HBO Max Gives Series Order to Rosario Dawson’s Futuristic Drama “DMZ”

Rosario Dawson is heading to the demilitarized zone

HBO Max has given a series order to Ava DuVernay and Roberto Patino’s DMZ, starring the 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist.

Rosario Dawson

HBO Max ordered four episodes of the limited series, a futuristic drama set amid a second American civil war and based on the DC Comics series.

Production on the series is scheduled to start in 2021.

DMZ stars  Dawson and Benjamin Bratt in the lead roles, alongside Hoon Lee, Freddy Miyares and Jordan Preston Carter.

DMZ is set in the near future, when America is embroiled in a bitter civil war, leaving Manhattan a demilitarized zone (DMZ), destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world. It chronicles the harrowing journey of fearless and fierce medic Alma Ortega (Dawson) to find the son she lost in the evacuation of New York City at the onset of the conflict. Throwing gasoline on the flames of that conflict is Parco Delgado (Bratt), the popular, and deadly, leader of one of the most powerful gangs in the DMZ. He wants to rule this new world and will stop at nothing to secure that outcome.

The drama will examine the stark political and cultural divide in American society, where Alma must contend with the gangs, militias, demagogues and warlords that control this lawless no man’s land. In doing so, she becomes the unlikely source of what everyone there has lost…hope.

Patino, who will write all episodes and showrun the series, wrote the pilot episode, which was directed by DuVernay. Patino and DuVernay serve as executive producers on the series.

DMZ is produced by DuVernay’s ARRAY Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this epic to the screen with my boundary-pushing partners at WBTV and HBO Max, a sublime cast led by Rosario and Benjamin, and my partner and friend, the inimitable and ever-inspiring Ava DuVernay,” said Patino. “DMZ offers up an explosive playground which, more than anything else, exalts the resilience of community and the human spirit. I can’t wait to welcome the die-hard fans of the comic books and new viewers alike to this intoxicating, haunting and inspiring world.”

Dawson’s television credits include The Mandalorian, Briarpatch and Jane the Virgin. She’ll soon appear in the upcoming miniseries Dopesick.

Nicolás Pereda’s Narco Culture-Themed Film “Fauna” to Premiere at This Year’s Reimagined Toronto Film Festival

Nicolás Pereda is bringing the faunato this year’s reimagined Toronto Film Festival.

The 38-year-old Mexican filmmaker’s latest film Fauna will be among the film’s screened at the festival, which is North America’s largest festival.

Nicolás Pereda

The film is an exploration of the impact of “narco” culture on Mexican society.

It’ll be Fauna’s official global premiere. An excerpt from the film was screened as part of the “Works in Progress” section of the Los Cabos International Film Festival in 2019,and won the Cinecolor Mexico Award.

This year’s edition will run from September 10–19. As expected, the festival will look different due to the coronavirus.

Organizers say the 45th TIFF will be “tailored to fit the moment,” with a combination of physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences and industry talks. 

There’ll be considerably fewer movies — a selection comprising 50 new features — and the festival isn’t expecting large numbers of international press or industry to attend in person.

In addition to Pereda’s Fauna, this year’s strong crop of early movies confirmed to screen at the festival are the Kate Winslet-starrer AmmoniteThomas Vinterberg’s Another RoundConcrete Cowboy with Idris ElbaGood Joe Bell starring Mark WahlbergSuzanne Lindon’s Spring BlossomTrue Mothers by Naomi Kawase and Halle Berry’s directorial debut BruisedMore titles will be announced over the summer.

The movies will play over the event’s first five days as physical, socially distanced screenings. There will also be five programs of short films, interactive talks, film cast reunions, and Q&As with cast and filmmakers.

However, the festival has acknowledged that its plans for an in-person festival will be contingent on the local government’s “reopening framework to ensure that festival venues and workplaces practice, meet and exceed public health guidelines.” Large gatherings still aren’t permitted in Toronto.

TIFF temporarily closed its year-round offices and cinemas at TIFF Bell Lightbox in March due to the pandemic. The organization is now taking steps to prepare for reopening and working with medical advisors and public health officials to ensure safe conditions.

