival will be held in Guatemala city, between November 18th and 25th. There are 195 films competing, 129 are Central American and 63 are international. For further information about the screenings in Nicaragua, go to our Events Calendar.