Ana Golja’s Award-Winning Film “The Cuban” to Play at Sunset Barrie Drive-in Theatre

Ana Golja’s latest project is headed to the big screen in a special way…

The S.N.A.P. Films Inc. production The Cuban, starring the 24-year-old part-Spanish Canadian actress, will play at Ontario’s Sunset Barrie Drive-in Theatre on Tuesday, August 11.

Ana Golja

The film, the third feature from director Sergio Navarretta co-starring legendary Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr., follows the film’s 2019/2020 festival run, including a World Premiere at the Whistler Film Festival, where the film won a Borsos Award for Cinematography, followed by a U.S. premiere in February at the Pan African Film + Arts Festival, where the film won both a Special Programmers Award and the coveted Audience Favorite for Feature Narrative Award.

The Cuban, which Golja produced, had originally been slated to open theatrically in April, but like all film and cultural events had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ana Golja, The Cuban

However, following a successful and warmly received screening as part of the virtual edition of the Canadian Film Festival on Super Channel, the filmmakers and team at A71 have decided to bring the film to Canadian audiences.

The drive-in release is a natural follow-up to the film’s Toronto premiere event on July 20, opening the Lavazza Drive-In Film Festival presented by the Italian Contemporary Film Festival.

The Cuban is a touching story of a friendship that blossoms through music and the power of the imagination – and the film is incredibly topical at a moment that the world has its eyes on the realities of long-term care.

A naive pre-med student named Mina (Golja) gets her first job in a nursing home and meets an elderly Cuban jazz musician named Luis (Gossett). When the young woman realizes music triggers Luis’ memories, she uses it to break him out of his dementia and to create moments of lucidity and joy.

At the heart of The Cuban is music. In the film, music dissolves the boundaries of age, ethnicity, gender, culture and politics. It bridges the present with the past and has the power to trigger memory and awaken long-forgotten emotions. Afro-Cuban Jazz, permeates The Cuban, drawing in the audience in the same way it draws in the characters. It brings vibrancy and joy to a previously stale environment and it triggers the pulsating, sensuous and colorful world of Luis’ own imagination.

The film’s incredible soundtrack was composed by multi Juno Award winner and Grammy nominated artist, Hilario Duran. Duran grew up and received his musical training in Havana and has since gone on to work with legendary musicians like Chucho ValdesDizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval. He is a widely respected piano virtuoso on the international jazz scene.

In addition to Golja and Gossett, The Cuban also stars Shohreh AghdashlooLauren Holly and Giacomo Gianniotti

“We are extremely excited to finally be bringing this beautiful and affecting drama to drive-in theatres this summer”, says A71 CEO, Justin Rebelo. “Sergio Navarretta has crafted a thoughtful and moving film with a powerful central performance from one of the truly great actors of our time, Louis Gossett Jr., surrounded by an incredible cast of Canadian and international stars. Another star of the film is the incredible original score by Afro-Cuban artist Hilario Duran. The warmth and lyricism of the music feels like a perfect fit for a hot summer drive-in experience.”

The Cuban was written by Alessandra Piccione and lensed by Celiana Cardenas.

Yalitza Aparicio Among the Latino Professionals Invited to Join The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)

Yalitza Aparicio’s joining The Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has released its annual list of invitations to join the organization, with the 26-year-old Mexican actress and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples among the 819 extended an invite.

Yalitza Aparicio

Aparicio, one of Time magazine’s100 most influential people in the world in 2019,earned an Oscar nod in the Best Actress category for her performance in Alfonso Cuarón‘s 2018 Spanish-language drama Roma. With the nomination for her actig debut, she became the first Indigenous American woman and the second Mexican woman to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

But Aparcio isn’t the only Latino/a to make the list…

Other invitees in the Actors branch include Bobby Cannavale, who appeared in The IrishmanOverboard’s Eva LongoriaKnives Out star Ana de Armas and Gringo actor Yul Vazquez.

Invitees in the Music branch include Andrea Guerra (Hotel Rwanda) and Cuban-American jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, who worked on the music for Clint Eastwood’s films Richard Jewell and The Mule.

The Directors branch sent out invitations to Latino filmmakers Icíar Bolláin (Spanish), Felipe Cazals (Mexican), Sebastián Cordero (Ecuadorian), Luis Estrada (Mexican), Alejandro Landes (Colombian-Ecuadorian),Jorge Alí Triana (Colombian) and  Andrés Wood (Chilean).

This year’s new class demonstrates The Academy’s commitment to erasing the stigma of not being inclusive, particularly in terms of women, international members and underrepresented ethnic/racial communities.

