THE PANAMANIAN PAVILION
By Yubo Fernández
Walking around the Marche Du Film, the international pavilions all over the Cannes Riviera, I stop at Panama’s and I’m greeted by nice; enthusiastic people. I met Director Jorge Ameer, he told me about his movie “Oasis” been presented at the festival, which later I watched. “Oasis” is about a two men with different social extracts and their friendship. One of them lives a life of appearances, when his friend finds out, he offers him a very mysterious deal.
The director lives in LA, with magnificent cinematography present Panama as a real Oasis, somewhere where all of us wish to go when life doesn’t seems like such an oasis. After Cannes, Director Ameer received the news that his film is going to represent Panama in the Foreign Movie category in the 2018 Academy Awards.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Jorge Ameer began his professional career while in his late teens. At the age of 18, he was selected to participate in the Walt Disney College Program. He worked in the marketing departments of New Line Cinema, Paramount and Columbia Pictures. In motion picture development, Jorge worked as a story analyst for Richard Gere’s production company and Wendy Finerman’s productions at Tri-Star Pictures in the early nineties and the now defunct Fries Entertainment. In October 1997, he founded and Executive directed The Continental Film Festival, better known as the first American Independent film festival overseas on an island, was held on the island of Contadora off the gulf of Panama.
Jorge Ameer has two films having their world premieres in two different programs at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, his authored feature Medusa (aka The resurrection of Medusa) which he directs and acts as as Kao the witch doctor is schedule to have its Cannes premiere as part of the Marche Du Film. Also, Find Pauletta, a ghost story selected as part of the Short Film Corner. Jorge Ameer stars as Douglas in Find Pauletta, a horror ghost story about a new smart phone app that enables camera phones to see ghosts.
Q: How do you describe yourself as a director?
A: I describe myself as a very eclectic director that likes to push
boundaries of what’s considered normal. And since normal is so
relative, it give me ample space to create ideas and situation that
would make the audience ponder their believes or the way they look at
the world. I believe cinema is a tool that can be used to open
peoples minds and hearts or at least have them consider the
possibilities. Life is so full of mysteries and we get to tap into a
fraction of it through our existence, cinema has a way of
transporting the moviegoer to other undiscovered places and uncharted
Q: Your experience in Cannes 2017?
A: To me there is no other festival at the magnitude of importance as the
Cannes Film Festival. It is the mothership of it all, the beginning
and the end. This festival you can present your work to very avid
and enthusiastic cinephiles waiting to consume your work. That’s why
I like Cannes so much. It also the epitome of what Hollywood is, a
state of mind, the glamour, a majestic experience… Cannes offers it
all. The surroundings of Cannes combined with the movie viewing
experience makes this festival an offer hard to resist. Its the only
festival where I take much pride and joy premiering my films. Of
course the next level for me would be to be in the Official
Competition. I am a firm believe it just a matter of time and the
right film/fit for the festival’s taste.
And then there’s the parties & events and are very grand in scope and
elicit the kind of attention from he press that drives careers in the
right direction. The parties at Cannes are just as important as a
business meeting you may have during the day for networking is a key
aspect of the experience.
Q: Who’s your favorite director?
A: as corny as this sounds and even though I’m far different from my
taste in film now, when i was growing up i would have to say Randal
Dreiser, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and George Lucas. For my
favorite films of all times is Randal Kleiser’s Summer Lovers (1981),
Grease, Blue Lagoon as are Steve Spielberg’s and George Lucas “Indiana
Jones” films from the 80’s, Ron Howard’s “Splash” starring Tom Hanks
and Daryl Hannah and George Lucas 3 Star Wars films from the 70’s &
My current favorite directors are Gaspar Noé, Lars Von Trier and
Yorgos Lanthimos for I thrive in controversial subject matters as they
do and I really enjoy their work. Their work has an edge to it and a
very defining personal touch and is very personal and singular in
Q: Your message to young, emerging talent?
A: Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to express yourself and
make your art. Be singular in vision. Do not replicate other peoples
ideas, express your own and realize it in a way that is personal and
unique to you. That way if your talent is superlative, it will be
noticed on its own. Also, perseverance is the name of the game. Rome
wasn’t build in a day and neither will your career. Making films is
an evolution. The more you make, the better you understand the
medium. My journey has been rough because I did not have the
resources originally to do what I wanted to do. But now, I’m better
understanding my potential and I’m constantly working at perfecting my
craft as an artist.
There is no excuse nowadays not to make your film. The technology is
readily available in different formats for those who seek to use it.
I’ve seen great films shot on cell phones. So the problems that I
faced back then when 35mm seemed to be a very confined club for a
certain few is no more. The focus now should be on always telling a
very unique and engaging story, no matter what the style. I also
try to never do the same thing twice. I do not ever want anyone to
compare my works and see similarities because they are all different.
They may have similar themes, but they are different in subject
matter, style and essence of message. Film is a continuous set of
experiences and always enjoy the journey for the end result is final
and there isn’t much you can do once the film is out. It is however
beautiful to see as your film is taking shape. It is like creating a
person, and when it goes out into the world, it will create its own
legacy. That’s the beauty of this art form.