Mexico Enters Fernando Frías de la Parra’s “I’m No Longer Here” into International Feature Film Oscar Race

Fernando Frías de la Parra is representing…

The Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences has chosen the Mexican filmmaker’s I’m No Longer Here as Mexico’s official entry for the International Feature Film Oscar race.

Fernando Frías de la Parra

The film centers on the young leader (Juan Daniel Garcia Trevino) of a small Monterrey street gang from the Cholombiano subculture who longs for home after being forced to move to Jackson Heights, Queens, after an altercation with a local cartel. It premiered at the 2019 Morelia Film Festival, where it won Best Feature and was a selection of this year’s truncated Tribeca Film Festival.

The film received 10 Ariel Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and is Mexico’s official submission for Spain’s Goya Awards.

I'm No Longer Here

Netflix acquired worldwide rights back in 2018, and it bowed on the streamer on May 27.

“The news took me by surprise, and I am overwhelmed with happiness and excitement,” said Frias. “I am enormously grateful to the Academy and its members and the entire industry that has supported us, such as Netflix and IMCINE, but also to the people. The public has shown us that they are ready to connect with our stories here in Mexico. That fills me with pride.”

Mexico has seen nine film nominated for the Academy Awards’ International Feature race (it was formerly known as Outstanding Foreign-Language Feature) with films from the likes of Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro. It’s only one the top prize once, however, for Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, also from Netflix, in 2018.

Rodrigo Prieto: The Cinematographer Behind the Lens of Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan” Video

Everything’s o-Tay for Rodrigo Prieto

The 54-year-old three-time Oscar-nominated Mexican cinematographer is earning rave reviews for his work on Taylor Swift’s music video for the pop star’s latest single “Cardigan.”

Rodrigo Prieto

The top-secret music video, written, directed and styled by Swift, was filmed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dreamy video, released on Friday, July 24 alongside Swift’s new album Folklore, presents a cottagecore aesthetic and features Swift in three different settings.

The “homespun” and “dreamlike” video starts out with Swift sitting in a candlelit cottage in the woods, wearing a nightgown and playing a vintage upright piano. When the soundboard starts glowing, she climbs into it and is magically transported to a moss-covered forest, where she plays the song on a grand piano producing a waterfall. The piano bench starts to glow and she climbs into it. She gets transported to a dark stormy sea, where she holds on to a floating piano. The piano soundboard glows and she climbs in, and she returns to the cottage, where she dons a cardigan.

Taylor Swift Cardigan Video

“She had the whole storyline – the whole notion of going into the piano and coming out into the forest, the water, going back into the piano,” Prieto tells Rolling Stoneof hisfirst phone call with Swift.

Their last collaboration, on the music video for “The Man,” saw Swift adopting a male alter ego to satirize gender inequality.

From the beginning, though, Prieto says “Cardigan” was always going to be more ambiguous, and more personal: “When she called me and told me that this was more of a fantasy, I found that really appealing.”

This was in early July, when Prieto had simultaneously begun serving on a committee for the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) to conceive solutions for safely resuming film production during the ongoing pandemic.

Prieto had just finished filming a PSA for a healthcare company when Swift asked him to work on “Cardigan,” and he was well aware of the many, many layers of risks involved in the project.

“We needed to be safe, for her sake and for our sake as a crew during the shoot, but also for the future of filmmaking,” he says. “Because we want to keep working and doing what we do, and if, God forbid, someone got sick on one of the first jobs that was filmed, it would probably close down [the industry].”

The extensive safety protocols for the shoot ranged from standard – everybody had to get tested, and every member of the crew wore a mask – to outlandish: Because Swift would need to spend a large part of the shoot not wearing a face covering, the crew used a colored wristband system, determining which members of the team were permitted to stand closest to her. (Prieto, assistant director Joe Osborne, and set designer Ethan Tobman all wore one color, lighting designers and gaffers wore another, and so on.)

Prieto actually wore two face coverings – a mask and an acrylic shield – for most of the day-and-a-half-long shoot. And just to ensure that crew members crossed within a six-foot range of Swift as little as possible, the entire “Cardigan” video was shot by mounting the camera to a robotic arm, which was then controlled by a remote operator.

The “techno arm,” as Prieto calls it, is typically only used in the industry for crane shots and other establishing visuals.

