By Lourdes Quijada
HERE’S a challenge for Panama movie goers who have pre-purchased seats for showings at Panama’s International Film Festival (IFF). Arrive early or risk losing your seat.
The Danish King Canute couldn’t hold back the tides, but maybe IFF can initiate the culture of promptness in Panama.
“Early” to many in Panama means anything from 10 to 20 minutes after the published show time. How many times recently have you settled back into your assigned seat to enjoy the opening scenes of the movie, only to get your view blocked by late arrivals pushing by with giant cartons of popcorn, an oversized sodas and a few hotdogs smeared in mustard?
Well the late birds may face their come-uppance during the festival showings at Cinepolis. The organizers have adopted a system that has become de rigeur at festivals around the world and it’s called, the “Rush Line” for those who were not able to buy tickets because they were sold out, This is how it works says an IFF press release:
“15 minutes prior to the projection of the film, those who were not able to purchase tickets can make this line and wait for the festival staff to count the number of seats that have not been occupied, and then purchase tickets according to the availability of unoccupied seats in the theater.”
Another shock for those who have been pampered with assigned seat numbers for their regular movie visits, is a salutary warning: “Seat numbering has been omitted for this festival; because of this the theater will be filled according to arrival, and empty seats will be assigned to people in the “Rush Line.”
During the Festival, which is on now and ends April 17, more than 60 films from around the world will be screened - films which have been shown and/or awarded in the most prestigious film festivals, such as Cannes, Toronto, Sundance or San Sebastián.
The movie buffs who attend those festivals know what early means so, in case the message hasn’t yet sunk in I will repeat the IFF heads up for laggards: "The festival team reminds the public that it’s important to get to the movie theater early, because if they get to the theater less than 15 minutes before the beginning of the screening they will not have the right to enter the theater, because people in the “Rush Line” will already be waiting.” With the city traffic snarl and construction at Multiplaza,are you up to the challenge?