Rodrigo Prieto Awarded Vilcek Prize in Filmmaking by Vilcek Foundation

Rodrigo Prieto is a trailblazer…

The 55-year-old Mexican Oscar-nominated cinematographer is the recipient of the 2021 Vilcek Prize in Filmmaking, according to the Vilcek Foundation.

Rodrigo Prieto

The award is part of the Vilcek Foundation Prizes, which are bestowed in a range of categories each year, in celebration of the outstanding contributions of immigrant trailblazers, within the arts and sciences.

Prieto, a Mexican native, has established himself over the years as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after DPs. Boasting credits including Amores Perros and Brokeback Mountain, he’s known for his collaborations with renowned directors including Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Julie Taymor, Oliver Stone and Alejandro González Iñárritu.

A three-time Academy Awards nominee most recently recognized by the Academy for his groundbreaking work on Scorsese’s The Irishman, Prieto has also received accolades for his work from BAFTA, the American Society of Cinematographers and the Independent Spirit Awards.

Known for his unconventional camerawork, and his remarkably detailed, evocative compositions, the DP grew up with a visual artist for a mother and an aeronautical engineer for a father. Thus, in his own career, he would come to balance technology with artistry, aiming with each new project to create a distinctive and visceral, cinematic experience. “That combination…is something that I have in my DNA,” Prieto says, “utilizing technology and different techniques to create art.”

Established in 2006, as a means of championing diverse perspectives—thereby advancing the arts and sciences—The Vilcek Foundation has thus far awarded over $5.8 million to immigrants from 56 different countries.

“As leaders in the arts, we have a responsibility to promote diversity by making space, providing access, and amplifying the artistic contributions of marginalized groups and individuals,” Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel says. “The Vilcek Prizes in the arts and humanities enable us to speak to the value of immigration for our society in a non-politicized way.”

This year, other prize recipients include geneticist Ruth Lehmann, chemical biologist Mohamed Abou Donia, entrepreneur (and former presidential candidate) Andrew Yang, and a number of filmmakers—among them, Juan Pablo González, Miko Revereza and Nanfu Wang.

González has been awarded the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Filmmaking for the artistic rigor and deep emotional engagement that he brings to his immersive and intimate explorations of his hometown in rural Mexico.

Up next for Prieto is Scorsese’s sprawling crime drama, Killers of the Flower Moon. Set in 1920s Oklahoma, the Apple Original Film centers on an investigation into a string of brutal murders within the Osage tribe. Eric Roth wrote the script, adapting an acclaimed work of nonfiction by David Grann.

Adriana Barraza to Star in Amazon Studios’ ‘Welcome To The Blumhouse’ Anthology Horror Film “Bingo”

Adriana Barraza is playing bingo

The 65-year-old Mexican Oscar-nominated actress will serve up some scares in Amazon Studios’ next slate of films in the horror anthology Welcome To The Blumhouse. Barraza will star in Bingo directed and co-written by rising genre filmmaker Gigi Saul Guerrero. The film is currently in production.

Adriana Barraza

The collaboration is a Latinx-driven narrative that includes two generations of Mexican artists. In this case, Barraza and the up and comer Guerrero.

Set in the barrio of Oak Springs, Bingo follows a strong and stubborn group of elderly friends who refuse to be gentrified.  Barraza plays the leader of the pack, Lupita, a “chingona” who grew up in the neighborhood formerly filled with crime and dangerous characters. Lupita has dedicated her life to cleaning up the neighborhood and creating a community the residents could be proud to call home. Little does Lupita and her friends know, their beloved bingo hall (hence the title) is about to be sold to a much more powerful force than money itself.

Bingo continues Amazon Prime Video’s Welcome to the Blumhouse slate of genre, horror-thriller films highlighting female and emerging filmmakers, and diverse casts with new and established actors in unexpected roles. The upcoming 2021 slate for the anthology also includes The Manor, Black as Night, and Madres

Guerrero co-wrote Bingo with Shane McKenzie and Perry Blackshear. The film comes from Blumhouse Television and Amazon Studios.

