• Academy Award®

    Panama's submission for Best Foreign Language Film
  • SXSW

    24 Beats Per Second Audience Award
  • Panama International Film Festival

  • Guadalajara International Film Festival

  • Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival

  • New York Latino Festival

  • DocsBarcelona

  • Seattle International Film Festival

  • Enfoque Film Festival

English and Spanish with English subtitles

With Ruben Blades, Sting, Paul Simon, Rene Perez (Residente), Gilberto Santa Rosa, Larry Harlow, Andy Montañez, Ismael Miranda, Junot Diaz, Luba Mason

Filmmaker may be available for a Q&A via Skype. Speaker fee: $300. Inquire at FILMCLUB@PRAGDA.COM.


Latin American icon Ruben Blades, whose “thinking man’s salsa” has earned him praise as the Bob Dylan of Latin America, was at the center of the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970’s. His socially charged lyrics and explosive rhythms brought Salsa music to an international audience. Blades has won 17 Grammys, acted in Hollywood, earned a law degree from Harvard and even run for President of his native Panama.

Featuring electrifying footage from his final tour, a lively and candid walk through his Chelsea, New York home and neighborhood, plus testimonials from such icons as Paul Simon, Sting, Francisco “Bush” Buckley, and Junot Díaz, Rubén Blades is Not My Name is a testament to a rare talent whose restless heart has indeed helped change the world.


“An intimate and personal portrait of the singer, composer, musician, actor, lawyer, and Panamanian politician.” – Juan Pablo Russo, Escribiendo Cine

“An intimate look at the life and musical legacy of living legend Rubén Blades, who spearheaded the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970s, advancing Latinx identity, unity and empowerment on the international stage.”American Film Institute

“Benaim’s film allows audiences to get better acquainted with the multi-talented artist and highly intelligent Renaissance man.” – Mark Saldana, True View review

“A behind-the-scenes look at salsa superstar, fine actor and all-around cool guy Rubén Blades...His talent and contribution to the genre of salsa cannot be underestimated, and seeing him comfortable on stage, belting out hits like the eternal Pedro Navaja or Patria is great, toe-tapping fun...it makes it clear just why he’s so revered in Latin America.” – Ernesto Zelaya Miñano, ScreenAnarchy

About the Director
Abner Benaim studied International Relations and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and later film directing at Camera Obscura, Tel Aviv. In 2004, he founded Apertura Films, an independent production company, in his native Panama, where he is considered a pioneer filmmaker. His first feature, Chance (2010) was the first film to be theatrically released in Panama in 60 years, and was seen by over 500,000 spectators. Invasion (2014) was Panama’s first submission to the Academy Awards and had an audience of 50,000 people in local theaters. Ruben Blades is not my Name has also been Panama’s submission to the Academy Awards. Among other films, he directed the documentaries Empleadas y Patrones (2010), Good Vibes (2003), and Round Trip to Panama (2002).

Benaim’s films have been selected at prestigious film festivals such as SXSW, IDFA, HOTDOCS and True False, and have won multiple awards as well as critical acclaim. Benaim’s work deals with social issues and touching personal stories told in an unceremonious, sometimes humorous and irreverent tone. 

Notes on Film

“I grew up listening to his music. I’m from Panama myself, so I was a fan. There was a special connection just from knowing he’s from Panama. But when I grew older, I got a sense that the lyrics to his words were very different and special, and that they were somehow imbued in my mind. Just like the first time you listen to lyrics by Bob Marley, for example. The kind of lyrics that shape you. And then I figured that it’s not only me, of course. Not only Panama, but it’s all of Latin America mostly. It’s my generation, one generation above me and one below me. It’s three generations of Latin Americans and people, Latins in the States and Europe, who have [take] some kind of influence from his lyrics. Just taking all that was enough to get me curious about who’s behind those lyrics because his songs have become anthems and they keep on being present. You hear it and it sounds like listening to something old, it sounds like a revival. They have remained present.

It’s not a political movie, per se, but everything about it is somehow political or ideological in some sense. I think that edge that he has, that ability to say the truth without worrying what the consequence will be is something to learn from also.”

– Abner Benaim, Director