“We were going to use the crane for the ocean scene,” Prieto explains, referencing the shot where the image zooms out on the wide expanse of the water before honing back in on Swift. “So then I said, let’s have it both days.”

Hooking the camera up to a giant robot was the safest way to get close-ups on Swift’s face, Prieto explains. And as unwieldy as that sounds, you’d never know from watching the video that a human being wasn’t behind the lens at all times.

There was, of course, the added tangle of secrecy – the filmmaking had to be done indoors to avoid crowds, and Swift wore an earpiece throughout the shoot to lip-sync to the song without any of the crew hearing it.

The crew built three sets on two stages across one large studio, and in order to create the illusion of natural light for the outdoor scenes, Prieto and his crew draped giant stretches of white bouncing fabric on the walls and ceiling. The process took longer than usual due to COVID, with the lighting crew working in small groups and frequently taking breaks so they could remove masks and catch their breath.

“Filmmaking is a gregarious endeavor by nature,” Prieto says. “People are close to each other, so it’s really hard to remember to keep to yourselves.” Given the distancing on set, it was sometimes tricky for crew members to communicate over reference points and documents – “we had to kind of point at each other” – but Prieto attributes Swift’s clear vision for the project as a guiding light.

Ahead of the shoot, she sent him and Tobman numerous visual references for each scene – a mix of photographs for the dark ocean water and drawings for the fantastical forest sequence. One illustration, of a sword lodged into a rock formation overlooking a creek, was particularly inspiring: “That became our focal interest – we didn’t imitate it, but the feeling of it was what we went with.”

On top of that, Swift came up with a detailed shot list for the video ahead of time, with each visual accompanied by a time sequence within the song.

“The ocean water, the fingers on the piano, whatever it may be, she knew what she wanted for each section,” Prieto says. Unlike with “The Man,” Swift couldn’t be as hands-on with her direction on set – she viewed each take through a video monitor after it was shot – but Prieto was impressed by her ability to “talk with the camera” and utilize cinematic language without formal training, like with the unorthodox, zoom-out-and-in shot over the ocean. “I was blown away, because it’s all metaphorical,” he says. “This video is not just pretty images of things; she’s telling a personal story through her lyrics, her music, and now through the video.”

The video has already been viewed more than 40 million times on YouTube since its release.

Prieto previously earned Academy Awards for his lensing work on Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2006), Martin Scorsese’s Silence (2017) and Scorsese’s The Irishman (2020).

His other film credits include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel (2006) and Biutiful (2010), Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants and Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo.

Guillermo del Toro Announces Scholarship for Aspiring Mexican Filmmakers

Guillermo del Toro is ready to help the next generation of Mexican filmmakers…

The 53-year-old Mexican writer-director, who won two Oscars earlier this month, has returned to his hometown of Guadalajara with some news.

Guillermo del Toro

After his romance-fantasy film The Shape of Water took home four Academy Awards last Sundayincluding best picture and director, del Toro attended the Guadalajara International Film Festival, where he’s imparting a series of free master classes to thousands of fans.

Following the first class on Saturday, the festival inaugurated a state-of-the-art cinema named after del Toro, and then organizers announced the creation of the Jenkins-Del Toro International Film Scholarship, a $60,000 annual award for an aspiring Mexican filmmaker to study abroad at a prestigious film institute.

“If we change a life, if we change a history, we change a generation,” said del Toro, whose genre filmmaking has inspired a new generation of talent in Mexico.

Del Toro and fellow countrymen Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman) regularly produce films from up-and-coming Mexican filmmakers.

“The first push is very important,” said del Toro, who will oversee a jury that awards the scholarship at the Guadalajara film fest each year.

del Toro also announced that his At Home with Monsters exhibit will hit museums in Guadalajara and Mexico City next year. The exhibit features 500 drawings, paintings and concept pieces from del Toro’s works, including creepy life-size sculptures of monster figures. The collection, to be curated by Oscar-winning production designer Eugenio Caballero (Pan’s Labyrinth), bowed in 2016 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Guillermo del Toro Wins Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for “The Shape of Water”

It’s turned out to be a monster night for Guillermo del Toro

The 53-year-old Mexican filmmaker had a nearly perfect night, picking up his first-ever Academy Awards for his romantic fantasy drama The Shape of Water.

Guillermo del Toro

del Toro, who co-wrote, directed and produced the film, was named Best Director, an award he was predicted to win throughout awards season.

