Almodovar’s “Julieta” Selected as Spain’s Official Best Foreign Language Film Entry

Spain is putting its Oscar bet on Pedro Almodovar

The Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has selected the 66-year-old Spanish filmmaker’s drama Julieta as its official submission in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race, marking the sixth time the director has represented Spain in the category.

Pedro Almodovar

The film, which Sony Pictures Classics will release in the U.S. on December 21, was selected by the organization from a shortlist of three titles including Iciar Bollain’s The Olive Tree and Paula Ortiz’s The Bride.

Julieta, Almodovar’s 20th film, premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year and was welcomed by critics and festgoers.

Produced by Esther Garcia through brothers Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s banner El Deseo, the film is based on three short stories by Canadian Nobel laureate Alice Munro.

It follows the story of a woman who lives in Madrid with her daughter Anita who both suffer in silence over the loss of Xoan, Anita’s father and Julieta’s husband. The grief eventually drives them apart, and Anita abandons her mother age 18 without an explanation.

Adriana Ugarte, Emma Suarez, Rossy de Palma and Michelle Jenner star in the film, which was released in Spain in April through Warner Bros. and grossed $2.4 million in the territory.

Spain has won the Foreign Language Oscar category four times with the most recent win in 2004 with Alejandro Amenabar’s The Sea Inside.

The last time an Almodovar title was selected by the Spanish Academy as the country’s Oscar submission was in 2006 with Volver.

Amenabar’s “Regression” to Open the San Sebastian Film Festival

Alejandro Amenabar latest project will have its world premiere at one of the most important cinema festivals in the world.

The 43-year-old Spanish-Chilean director’s Regression will open the 63rd annual San Sebastian Film Festival as part of its world premiere.

Alejandro Amenabar

“The world premiere of the film, presented in the Official Selection out of competition, will take place on September 18 in the Kursaal Auditorium,” the festival’s official website announced on Friday.

Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Thewlis and David Dencik star in the psychological thriller, following in the path he forged with favorites like The Others and Open Your Eyes.

The story focuses on a detective, played by Hawke, who is investigating the claims of a young woman, Watson, who has accused her father, played by Dencik, of a crime that he has no recollection of committing.

When the father unexpectedly admits his guilt, a renowned psychologist, David Thewlis, is brought in to help the father rediscover his apparently repressed memories.

Regression is an English-language film shot in Canada, and will hit select cinemas just a few weeks after its screening in San Sebastian.

Regression will open in Spain on October 2 followed by key territories, including Germany, the UK, France, Italy, China and Korea later this fall. The remaining worldwide releases will take place in the months to follow,” the announcement added.

Spain Selects Trueba’s “Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados” as Its Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film

Does David Trueba‘s latest film have what it takes to earn Oscar glory?

The Spanish Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences seems to think so, selecting the 45-year-old Spanish director’s Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados as its entry for best foreign language film at next year’s Academy Awards.

David Trueba

Trueba’s film, chosen Thursday the nation’s film acaedmy, tells the true story of an English-language teacher from Spain who traveled to the southern province of Almeria in 1966 to try to meet late Beatles star John Lennon, who was staying there.

The movie takes its name from the lyrics of the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which Lennon began writing in Almeria.

The U.S. film academy will select finalists for the Oscars in January, with the awards announced a month later.

Spain has won four Oscars for best foreign language film. Trueba’s brother, Fernando Trueba, won the category in 1994 for Belle Epoque. The country’s other winners include José Luis Garci’s Begin the Beguine (1982), Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother (1999) and Alejandro Amenábar’s The Sea Inside.

In all, Spain has earned 18 Best Foreign Language Film nominations since the launch of the category in 1956, with The Sea Inside serving as the country’s last nominated (and eventual Oscar-winning) film.

Bovaira Heading the Seven-Person Jury at This Year’s San Sebastian International Film Festival

Fernando Bovaira is the head of the class at one of Spain’s biggest film festivals…

The Spanish producer will head the seven-person jury that will select the winner of the top prize, the Golden Shell, at this year’s San Sebastian International Film Festival, which runs September 19-27.

Fernando Bovaira

One of Spain’s most international names, Bovaira has produced all of director Alejandro Amenabar’s films including The Others, The Sea Inside and the upcoming Regression — starring Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson — as well as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful, Julio Medem’s Sex and Lucia and Javier Fesser’s Mortadelo and Filemon, The Big Adventure.