The organization reports this year’s class breakdown is 49% international, 45% women, and 36% underrepresented ethnic/racial. 

The overwhelming number of those invited to join the Academy end up accepting. 

The total active membership in 2019 was 8,946, with 8,733 eligible to vote. Total membership including active, voting and retired was 9,794.  Today’s additions will take the membership count past the 10,000 mark.

AMPAS says members can voluntarily  disclose their race/ethnicity, sex or can choose “prefer not to.” So, demo stats may not be 100% accurate. AMPAS also “recognizes and respects” the personal choice in identification, but doesn’t track LGBTQ+ or differently abled, although a source says, while protecting privacy and not forcing answers, they are “working towards it.” In other words this is no longer your father’s Academy.

 “We take great pride in the strides we have made in exceeding our initial inclusion goals set back in 2016, but acknowledge the road ahead is a long one,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “We are committed to staying the course.”

“The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences.  We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” said Academy President David Rubin.

Here’s a look at some of this year’s Latino invitees:

Actors
Yalitza Aparicio – “Roma”
Bobby Cannavale – “The Irishman,” “The Station Agent”
Ana de Armas – “Knives Out,” “Blade Runner 2049”
Eva Longoria – “Overboard,” “Harsh Times”
Yul Vazquez – “Gringo,” “Last Flag Flying”

Casting Directors
Libia Batista – “Eres Tú Papá?,” “Viva”
Javier Braier – “The Two Popes,” “Wild Tales”
Eva Leira – “Pain and Glory,” “Biutiful”
Yesi Ramirez – “The Hate U Give,” “Moonlight”
Yolanda Serrano – “Pain and Glory,” “Biutiful”

Cinematographers
Óscar Faura – “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “The Imitation Game”

Directors
Icíar Bolláin – “Even the Rain,” “Take My Eyes”
Felipe Cazals – “El Año de la Peste,” “Canoa: A Shameful Memory”
Sebastián Cordero – “Europa Report,” “Crónicas”
Luis Estrada – “The Perfect Dictatorship,” “Herod’s Law”
Alejandro Landes – “Monos,” “Porfirio”
Jorge Alí Triana – “Bolívar Soy Yo,” “A Time to Die”
Andrés Wood – “Araña,” “Violeta Went to Heaven”

Documentary
Cristina Amaral – “Um Filme de Verão (A Summer Film),” “Person”
Violeta Ayala – “Cocaine Prison,” “The Bolivian Case”
Julia Bacha – “Naila and the Uprising,” “Budrus”
Almudena Carracedo – “The Silence of Others,” “Made in L.A.”
Paola Castillo – “Beyond My Grandfather Allende,” “Genoveva”
Paz Encina – “Memory Exercises,” “Paraguayan Hammock”
Mariana Oliva – “The Edge of Democracy,” “Piripkura”
Iván Osnovikoff – “Los Reyes,” “La Muerte de Pinochet (The Death of Pinochet)”
Tiago Pavan – “The Edge of Democracy,” “Olmo and the Seagull”
Bettina Perut – “Los Reyes,” “La Muerte de Pinochet (The Death of Pinochet)”
Marta Rodriguez – “Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future,” “Campesinos (Peasants)”

Executives
Ozzie Areu
Barbara Peiro
Frank Rodriguez
Mimi Valdes

Film Editors
Alejandro Carrillo Penovi – “Heroic Losers,” “The Clan”
Alex Marquez – “Snowden,” “Savages”

Makeup Artists and Hairstylists
Mari Paz Robles – “I Dream in Another Language,” “Cantinflas”
David Ruiz Gameros – “Tear This Heart Out,” “Amores Perros”
Susana Sánchez – “The Liberator,” “Goya’s Ghosts”

Marketing and Public Relations
Inma Carbajal-Fogel
Emmanuelle Castro
Fernando Garcia
Dustin M. Sandoval

Music
Andrea Guerra – “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Hotel Rwanda”
Arturo Sandoval – “Richard Jewell,” “The Mule”

Producers
Edher Campos – “Sonora, the Devil’s Highway,” “The Golden Dream”
Nicolas Celis – “Roma,” “Tempestad”
Alex Garcia – “Kong: Skull Island,” “Desierto”
Enrique López Lavigne – “The Impossible,” “Sex and Lucia”
Álvaro Longoria – “Everybody Knows,” “Finding Altamira”
Mónica Lozano – “I Dream in Another Language,” “Instructions Not Included”
Gabriela Maire – “Las Niñas Bien (The Good Girls),” “La Caridad (Charity)”
Luis Manso – “Champions,” “Binta and the Great 
Gabriela Rodríguez – “Roma,” “Gravity”
Mar Targarona – “Secuestro (Boy Missing),” “The Orphanage”
Luis Urbano – “Letters from War,” “Tabu”

