The Ibero-American film industry will get its own award ceremony starting in 2014.

The first Platinum Iberoamerican Film Awards (Premios Platino del Cine Iberoamericano) will be held on April 5 2014 in Panama City and honour the best films from 22 Latin American and European countries.

The announcement of the awards for films from territories in Europe and America where Spanish and Portuguese are spoken was made on December 4 at the Ventana Sur market in Buenos Aires.

Promoted by FIPCA, the Iberoamerican Federation of Film and Audiovisual Producers, and EGEDA, the management association of audiovisual producers’ rights founded in Spain, the awards have been created to recognise the cinema of the region.

It is estimated that 900 Ibero-American productions have reached the theatres in their countries this year.

“The awards will help us to put our cinema in the context of the industry,” said FIPCA vice-president Ignacio Rey (pictured in centre). “This is an initiative to make our films cross boundaries between themselves and increase their reach in rest of the world. We need to create our own star system in order to make more of our actors recognised internationally, besides Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darin, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna.”

The award will have the logistical and economic support from the government of Panama. “We are in a strategic geographical position since most countries of the region can access us easily,” said Arianne Benedetti, director of the Panamanian Film Institute and the Panamanian Film Commission.

Benedetti added that while Panama was keen to grow its film industry and promote its culture worldwide, it presented “no conflict of interest”. She continued: “As we still do not have a strong film industry, such as those of Mexico, Argentina or Brazil, we will celebrate whatever is the winner.”

Film contenders will be submitted by film academies (or equivalent associations) of the respective countries. A jury of critics, producers and other professionals from various countries will watch the pre-selected films through a secure online system. Voting for the finalists will also be conducted online.

Like the Oscars, the film must have been released in their country to be eligible for the award, announced at the beginning of the following year. The nominees for the 2013 award will be revealed on March 15.

Films will compete in the categories of best fiction film, best direction, best screenplay, best original score, best actor, best actress, best animated film and best documentary.

There will be also an award of honour given to an important film figure from the region and an award given to best co-production. This last category will be the only one to be granted a cash prize. “Our goal is also to foster the coproduction between countries, which is an important tool to develop our film industry,” said Rey.