Additionally, del Toro’s The Shape of Water took home the night’s top prize, Best Picture.

The romantic fable was conceived by del Toro as a tribute to the monster movies he loved as a child, updated to tell a story about tolerance and compassion that could speak to a contemporary audience.The film ultimately took home four Oscars, the most of any nominee.

“As a kid enamored of movies growing up in Mexico, I thought it would never happened, but it happened,” said del Toro, in accepting the Best Picture award.

del Toro, who missed out on being 3-for-3 when he lost in the Best Original Screenplay category, urged other young filmmakers to take inspiration from his win, and “use the power of fantasy to tell stories about things that are real in the world.”

The award was presented by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, who famously announced the wrong Best Picture winner last year, naming La La Land instead of actual winner Moonlight.

He’s the latest Mexican filmmaker to take home multiple awards in the same night… Alejandro González Iñárritu previously scored three Oscar wins in 2015 for Birdman: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

One year earlier, Alfonso Cuaron took home two Oscars for his film Gravity: Best Director. and Best Film Editing.

Meanwhile, Disney/Pixar’s Dia de los Muertos-themed animated film Coco won best animated feature and its featured tune, “Remember Me,” won Best Original Song.

And, the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film went to A Fantastic Woman, from Chile, the story of a transgender person struggling in the aftermath of the death of a lover.

The film edged out Ruben Östlund’s Swedish satire The Square and Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Russian fable Loveless.

Directed by Sebastián Lelio and written by Lelio and Gonzalo Maza, the film marks the first Chilean entry for the foreign language Oscar since Pablo Larraín’s No, and the first ever Academy award for Lelio, in his follow-up to the acclaimed film Gloria.

At Sunday’s ceremony, the film’s star Daniela Vega became the first openly transgender person to present an award at the Oscars.

Here’s a look at all of this year’s Academy Award winners.

BEST PICTURE
The Shape of Water

ACTRESS
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

ACTOR
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

DIRECTOR
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Allison Janney, I, Tonya

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

ORIGINAL SONG (PRESENTED TO SONGWRITERS)
Remember Me, from Coco (Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)

ORIGINAL SCORE
The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat 

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Blade Runner 2049, Roger A. Deakins 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Get Out, Jordan Peele 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory 

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
The Silent Child 

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 

FILM EDITING
Dunkirk, Lee Smith 

VISUAL EFFECTS
Blade Runner 2049 

ANIMATED FEATURE
Coco

 SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
Dear Basketball 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
A Fantastic Woman (Chile) 

PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Shape of Water 

SOUND MIXING
Dunkirk 

SOUND EDITING
Dunkirk, Richard King and Alex Gibson 

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)
Icarus 

COSTUME DESIGN
Phantom Thread, Mark Bridges

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Darkest Hour, Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick

Prieto to Make Feature Directorial Debut with the Revenge Thriller “Bastard”

Rodrigo Prieto is stepping into the director’s chair…

The 51-year-old Mexican cinematographer, who has worked on films such as Martin Scorcese’s Silence and Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, will make his directorial debut with the revenge thriller Bastard.

Rodrigo Prieto

Based on an original script penned by Bill Gullo, Bastard is a taut revenge thriller with a riveting antagonist at its core, set against a looming flood that will ravage the small town of Bird’s Point, Missouri.

A Mexico-City native, Prieto started his career shooting television commercials at the age of 22 before moving into features in 1992. He broke out into the film scene with his work on Amores Perros, which kicked off his collaboration with director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Prieto boasts a top-notch list of film credits including Julie Taymor’s Frida; Curtis Hanson’s 8 Mile; Spike Lee’s 25th Hour; Iñárritu’s 21 Grams and Babel; Oliver Stone’s Alexander; Kevin Macdonald’s State of Play; Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces; Francis Laurence’s Water for Elephants; Cameron Crowe’s We Bought A Zoo; Lee’s Brokeback Mountain; Ben Affleck’s Argo; and a clutch of Scorcese titles.

He’s most recently worked on HBO series Vinyl and Silence, the latter of which saw him earn an Oscar nomination.

Prieto directed his first short film Likeness, starring Elle Fanning, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

Production is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2018.