Production Design
Sandra Cabriada – “Instructions Not Included,” “The Mexican”
Estefanía Larraín – “A Fantastic Woman,” “Neruda”

Short Films and Feature Animation
José David Figueroa García – “Perfidia,” “Ratitas”
Oscar Grillo – “Monsters, Inc.,” “Monsieur Pett”
Otto Guerra – “City of Pirates,” “Wood & Stock: Sexo, Orégano e Rock’n’Roll”
Isabel Herguera – “Winter Love,” “Under the Pillow”
Summer Joy Main-Muñoz – “Don’t Say No,” “La Cerca”
Juan Pablo Zaramella – “Luminaris,” “The Glove”

Sound
David Esparza – “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Equalizer”

Visual Effects
Leandro Estebecorena – “The Irishman,” “Kong: Skull Island”

Members-at-Large
Daniel Molina
Carlos Morales
Jesse Torres

Camila Cabello Kicks Off Grammy Awards Show with Sizzling Performance of “Havana”

Camila Cabello is Havana great time at the Grammys

The 21-year-old Cuban and Mexican singer kicked off the 2019 Grammy Awards with flash and style, and a show-opening blast of Latin pop saborduring a steamy performance of “Havana” that included J Balvin, Ricky Martin, Young Thug and legendary Cuban-American jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.

Camila Cabello

The performance, which included cameos from her abuela, sister and parents, opened with a brightly colored set dressed to look like a street in Cuba, serving as an homage to the jams that took place on the patio at Cabello’s grandmother’s childhood home in Havana.

With extras scattered about dancing, banging on improvised percussion, playing dice and hanging on the corner, Cabello — wearing a yellow skirt and matching bikini top that echoed the hue of her dress in the “Havana” video — stripped off a red robe as a friend primped her inside a pink-lit bedroom.

Making her way to a green room next door, Cabello threw in some Spanglish riffs as the neighbor downstairs banged on the ceiling, even as the singer made her way down a fire escape to join a group of dancers in primary colored dresses swinging colorful bandanas. Dropping a yellow one, Cabello caught the attention of Thug, who strolled up in bejeweled tux with silver boots for a verse backed by a group of loose-hipped male and female dancers.

The street jam heated up as Martin shimmied out in a white suit and spun Cabello around and the stage exploded in a riot of sensual salseros. Sandoval took a bleating solo, segueing smoothly into J Balvin’s spotlight, which opened with him sitting on a park bench reading a paper with the pointed headline “Build Bridges Not Walls.”

J Balvin, wearing a red track suit, asked where his people were in Spanish, as he joined Cabello and Martin center stage to soak in the the standing ovation.

Havana (Live)” was up for best pop solo performance tonight, though Cabello lost to Lady Gaga.

Ricky Martin to Perform Alongside Camila Cabello at This Year’s Grammys

Ricky Martinis getting into the Grammy spirit…

The Recording Academy has announced that the 47-year-old Puerto Rican superstar will take the stage during this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony.

Ricky Martin

Martin, a two-time Grammy winner, will join Camila Cabelloduring her show opening number.

In addition to Martin, J BalvinYoung Thugand Arturo Sandovalare also expected to appear alongside Cabello, a two-time nominee this year.

Additionally, the show will feature a special tribute to eight-time Grammywinner, Dolly Parton, who will also take to the stage for the first time in 18 years to perform her new music.

Set to perform the iconic country star’s classic hits will be Katy PerryKacey MusgravesLittle Big Townand Maren Morris. Parton will then take center stage to sing her latest tunes from her 2018 album, Dumplin’ — the soundtrack to Netflix’s original motion picture by the same name starring Jennifer Aniston.

Previously announced artists performing during the biggest night in music include Cardi BDan + ShayH.E.R., Post MaloneShawn MendesJanelle Monáe,Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Diana Ross.

Hosted by Alicia Keys, the 61st Annual Grammy Awards will take place live from the Staples Center on Sunday, February 10 at 8:00 pm ET, and will be broadcast live on CBS.

Sparked by Its Use in iPhone 7 Ad, Sandoval’s “La Virgen de la Macarena” Gains New Audience

Arturo Sandoval is expannding his audience…

The 67-year-old Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer’s bullfighting song, “La Virgen de la Macarena,” continues its olé-worthy run on Billboard’s Latin Digital Songs chart.

