Costa Rica Movies

Armando Céspedes Marín

The Costa Rica movie industry is a relatively new phenomenon, dating back a few decades to the 1970's.

The first film to be shown in Costa Rica was played in the Teatro Variedades, which is still used as a movie theatre today. The film was brought by the young Costa Rican entrepreneur, Amando Céspedes Marín who went on to study photography and then make the first Costa Rica movie.

Hell's Waiting Room

By 1920, very little cinema had been produced and strict censorship rules were put in place. The church described the cinema as '...the waiting room of hell' and the result was that for decades political and social events were screened to just a select few.

World War II brought Hollywood pictures to the country opening up the screens and creating interest in the movie industry, although with little equipment available, few productions were made.

Annual international film festival

The 1970's were a turning point with the Costa Rica Centre of Cinematographic Production set up. Memorable films were produced, some of which were distributed worldwide. Unfortunately, the Costa Rica movies produced prior to this time were not saved and most were lost, although El Retorno and Elvira have been recovered and restored.

Costa Rica hosts the 'cinema and video contest' and in 2007 set up an annual international film festival, both of which have helped to boost Costa Rica movie production.