Rodriguez to Sit Down with Barbra Streisand at the Tribeca Film Festival

Robert Rodriguez is ready to babble on with Babs

The 48-year-old Mexican American filmmaker will partner with Barbra Streisand for a special talk at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Robert Rodriguez

Streisand, an icon in multiple entertainment fields, will converse on her unparalleled career and force field of creativity with filmmaker Rodriguez, the mastermind behind such films as El Mariachi, Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, as part of the festival’s Tribeca Talks: Storytellers series.

Streisand has attained unprecedented achievements as a recording artist, actor, director, producer, concert performer, author and songwriter. Streisand has been awarded two Oscars, five Emmys, ten Golden Globes, eight Grammys plus two special Grammys, a special Tony Award in 1970, and two CableACE Awards – the only artist to receive honors in all of those fields of endeavor.

Rodriguez, a horror/cult movie maestro, will pose questions to Streisand on her storied career.

But he isn’t the only Latino taking part in this year’s Tribeca Talks…

Alejandro González Iñárritu will talk part in the Tribeca Talks: Director Series, a series of will “intimate talks and discussions.”

The Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker, who directed Birdman and The Revenant, will discuss his own body of work.

The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 19-30. Visit the festival’s website for more details.

Here’s more on the two Tribeca Talks:

Tribeca Talks: Directors Series
Today’s most groundbreaking filmmakers discuss their careers and highlights.

Alejandro González Iñárritu
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, one of only three directors to ever win consecutive Oscars and the first to do so in 65 years, will talk about his beautifully varied work on films such as Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Biutiful, Babel, and most recently, The Revenant. Iñárritu is the first Mexican filmmaker to have been nominated for Best Director and Best Producer in the history of the Academy Awards.
DATE: Saturday, April 22
TIME: 2:30PM

Tribeca Talks: Storytellers
Some of today’s most innovative creators broke from traditional roles and pioneered their own forms of storytelling, often mastering multiple mediums. This series will celebrate the illustrious careers of those individuals who have broken from the mold.

Barbra Streisand with Robert Rodriguez
Widely recognized as an icon in multiple entertainment fields, Barbra Streisand has attained unprecedented achievements as a recording artist, actor, director, producer, concert performer, author and songwriter. Streisand has been awarded two Oscars, five Emmys, ten Golden Globes, eight Grammys plus two special Grammys, a special Tony award in 1970, and two CableACE Awards – the only artist to receive honors in all of those fields of endeavor. She will converse on her unparalleled career and force field of creativity with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez.
DATE: Saturday, April 29
TIME: 6:00PM
LOCATION: BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center

Gonzalez Inarritu Developing Virtual Reality Short About Immigrants Crossing the U.S./Mexico Border

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is planning to shed some light on immigrant experience…

The two-time Mexican Oscar-winning director is working on a virtual reality short, one that he’s been developing for four years.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

The short is being produced and financed by Legendary Entertainment and Fondazione Prada, which announced it. ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s recently established Immersive Entertainment division, will build the virtual world and characters.

Gonzalez Inarritu will work once again with Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki in what is described as an experiment for their first time within a space narrative in this new visual medium.

The immersive virtual reality piece will explore the intense and excruciating experience of a group of immigrants and refugees crossing the border between Mexico and the U.S.

The companies haven’t disclosed their plans for releasing the project.

Isaac Earns First Acting Critics’ Choice Awards Nomination

Oscar Isaac is getting a heroes reception…

The 36-year-old Guatemalan and Cuban American actor is among the Latino talents earning a Critics’ Choice Awards nomination.

Oscar Isaac

Isaac earned his nod in the Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series for his performance in the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero. It’s his first nomination in an acting category. He previously was nominated in the Song category for co-penning “Please Mr. Kennedy” for the film Inside Llewyn Davis with Adam Driver and Justin Timberlake.

Gina Rodriguez, who earned a Golden Globe earlier this year, picked up her second consecutive nomination in the Actress in a Comedy Series category for her starring role in The CW’s Jane the Virgin.

Rodriguez’s Jane the Virgin co-star Jamie Camil picked up his second nod in the Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category for his role as Rodriguez’s onscreen father. He’ll face off against Mel Rodriguez, who received his nomination for his performance on HBO’s Getting On.

In the film section, Alejandro González Iñárritu earned a nod in the Director category for helming the western drama/thriller The Revenant, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. The Mexican filmmaker was nominated last year in the same category for directing Birdman. He lost in that category, but took home the Screenplay trophy for the same film.