Arturo Sandoval

Sparked by the 2003 track’s use an iPhone 7 ad, it currently ranks No. 2 on the chart, right behind right behind Shakira and Maluma’s hit “Chantaje.”

The Apple spot, “Dive,” was shot in Barcelona and features a virile man of a certain age who bears a winking resemblance to Pablo Picasso, who continued to seduce young muses in his senior years.

The week before the Apple ad debuted in early November, Sandoval’s “La Virgin de la Macarena” sold 5 downloads. In the commercial’s first week, the track sold 1,362 downloads.

The song had 35,000 Shazam tags in November, and a total of 6,000 downloads sold and 83,000 streams.

“La Virgen de la Macarena,” also known popularly as “the bullfighting song,” is a classic paso doble, a rousing piece of sonic bravura synonymous with the bullring. Written by Spanish composers Bernardo Bautista and Antonio Ortiz, it has been covered by artists including Paco de Lucia, Trio Los Panchos, Maynard Ferguson and Canadian Brass, but was first widely popularized through a recording of the piece by Mexican trumpeter Rafael Mendez.

The Virgen de la Macarena of the song is a statue of the Virgin Mary that resides in the cathedral in Seville, Spain. La Macarena has historically been closely associated with matadors and bullfighting. In 1920, the Virgen was dressed all in black to mourn the famous bullfighter Joselito, who died after being gored in the ring.

Sandoval’s version of “La Virgen de la Macarena” was included on his 2003 album Trumpet Evolution, an homage to great jazz trumpet players that also includes the Chet Baker classic “My Funny Valentine” and “’Round Midnight.” The album was released by Emilio Estefan’s Crescent Moon label.

“La Virgen De La Macarena” had its biggest week in the time frame ending November 24, when the song sold 2,200 downloads, a 96 percent increase from the week prior. It was streamed 23,000 times, an 84 percent increase from the week before.

The latest chart (for week of January 21) marks the track’s peak at no. 2 on the Latin Digital Song Sales chart, with 3,013 downloads.

The “Dive” ad currently has over 4 1/2 million views on YouTube, and thanks to Apple, new fans of “La Virgen de la Macarena” who may have never been anywhere near a bullring have discovered its brassy, dramatic appeal.

“I’m playing this song right before I do anything!” wrote one customer in the comments on the song’s Amazon Music page.

Sandoval Named Artistic Advisor at the Wallis Annenberg Center

Here’s your chance to learn from living legend Arturo Sandoval

The 65-year-old Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer is among the masters scheduled to teach at the Wallis Annenberg Center.

Arturo Sandoval

Sandoval, was the subject of the 2000 television film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, starring Andy García, will serve as an artistic advisor to the Center, where he’ll teach master classes open to the public and take part in other activities on the campus.

Sandoval, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, will be joined by Broadway diva Patti LuPone and Oscar– and Tony-winning actor Denzel Washington, among others.

“We are proud to welcome five extraordinary Artistic Advisors to The Wallis for the upcoming season,” Patricia Wolff, interim artistic director, said in announcing the lineup. “These are artists who define excellence in theater, dance and music. They are not just advisors in name but will participate in the season with a focus on education.”

Sandoval’s master classes, which will be open to the public, will take place on October 27.

All events will take place in the Bram Goldsmith Theater.

Visit www.thewallis.org for information.

Prince Royce to Give Hispanic Heritage Month Performance at White House

Prince Royce will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the White House

The 24-year-old Dominican American singer-songwriter will join Gloria Estefan, Arturo Sandoval and other musicians to bring their Latin sounds to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next week.

Prince Royce

The latest “In Performance at the White House” program will be taped on Monday and will showcase Latin music during Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from September 15-October 15.

In addition to Prince Royce, Estefan and Sandoval, the White House says Ricky Martin, Lila Downs, Raul Malo, Romeo Santos, Alejandro Sanz, Natalie Cole and Marco Antonio Solis also are expected to join President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, to help highlight a variety of styles of Latin music.

The first lady also will host a workshop for area students on the history of Latin music on Monday afternoon.

The entire program will be streamed live on WhiteHouse.gov on Monday. It will be also broadcast by PBS stations nationwide on October 8.

Molina Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Mario Molina has earned a major presidential honor…

The 70-year-old Mexican chemist and environmental scientist has been named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Mario Molina

Molina, the first Mexican-born citizen to ever receive a Nobel Prize in chemistry, joins a list of 16 individuals that includes jazz musician Arturo Sandoval, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, veteran Washington Post journalist Ben Bradlee, former President Bill Clinton and country singer Loretta Lynn.