Bovaira is joined by Venezuelan writer/director/producer Mariana Rondon, who returns to San Sebastian after winning last year’s Golden Shell with her acclaimed film Bad Hair, while Iranian born writer and director Marjane Satrapi will come to the seaside resort town in Spain’s northern Basque region after premiering her latest work, The Voices, starring Ryan Reynolds, at the Toronto Film Festival.

Singaporean director Eric Khoo, who heads Zhao Wei Films/Gorylah Pictures, will also join the panel. He has been credited with putting Singapore on the international film map with films like My Magic and animated Tatsumi.

Berlin-born actress Natassja Kinski, Germany director of photography Reinhold Vorschneider and Romanian character actor Vlad Ivanov, who won the L.A. Critics Award for his portrayal of an illegal abortion doctor in 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, round out the jury.

In addition to the seven official jurors, named Thursday, jailed Ukraine filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is an honorary jury member. The Federal Security State of the Russian Federation (FSB) arrested Sentsov on May 10 for backing the protests in Kiev and for his opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The festival said it took the step of officially naming Sentsov to the jury to defend freedom of expression and in response to an request by the European Film Academy.

Amenábar’s Next Thriller “Regression” to Star Emma Watson

Alejandro Amenábar has found his next leading lady…

The 41-year-old Chilean-Spanish Oscar-winning filmmaker will direct Harry Potter franchise alum Emma Watson in the thriller Regression.

Alejandro Amenábar

Amenábar, who rose to acclaim after making the Spanish-language sci-fi film Abre los ojos, wrote the original screenplay for The Weinstein CompanyDimension Films project.

The storyline for Regression is being kept under wraps, but the film is being described as an “elevated suspense thriller.”

As previously reported, Ethan Hawke will star in the Regression, which has been slated for release in 2015.

Amenábar’s previous projects include The Sea Inside, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2004.

Amenábar to Direct Ethan Hawke in the Thriller “Regression” for The Weinstein Company

Alejandro Amenábar is partnering with The Weinstein Company-Dimension for his next project…

The film studio has acquired the U.S rights to Regression, an elevated suspense thriller to be directed by the 41-year-old Spanish-Chilean Oscar-winning director.

Alejandro Amenábar

Amenábar returns to the English language realm with the film, starring Ethan Hawke, which is set in 1980 in a small Minnesota town where a man is arrested for sexually abusing his daughter. He admits his guilt despite having no memory of it. With the help of a psychologist, he relives the memories and implicates a police officer as his partner in crime. The man’s estranged son and other townspeople are also suddenly able to relive suppressed memories of horrific abuse. At the same time, the local news reports blame a Satanic cult that has been performing rituals of orgies, assault, killing animals and even babies, for years. The officers are alarmed when similar reports come in from all around the country—they believe they’ve uncovered a national and possibly supernatural conspiracy. Is the abuse real, or something else?

This marks a re-team between Amenábar, who won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2004 for the Javier Bardem-starrer The Sea Inside, and Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who last worked with the helmer at Miramax on The Others, the sleeper hit thriller that starred Nicole Kidman and grossed $97 million U.S. and $210 million worldwide in 2001.

Amenábar, a nine-time Goya Award winner, has a resume that includes Tesis, Abre los ojos and Agora.

Bardem to Appear in Spanish-Film “Alacran enamorado”

He received a Best Actor Oscar nod for his role in 2010’s Biutiful— the first entirely Spanish language performance to be nominated for that award… And, now Javier Bardem plans to return to Spanish cinema.

The 43-year-old Spanish actor will play a neo-Nazi ideologue in Alacran enamorado (Scorpion in Love), a film based on a novel by his brother Carlos.

Javier Bardem

Spanish director Santiago Zannou says Bardem, who won a best-supporting-actor Oscar for his turn in No Country for Old Men, will play a secondary character named Solis, a role distinct from the purely villainous one he has in the upcoming James Bond film.

“In my film (the character) is more realistic, not a wicked villain who wants to destroy the world, but an ordinary person. Those are the ones who truly frighten me, for having a type of ideology that separates people, that engenders violence,” Zannou told Efe.

Alacran enamorado tells the story of Alyssa, a seductive Latin American immigrant who had fallen victim to a prostitution ring and now makes a living cleaning houses, and Julian, alias “El alacran” (The Scorpion), a member of a neo-Nazi group.

Alex Gonzalez and Judith Diakhate have the starring roles, while Carlos Bardem plays a boxing trainer and former boxer Rudo Hovic plays the owner of the gym.

This will mark the first time Bardem has worked with a Spanish director since he won a Goya award for his performance in Alejandro Amenabar’s Mar adentro (The Sea Inside).