Meanwhile, the film’s lenser Emmanuel Lubezki received a nom in the Cinematography category. He’s the two-time reigning champion in the category after winning for his work on Gravity in 2014 and Birdman in 2015. He also won the prize in 2012 for The Tree of Life.

Paco Delgado picked up a nod in the Costume Design category for his work on The Danish Girl. He previously was nominated in 2013 for his work on Les Misérables.

Hosted by T.J. Miller, the awards show will be held on January 17 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. It will air simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and LMN.

Here are the categories featuring Latino nominees for the 21st annual Critics’ Choice Awards:

MOVIE

DIRECTOR
Todd Haynes – Carol
Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott – The Martian
Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Carol – Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight – Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road – John Seale
The Martian – Dariusz Wolski
The Revenant – Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario – Roger Deakins

COSTUME DESIGN
Brooklyn – Odile Dicks-Mireaux
Carol – Sandy Powell
Cinderella – Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl – Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beavan

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Assassin
Goodnight Mommy
Mustang
The Second Mother
Son of Saul

TELEVISION

ACTOR IN A MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION OR LIMITED SERIES
Wes Bentley – American Horror Story: Hotel – FX
Martin Clunes – Arthur & George – PBS
Idris Elba – Luther – BBC America
Oscar Isaac – Show Me a Hero – HBO
Vincent Kartheiser – Saints & Strangers – National Geographic Channel
Patrick Wilson – Fargo – FX

ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Rachel Bloom – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – The CW
Aya Cash – You’re the Worst – FXX
Wendi McLendon-Covey – The Goldbergs – ABC
Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin – The CW
Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish – ABC
Constance Wu – Fresh Off the Boat – ABC

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Fox
Jaime Camil – Jane the Virgin – The CW
Jay Duplass – Transparent – Amazon
Neil Flynn – The Middle – ABC
Keegan-Michael Key – Playing House – USA
Mel Rodriguez – Getting On – HBO

Sanchez Earns Two World Soundtrack Awards for Composing the Music for “Birdman”

Antonio Sanchez is flying high

The 43-year-old Mexican jazz drummer and composer took home two awards on Saturday at the 15th World Soundtrack Awards which served as the finale to the 42nd Film Fest Ghent in Belgium.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 6.22.51 AM

Sanchez, a Critics Choice Movie Award winner earlier this year, was named Discovery of the Year 2015 for composing the music for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar-winning film Birdman.

He also picked up the award for Best Original Film Score of the Year for Birdman.

Sanchez’s work also earned him the nomination for 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, a nomination for the 2015 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), and other nominations.

Meanwhile, the honor for the year’s Best Original Song written directly for a movie went to “The Apology Song” from The Book of Life, with music by Gustavo Santaolalla, lyrics by Paul Williams and performed by Diego Luna.

Here’s a look at all the big winners:

Composer of the Year
Michael Giacchino

Original Film Score of the Year
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) by Antonio Sanchez

 Best Original Song Written for a Film
“The Apology Song” from The Book of Life
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla, lyrics by Paul Williams, performed by Diego Luna 

Discovery of the Year
Antonio Sanchez for ‘Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ 

Sabam Award for Best Young Composer
Peer Kleinschmidt 

Public Choice Award
The Maze Runner by John Paesano 

Lifetime Achievement Award
Patrick Doyle

Gonzalez Iñárritu to Lead Panel Discussion at Produced By: New York Conference

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu will school people on his process and latest project…

The 52-year-old Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker will be the featured speaker at the second Produced By: New York conference later this month.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 4.48.48 AM

The headlining panel, Producers’ Masterclass: An Adventurous Partnership with Alejandro G. Iñárritu, will feature the Oscar and Producers Guild Award-winning filmmaker alongside his producing team — Mary Parent, Steve Golin, and Brad Weston — as they talk about their latest film, The Revenant.

Iñárritu and his team join previously announced Tina Fey and a roster of leading industry producers and executives including Effie Brown, Bruce Cohen, Barbara Hall, John Hoffman, Navid Khonsari, Michelle King, Robert King, Michael London, Gary Lucchesi, Tom McCarthy, Lori McCreary, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Peter Saraf, Darren Star & Christine Vachon.

Discovery Communications is the presenting sponsor of PBNY, which takes place Saturday, October 24th and is hosted by Time Warner Inc. and HBO at the Time Warner Center in New York City.