The award established 50 years ago by President John F. Kennedy is the country’s highest civilian honor given to Americans who’ve made contributions “to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Molina, one of the most prominent precursors to the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, has received several awards and honors throughout his career, sharing the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Paul J. Crutzen for their discovery of the role of chlorofluorocarbon gases (CFCs) in ozone depletion.

Molina had been assigned by President Barack Obama to form part of the transition team on environmental issues.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science.

This year’s other honorees include: baseball player Ernie Banks, Senator Daniel Inouye (posthumous), Nobel Prize-winning scholar Daniel Kahneman, Senator Richard Lugar, astronaut Sally Ride (posthumous), civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (posthumous), ex-UNC basketball coach Dean Smith, Gloria Steinem, civil rights leader Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, and Judge Patricia Wald.

“The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” said President Obama. “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”

Sandoval to Perform at Spain’s Fijazz International Jazz Festival

Arturo Sandoval is bringing his jazzy sound to the Iberian Peninsula…

The 63-year-old Cuba-born jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer will perform at the 16th Fijazz International Jazz Festival in Alicante, Spain.

Arturo Sandoval

Sandoval, a nine-time Grammy-winning artist, will join Michel Camilo, James Carter, Gregory Porter, Al Jarreau and Branford Marsalis as scheduled performers during the July 9-23 event at the Adda auditorium, organizers said.

The 2013 installment of the popular festival features artists from the Latin and Anglo jazz traditions in equal measure

The head of cultural affairs in Alicante province stressed the importance of the festival for the region.

“This year we have made a very solid commitment to the festival and we have expanded the roster of artists, which will allow the public to hear live seven great artists who, together, have more than 20 Grammys,” said Juan Bautista Rosello said.

Sandoval has released nearly 50 albums, most recently 2012’s Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You).

He was the subject of the 2000 television film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, starring Andy García.

Jesse & Joy Win Big at the Latin Grammys…

There’s plenty of joy in Jesse & Joy’s world this week…

The Mexican pop/rock duo proved to be the ultimate victor at Thursday night’s Latin Grammy Awards show.

Jesse & Joy

The 29-year-old Jesse Huerta and his 26-year-old hermanita Joy Huerta picked up four awards during the show, including best record, song and contemporary pop vocal album.

“Thanks to the best fans in the world,” said Jesse, who with his sister picked up the Best New Artist award at the 2007 Latin Grammys. “It feels incredible. We’ve not been at the Latin Grammys since 2007, so this feels like a great comeback.”

Jesse & Joy, who recently released the music video for the duo’s latest single “¿Con Quién Se Queda El Perro?, also won the award for best short form music video for their single “Me Voy.”

Meanwhile, Colombian pop-rock singer Juanes, who will launch a tour next May, took home two awards for his MTV Unplugged set, including album of the year and best short form music video. When asked if he gets nervous before an awards show, he said that he definitely thinks about the entire process.

“I don’t suffer,” said Juanes. “You think maybe it’s there, maybe it’s not. These wins are much more than I imaged.”

Cuban jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval won two trophies for best Latin jazz album (“Dear Diz – Every Day I Think of You“) and best tango album (“Tango – Como Yo Te Siento“).

“I’d like to dedicate this award to my father who turned me on to the tango,” said Sandoval as he received his award. “He was a mechanic, but when he spoke about the tango he knew all of the melodies.”

Mexico’s Carla Morrison, one of the year’s most celebrated indie pop acts, took the prize for best alternative song for her emotionally-driven “Déjenme Llorar,” a song about breaking up, which has helped the singer/songwriter become a YouTube sensation. Later she also won for best alternative music album.

“This is also for all the kids who have broken hearts,” Morrison said.

Mexico’s DJ collective 3BallMTY won the best new artist trophy in an acceptance speech that left the teen act in tears.

“We’re very happy and we really wanted this,” said a tearful Albert Presenda, aka DJ Otto. “We especially want to thank our families who have put up with so much of our traveling.”

Other winners included Pepe Aguilar for best ranchero album, Milly Quezada for best contemporary tropical album for “Aqui Estoy Yo,” Fonseca‘s Ilusion+ for best tropical fusion album — beating out Prince Royce — and Tucanes de Tijuana‘s 365 Dias for best norteño album.

Hosted by actress/singer Lucero and actor Cristian de la Fuente, the first round of awards included a prize for Spanish pop singer David Bisbal, who won for best pop traditional vocal album.

Earlier in the day during the Latin Grammy pre-telecast, more than 30 awards were given in a ceremony at the House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, including producer of the year to Juan Luis Guerra.

For a complete list of winners, go to latingrammy.com.