Only in recent years has Costa Rica's film industry begun to develop. For most of the twentieth century, censorship rules prevented anything noteworthy from being produced â€“ the Costa Rican church in particular was against all types of cinema, referring to it as Â¨the waiting room of hell.Â¨ It wasn't until the globalization following World War II that Costa Rica even began to screen films, most of them being grade-B fare from Hollywood and Mexico. The few native films that were produced during the 40s, 50s and 60s tended to be propaganda depicting social or political issues. Most of them were lost or destroyed, although an effort was made to recover and archive them in 70s when the Costa Rican Center of Cinematographic Production was established. The birth of the CRCCP also marked the beginning of an effort by native filmmakers to produce more creative, globally appealing movies. Although Costa Rica isn't exactly known as a mecca for cinema, this might change in coming years, since the growth of the country's film industry has been climbing rapidly for the past decade or so.
Several major Hollywood films that were produced in Costa Rica during the 80s, 90s and 2000s helped to draw attention to the country's cinema. They tended to be action movies that used Costa Rica's lush, wild landscape as a backdrop for perilous jungle adventures. Some of the most notable include Jurassic Park, Congo, and Spy Kids. Several well-known Costa Rican films were also produced during these years. They include quirky detective comedy and film-festival hit Asesinato de el Meneo (2001) and spirited but critically maligned horror-film Tropix (2004), the tagline of which being Â¨Come to Costa Rica. See endangered species. Become one.Â¨ Caribe, filmed in 2006, holds the distinction of being the Costa Rican film with the biggest budget. The directorial debut of famous Cuban actor Esteban Ramirez and winner of several awards, it is a passionate drama set on a banana planataion in the Limon Province. Several other major productions filmed in Costa Rica, including an adaptation of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel Del Amor y Otros Demonios, are expected to be released in 2010 and 2011.
Costa Rica also hosts a couple of film festivals. The older of the two is the Contest of Cinema and Video of Costa Rica, held in San Jose every year in late November. Developed by the Costa Rican Cinema Center of the Ministry of Culture, it is aimed at recognizing national creativity. Costa Rica's other festival, which debuted in 2006, also takes place in November. Held annually in Montezuma, the Costa Rica International Film Festival features a wide array of films from local and foreign directors. It is known as being one of the most lively festivals in the country, typically taking place on the 18th â€“ 21rst. For the film buff or for the traveler who is interested in local art and culture, both festivals are well worth a look.