According to Martes Financiero (La Prensa’s financial magazine) Bocas del Toro and Casco Antiguo are Panama’s preferred locations that are being analyzed by Hollywood location scouters.
Although Panama’s film industry is still trying to get started, in 2008 Panama had the opportunity of being the main location for Quantum of Solace (James Bond). Now, productions featuring Salma Hayek (Our lady of the ballpark), Ben Kingsley (Vivaldi), Pierce Brosnan (The Vanilla Gorilla) , Kevin Costner (Learning Italian) and Al Pacino (Gone) are considering Panama as a location for their movies.
Martes Financiero pointed out that the few films made in the last few years reported an income for the country of 29 million dollars (according to numbers of Panama’s Film Association). Now, with six new projects on target, they are looking at a revenue of 106 million dollars.
From what I could experience from the filming of Quantum of Solace (since it all happened in front of my office), each film is a ton of work and coordination. I hope that with these new films, difficulties (such as the Migration office bureaucracy) are worked out. Advantages to the country are many, as seen in other countries.
Now, would I get used to seeing celebrities walking down the street in Casco Viejo? Well… the funny thing about Casco is that nobody really notices. It is strange, but we saw this during Quantum. Nobody took notice of anyone famous. There was Daniel Craig walking here and there, supporting actors and actresses going out at night… nothing. The worst thing that can happen (and only if you are a good looking girl) is that men will whistle at you and call you mami. If you are an actress thinking on filming in Panama and in Casco and are reading this… just remember: don’t take it personally. They whistle to everyone wearing a skirt or a tight pant. Or any pant, now that I think of it. So just pass by, unless you want to make their day and smile waving back. They’ll go bananas!.