Meanwhile, TIFF is launching a bespoke digital platform for the festival. The organization has partnered with Shift72 on the platform, which will host digital screenings, talks and special events.

The Industry Conference will be online-only this year, with screenings for press and industry taking place on the digital platform only. The fest says there will be “advanced security and anti-piracy measures, access to buyers, and opportunities for networking.”

For 2020, TIFF says it will welcome 50 filmmakers and actors as TIFF Ambassadors to help the festival deliver its program. They will include Ava DuVernayTaika Waititi, Anurag KashyapNicole KidmanMartin ScorseseNadine LabakiAlfonso CuarónTantoo CardinalRiz Ahmed, Isabelle HuppertClaire DenisAtom EgoyanPriyanka Chopra, Viggo MortensenZhang ZiyiDavid OyelowoLulu Wang, Rosamund PikeSarah Gadon and Denis Villeneuve.

TIFF will also present its annual TIFF Tribute Awards, acknowledging and celebrating outstanding contributors to the film industry. 

Now in its third year, TIFF’s Media Inclusion Initiative will continue to accredit eligible black, indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ+ and female emerging film critics. New this year, TIFF is also offering companies and individuals the opportunity to gift industry access to 250 underrepresented emerging filmmakers from around the world.

Freddy Miyares to Star in the HBO Max Pilot “DMZ”

Freddy Miyaresis getting comic-al

The 25-year-old Latino actor has been cast in Ava DuVernay’s upcoming HBO Max pilot DMZ, an adaptation of the DC comic book series.

Freddy Miyares

Miyares will star opposite Rosario Dawsonand Benjamin Brattin the project.

DMZ is set in the near future where Americais embroiled in a bitter civil war, leaving Manhattana demilitarized zone — hence the title of the seriesThe show chronicles the journey of fierce medic Alma Ortega (Dawson), who saves lives while desperately searching for her lost son. As she contends with the gangs, militias, demagogues and warlords that control this lawless no man’s land, she becomes the unlikely source of hope.

Miyares will be a series regular and play the character of Skel, the ruthless triggerman of one of the DMZ’s most powerful gangs, led by Parco Delgado (Bratt). He’s also a talented graffiti artist with a profound passion for art, which serves as his lasting connection to his humanity in a world where survival is predicated on power.

Miyares previously worked with DuVernay on the Emmy-winning Netflix series When They See Us, playing the adult Raymond Santana, one of the Exonerated Five

He recently appeared in the Showtime drama series The L Word: Generation Q. His other credits include appearances on Elementaryand The Code.

The project will be written and executive produced by showrunner Roberto Patino. DuVernay is set to direct and executive produce. The pilot is produced by ARRAY Filmworksin association with Warner Bros. Television.

Dascha Polanco to Star in the Superhero Thriller “Samaritan”

Dascha Polanco is a good Samaritan…

The 37-year-old Dominican actress is set to star in MGM’s superhero thriller movie Samaritan

Dascha Polanco

Polanco joins a cast that includes Javon ‘Wanna’ WaltonSylvester StalloneMartin StarrPilou Asbækand Moises Arias.

Walton will play a young boy who’s out to discover if a mythic superhero, who vanished 20 years earlier following a tragic event, is still alive.

Julius Avery is directing from a screenplay by Bragi F. Schut, with additional writing by Mark L. SmithZak Penn, and Chuck MacLean

The story is based on Schut’s original idea. 

The film is scheduled for release on December 11 via United Artists Releasingwith Universal handling foreign. 

Polanco portrayed Dayanara Diaz on Netflix’s Orange is the New Blackfor seven-seasons and starred in Ava DuVernay’s 2019 Netflix limited series When They See Us. She’ll soon be seen in her first lead film role in Adrian Martinez’s indie dark comedy iCreep, and Warner Brothers’ adaption of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heightsthis summer. Her additional credits include the FXanthology series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storyand films including JoyThe Perfect MatchThe Cobblerand Gimme Shelter

Arias first made a name for himself as series regular on the Disney Channel hit original series Hannah Montana, and has since gone on to appear in several Sundance films including Kings of Summer, The Land and Stanford Prison Experiment. Last year, he appeared in CBS Films’ Five Feet Apart as well as the Sundance World Dramatic Competition Special Jury Award winner Monos and the SXSW opening weekend film The Wall of Mexico

Marquis Rodriguez Joins the Ensemble Cast of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” Prequel Pilot

Marquis Rodriguez is upping his Game

The Latino actor has joined the ensemble cast ofHBO’s Game of Thrones prequel pilot.

