The Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias is an annual film festival held in Cartagena, Colombia.  It features films made abroad as well as in Colombia, including premiers as well as retrospectives celebrating particular films, directors, actors, or themes.  If you’d like to learn more about the Cartagena film festival, including what to expect this year, read on in this guide to FICCI 2020, or the 2020 Cartagena Film Festival.

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Photo of a curtain in a theater, like you might see at the Cartagena Colombia Film Festival.
Read on to learn about the annual International Film Festival in Cartagena, Colombia.  Image Source:  Pixabay.

When is the Cartagena Film Festival?

The Cartagena International Film Festival or Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias is held every year around the end of February or early March.

For 2020, the Cartagena Film Festival will be held from Wednesday March 11 to Monday March 16.  It will be 60th edition of the festival.

What to Expect at the Cartagena Film Festival?

The festival features the premiers of many Colombian films as well as films from the rest of Latin America and the rest of the world.

Many of the films featured are independent films, but occasionally a larger film is also part of the festival.  Notable films that have played in the festival in past years include Black Swan and Her.

There are a number of short films featured as well.

As part of the festival, the Premios India Catalina are also awarded to the best of Colombian national television in a variety of categories.

While it depends on the year, there are often also retrospectives celebrating particular directors, actors, and/or themes, usually with the director or actor making appearances as well.  2020 is the first year I can remember that there is not a retrospective.

The Cine Colombia theaters in Bocagrande Plaza, Caribe Plaza, and Paseo la Castellana will show films.  There will also be showings of films at the Convention Center, Teatro Adolfo Mejía (aka Teatro Heredía), as well as outdoor showings in front of the Convention Center, the San Pedro Church, and in the Plaza de la Aduana.  There are also free showings in some of Cartagena’s residential neighborhoods as part of Cine en Los Barrios.

Photo of two film reels
There are always a number of different categories for the films featured in the International Film Festival in Cartagena Colombia.

Categories Featured at the 2020 Cartagena Film Festival

Opening Film and Closing Films at FICCI 2020

Opening – Waiting for the Barbarians

This film, directed by Colombian director and 2015 Oscar nominee Ciro Guerra, is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by J.M. Coetzee.  It is about a small fictional British colony where a colonel, played by Johnny Depp, employs brutal methods agains the natives.

See more about it and play times here.

Closing – Les Misérables

This film directed by Ladj Ly explores themes of poverty, racism, ethnic tensions, and police corruption in the low income and immigrant communities of the suburbs of Paris.  The story centers around a stolen lion cub.

See more about it and play times here.

For the rest of the categories, I’m not going to go into details as you can find them on FICCI’s website and I’d really just be regurgitating them here.  You can see a trailer with the different films and categories as well on YouTube.  You can also learn more about many of the films and the festival at its Facebook page.

Click the titles of each category to see the films featured.  On the films’ pages, you should be able to see show times.


Cosmic Drift

Fictions from Here, There, and Everywhere

Documinds (Documentaries)

People that Make Films and What Films Make of People



Women in Focus

Cinematic Body & Mind

Spanish Cinema

Sundance Indigenous Program

De Indias (Local)



Short Wave

Short Films from Here (Colombian)

International Short Films

Animated Short Films

Graphis of a movie ticket.
Tickets to the Cartagena Colombia Film Festival are free.  Image Source:  Pixabay.

How to Get Tickets to the Cartagena Film Festival

If you think you will attend many of the films and want to guarantee a spot to do so, you can purchase a pass that will get you into all of the screenings in a preferential line.  Many of the showings in the theaters will have very limited seats besides the people who have passes.

You also get access to a few exclusive events as well as an official program and welcome kit.  Those passes are called accreditaciones, and you can see info on the different categories and their prices here.

They are pretty pricey though, so it’s probably not worth getting unless you are going to really go to lots of the films.

Otherwise, you can attend individual showings on a first come first served basis for the seats that are left after the pass holders enter.  In my experience, you can get spots at the Convention Center and Teatro Adolfo Mejía fairly easily if you get there a bit early.

It’s much harder to get in at the theaters, at least in Bocagrande where the couple times I’ve tried it’s always been full (the capacity is just smaller).  Assuming that most of the people traveling to the festival with passes are staying around the main tourist areas, it stands to reasons you’ll have better luck getting spots at theaters in Caribe Plaza and La Castellana where fewer pass holders are likely to go (although that’s really just speculation on my part).

So make sure you get are there early.  Attending individual showings are free.

You can see all the show times on this calendar.

If you’re coming from abroad or elsewhere in Colombia to attend the Cartagena International Film Festival, be sure to check out my guide to the best areas to stay, as well as things to do in Cartagena.

There you have it, a guide to the FICCI 2020 Cartagena Film Festival.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you had a film you particularly enjoyed, share it in the comments!

Cheers and Happy Exploring!

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