Prime Video launched the Welcome to the Blumhouse in October of last year with Black
Box
, The Lie, Evil Eye and Nocturne.

Barraza’s career spans more than 40 years in film, television and theater. In 1999, Barraza starred in a breakout role opposite Gael Garcia Bernal in Amores Perros directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, who she worked with again in 2006 on BabelShe is one of only six Mexican actresses to ever receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu to Become First Mexican to Serve as President of Cannes Film Festival Jury

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is representing Mexico in France in a big way…

The 55-year-old Mexican filmmaker, a four-time Academy Award winner, has been selected as the president of the Cannes Film Festival jury. 

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

He will head the Official Selection competition at the 72nd edition of the highly regarded festival, and will be the first Mexican artist to sit in the position.

Inarritu’s relationship with the fest goes back to when his film Amores Perros won the Critics’ Week sidebar back in 2000. From there, he would be a mainstay, winning director honors for Babel in 2006. 

In 2010, Biutiful screened at the fest while his VR project installation Carne y Arenawas an official selection in 2017.

“Cannes is a festival that has been important to me since the beginning of my career,” said Inarritu in a statement. “I am humbled and thrilled to return this year with the immense honor of presiding over the Jury. Cinema runs through the veins of the planet and this festival has been its heart. We on the jury will have the privilege to witness the new and excellent work of fellow filmmakers from all over the planet. This is a true delight and a responsibility, that we will assume with passion and devotion.”

Pierre Lescure, Cannes President, and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate, are “delighted” that Inarritu accepted the invitation. “Not only is he a daring filmmaker and a director who is full of surprises, Alejandro is also a man of conviction, an artist of his time,” they said in a joint statement.

The Cannes Film Festival will take place from May 14-25.

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

LACMA to Honor González Iñárritu at This Year’s Art + Film Gala

Alejandro González Iñárritu is being feted for his “daring and nimble vision”…

The 51-year-old Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker will be honored alongside light and space artist James Turrell at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s fifth Art + Film Gala on November 7.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

LACMA trustee Eva Chow and actor Leonardo DiCaprio will once again co-chair the annual fundraiser presented by Gucci.

“In only a few years, LACMA’s Art + Film Gala has established its reputation for honoring artists and filmmakers whose impact can be felt worldwide and that have particular relevance to Los Angeles, and James Turrell and Alejandro G. Inarritu certainly fit that bill,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg director, who further elaborated on the selections.

“In the last two decades, Inarritu has displayed a daring and nimble vision for films including Birdman and Babel; his work has rightly garnered the highest of critical acclaim.”

González Iñárritu won three golden statuettes as the 87th Academy Awards for Birdman, becoming the first-ever three-time Latino Oscar winner in history.

His five feature films – Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), Biutiful (2010) and Birdman (2014) – have garnered wide acclaim.

Past honorees include Barbara Kruger, Quentin Tarantino, David HockneyMartin ScorseseEd Ruscha and Stanley Kubrick.

“The Art + Film Gala is now an annual highlight and brings together figures from the worlds of art, cinema, fashion and music to support the museum,” said longtime supporter and fashion designer Chow. “It’s a real honor and my pleasure to welcome two such unique and greatly talented artists whose work moves and inspires me deeply. And I am thrilled to co-chair this important fundraiser with Leonardo DiCaprio, whose support for this initiative is so critical.”

Funds from the Art + Film Gala support LACMA’s growing mission to make film a more prominent aspect of the museum’s programming, by way of exhibitions, educational sessions and screenings that explore how the film and art worlds converge.

Barraza to Star in USA Network’s Drama Pilot “Queen Of The South”

Adriana Barraza’s heading south for the upcoming television season…

The 58-year-old Mexican actress, an Oscar nominee for her performance in Babel, has landed a starring role in USA Network’s drama pilot Queen Of The South.

