San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Montezuma Film Festival Out of Ordinary

The second annual Montezuma International Film Festival, featuring fire shows, circus workshops and a presentation by a filmmaker who receives artistic inspiration from monkeys, may be just the thing for those seeking something a little out of the ordinary next weekend.

Approximately 60 films will be shown over four days Nov. 13 to 16. In an attempt to get the local Tico community involved, this year more than half of the films will be in Spanish, including a few films made by Ticos or Costa Rican residents.

“Our goal is to create the largest and most respected film festival in all of Latin America,” said Eric Panter, the festival’s director.

The informal nature of the festival, which takes place in the beach community of Montezuma, near the southern tip of the NicoyaPeninsula, made attendance numbers for last year hard to gauge. Screenings are spread out among participating venues, and many people just wandered in to watch, said Sarah Madden, one of the festival’s organizers.

“I don’t know how many just stumbled upon it and how many people came on purpose for the festival,” said Madden, who works for the U.S.-based Festival League.

But the event’s Web site,, has received more than 70,000 hits, which Madden said is a good sign for this year.

Event venues include Los Mangos, El Sano Banano and Luz de Mono hotels, and Orgánico, a health food restaurant.

This year, organizers will also try to educate the community about the environment, Madden said.

“I noticed a lot of plastics washing up on shore (last year). I’ve heard it comes from across the peninsula and as far away as China,” Madden said. “We’re going to try to promote the use of canvas bags instead of plastic bags for groceries.”

The festival also hosts other events, including a fire show and a circus workshop in which participants can learn to make Hula-hoops.

“We want everybody to feel welcome,” Madden said.

The festival tends toward the unconventional, a quality guest speaker Billy Yeager certainly exemplifies. The U.S. filmmaker said he received the inspiration to make his current film in Sámara, up the coast from Montezuma, while engaging in a fast in the jungle around the town. Yeager will address fellow filmmakers on how to make a movie on a low budget, a skill he has mastered in the past few years.

“It’s a hard task, but when you have passion, desire and a vision, things just seem to happen like magic,” he said. “Money doesn’t get you anything.”

Yeager will be screening “A Perfect Song,” which he filmed in 2004. The movie is about a foulmouthed man, Lloyd, who goes to extreme lengths to find a song to heal the world. Yeager shot the film in one day and gained 30 pounds to play the role of Lloyd.

After the movie and an unsuccessful stint as owner of an acting studio in Florida, Yeager came to Costa Rica. In Sámara, he became intrigued by a certain tree and entered the jungle, where he had a spiritual experience playing his guitar to a group of monkeys.

“As soon as I arrived home, I threw out my television set and started getting rid of

many possessions,” Yeager said. “My whole life changed because of that tree.”

His current project, “Jesus of Malibu,” part of which he plans to film in Costa Rica, follows a similar story line. A man throws out all of his possessions and tries to find the meaning of life with a female companion, Mindy.

Yeager says he is not simply playing Jesus of Malibu, but he has actually transformed himself into a different person through his “studies in neurology.” Also important to his studies, Yeager says, are Edgar Cayce, Aristotle, Plato, wave frequencies, electromagnetic current applied to the pineal gland, sacred geometry, ancient Egyptian writings and the sacred numerology of the Maya.

“We are actually transforming ourselves and becoming our characters,” he told The Tico Times in a phone interview from Florida, where he is filming the first part of the story. “It’s a process of enlightenment.”

Yeager recently married the actress who plays Mindy. Known simply as Anais, the actress said she married both Yeager and the movie.

“We got married to each other, but as well to the universe and ‘Jesus of Malibu,’” she said. “We committed our lives to this film and our desire to change the world with our talent that day.”

Yeager said the movie will be “epic,” at least nine hours long and shown in several parts, and the filming could go on for years.

After the filming in Florida is complete, Yeager and Anais plan to move permanently to Costa Rica, where they will film the rest of the movie.

Yeager said the movie will “change your spirit and soul” with its sacred themes and sacred locations.

He added that he wants to encourage artists to be revolutionary in a time when the world is going down an increasingly unsustainable path.

“I want to change the world,” he said.

In the meantime, Yeager and his wife have tentative plans to open up a theater on the country’s Pacific coast.

“For me, Costa Rica is the place to be,” Yeager said. “Of course I like the surfing and the horses and things like that, but it’s the planetary location and the divinity of the sacred location that really matter.”

Montezuma International Film Festival

Thursday, Nov. 13

5:30 p.m. Opening night dinner, El Sano Banano

7:30 p.m. “

Calavera Highway

,” El Sano Banano

8 p.m. Animated shorts, Orgánico

9 p.m. “Love Limits,” Luz de Mono

10:30 p.m. Opening night party, Chico’s

Friday, Nov. 14

9:30 a.m. Yoga, Los Mangos

2 p.m. Filmmakers meeting, Montezuma Butterfly


5 p.m. Art gallery opening, La Cascada

7 p.m. “Immokalee U.S.A.,” El Sano Banano

7:30 p.m. Shorts of Spain I, Luz de Mono

8 p.m. “OppositeLand,” Los Mangos

8:15 p.m. Shorts of Spain II, Orgánico

8:30 p.m. “Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad,” El Sano Banano

9 p.m. “The Forgotten District,” Los Mangos

9 p.m. Shorts of Spain III, Luz de Mono

11 p.m. After-party, Chico’s

Saturday, Nov. 15

9:30 a.m. Yoga, Los Mangos

Noon Organic farmers market, park

2 p.m. Brunch, Orgánico

5 p.m. Low-budget filmmaking discussion with Billy

Yeager and screening of “A Perfect Song,”

Luz de Mono

7 p.m. “Cuba Libre,” El Sano Banano

7:15 p.m. “Wiener Takes All,” Orgánico

7:30 p.m. Narrative shorts, Luz de Mono

7:30 p.m. Live dance performance, Los Mangos

8 p.m. “Sex Galaxy,” Los Mangos

8:30 p.m. “Outsourced,” El Sano Banano

8:45 p.m. Comedy shorts, Orgánico

9 p.m. “The Best of Five Years: One-Minute Film

Festival, Aarau,” Luz de Mono

9:30 p.m. Animated shorts for adults, Los Mangos

10:30 p.m. Street party with music by Mokie & Ocean,

fire dancers, artists

Sunday Nov. 16

9:30 a.m. Yoga, Los Mangos

7 p.m. “The Day After Peace,” El Sano Banano

8 p.m. “Vida de Circo,” Orgánico

8:30 p.m. “More Shoes,” El Sano Banano

9 p.m. Best of MIFF shorts, Luz de Mono

11 p.m. After-party, Chico’s


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