Adriana Barraza

The project, an English-language adaptation of Telemundo’s blockbuster 2011 telenovela La Reina del Sur, is based on the best-selling book by Arturo Perez-Reverte.

Queen Of The South centers on Teresa Mendoza (portrayed by Alice Braga), who’s forced to go on the run when her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico.

Barraza will play Camilla, the lioness ex-wife of a powerful drug lord who is establishing her own empire in America.

She quickly becomes a mother figure to Teresa (Braga), but their relationship escalates into a battle of wills that will leave more than a few bodies in its wake.

Barraza most recently appeared in Guillermo del Toro’s FX series The Strain and the feature Cake. Her 0ther film credits include Amores Perros, Thor, Drag Me To Hell and The 33.

The Queen of the South cast includes Justina Machado and Hemky Madera.

Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman” to Close the New York Film Festival

Alejandro González Iñárritu is bringing his bird to the Big Apple…

Birdman, a dramedy co-written and directed by the 50-year-old Mexican filmmaker, has been selected as the closing night film at this year’s New York Film Festival on October 12, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

The film, which is being distributed by Fox Searchlight and will be released in theaters on October 17, will have its world premiere on the opening night of the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 27.

Birdman stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up movie star trying to revive his career on Broadway. The cast also includes Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifianakis, Merritt Wever, Edward Norton, Amy Ryan and Naomi Watts.

Birdman

The film was lensed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity), reportedly in a way that gives the appearance that the entire film is one continuous shot.

A González Iñárritu film closed the NYFF once before: 21 Grams screened in that slot in 2003. (The director’s first trip to the fest, though, was in 2000, with Amores Perros.)

González Iñárritu’s Black Comedy “Birdman” to be Released in October

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s next project will be migrating to theaters in October…

Fox Searchlight co-president Stephen Gilula has announced that the 50-year-old Mexican filmmaker’s Birdman will open in theaters on Friday, October 17.

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman

The film isn’t expected to complete post-production until late May or early June, with producers it eyeing fall festivals for its premiere.

It’s González Iñárritu’s first black comedy, following the Academy Award-nominated director’s dramatic films Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006) and Biutiful.

“It’s the heart of the fall, and a great time historically for us with films like Sideways, 12 Years A Slave, and historically Slumdog Millionaire and Black Swan,” Gilula tells Deadline.com. “We’ve had great success launching films at festivals, but this hasn’t been screened for anyone, despite the speculation. Alejandro is famous for his meticulous work in post-production, and this film is unusual for him in that is has some visual effects, and an unusual sound design. The most important thing is to make sure that the film is right.”

The film has an all-star cast that includes Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and his muse Naomi Watts, who appeared in the director’s Babel and 21 Grams.

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman

Keaton plays a washed up actor who once played an iconic superhero who tries to mount a stage play despite his dysfunction and the dysfunction of others in his repertoire.

Inarritu wrote the film with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo.

González Iñárritu Reportedly In Talks to Direct “The Jungle Book”

It appears Alejandro González Iñárritu may be booking a trip to the jungle for his next project…

Warner Bros. is reportedly in early talks with the 50-year-old Mexican filmmaker to direct The Jungle Book, a new version of the popular Rudyard Kipling novel about an orphaned boy raised in the wilderness by animals, according to Deadline.com.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

The project is one of the studio’s top priorities, with a script by Callie Kloves, daughter of Harry Potter series scribe Steve Kloves, who is producing the film.

Bur this isn’t the only Jungle Book project in the works…

Disney is pursuing its own live action version of The Jungle Book, recently hiring Elf and Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau to direct the film.

The book is public domain, but as usual the first one to make it into production usually becomes the Tarzan of the jungle.

After several serious dramas including Amores perros, Babel and 21 Grams, Iñárritu recently took on a comedy for his most recent film Birdman, which is wrapping up now.

He’s also attached to the New Regency 1820s frontier revenge tale The Revenant.