Marquis Rodriguez

Rodriguez joins a new list of series regular additions that includes John SimmRichard McCabe, John Heffernanand Dixie Egerickx.

The drama pilot hails from writer Jane Goldmanand author/GOT co-executive producer George R.R. Martin.

Created by Goldman and Martin and written by Goldman based on a story by her and Martin, the untitled prequel takes place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones. It chronicles the world’s descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend — it’s not the story we think we know.

The five join previously announced series regulars Naomi WattsJosh WhitehouseNaomi AckieDenise GoughJamie Campbell BowerSheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah,Georgie HenleyAlex Sharp,Toby Regboand Miranda Richardson.

Rodriguez will next be seen in the Netflix miniseries, When They See Us, from director Ava DuVernay. He most recently guest-starred on NBC’s Manifest and appeared in recurring arcs on NBC’s Chicago Fire, andMarvel Studios/Netflix’s Luke Cage and Iron Fist crossover episode. His film credits include Saturday ChurchLandlineand 3 Generations.

John Leguizamo to Star in the Novel-Based Film “Harry Haft”

John Leguizamohas landed a new role…

The 54-year-old Colombian actor has been cast in Harry Haft, the Barry Levinson-directed film based on the novel Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano by Alan Scott Haft.

John Leguizamo

Leguizamo joins a cast that includes Danny DeVito, Vicky Krieps, Peter SarsgaardSaro Emirzeand Dar Zuzovsky.

The group joins previously announced titular star Ben Foster as production is currently underway with plans to shoot on location in Hungary and New York.

Justine Juel Gillmer penned the screenplay. It’s based on the true story of a man (Foster) who is driven by his love of a woman to survive the unimaginable horrors of the German concentration camps. An SS Officer (Billy Magnussen) forces Harry to fight to the death against fellow prisoners in gruesome gladiatorial boxing matches. Harry finally escapes and makes it to New York. Haunted by his memories and guilt over his survival, he fights boxing legends, like Rocky Marciano, in the hopes that his name will get noticed and he will find his first love again.

Leguizamo next co-stars in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries about the 1989 Central Parkjogger case, which was just re-titled When They See Us.

John Leguizamo to Star in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix Limited Drama Series “Central Park Five”

John Leguizamo is Central Park bound…

The 53-year-old Colombian actor/comedian is set to star in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix limited series Central Park Five.

John Leguizamo

Leguizamo joins a cast for the four-part dramathat includes Michael K. Williams and Vera Farmiga.

The limited series sprawls from 1989 when five Harlem teens were incorrectly convicted first in the media and then twice in the courts for the brutal rape of a jogger in the NYC park to 2014 when Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise saw their names finally cleared.

Having been vilified by the likes of Donald Trump back in the late 80s and forced to spend years in jail each, the five sued New York City and settled for just over $40 million about four years ago. Before you take another breath, take into account that sum that works out to around $1 million for every year they collectively spent tossed behind bars for a terrible crime they never committed

Emmy winner, recent Special Tony Award winner and Bloodline star Leguizamo has signed on as Raymond Santana Sr., father of another one of the falsely accused boys of color.

Currently in pre-production in NYC and with principal photography starting in early August, Central Park Five also reunites its creator DuVernay for the fifth time with Selma cinematographer Bradford Young, who recently shot Solo: A Star Wars Story.Working with writers Robin Swicord, Attica Locke and Michael Starrbury, DuVernay co-penned each episode of the series.

The Queen Sugar EP and ARRAY founder is directing every episode of the timely drama.

Mendonca Filho Named to Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” List

Keep your eyes on Kleber Mendonca Filho

The Brazilian film director, screenwriter and producer will be honored as one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch during the Palm Springs Film Festival in January.The full list, which spans the creative landscape and puts a spotlight on a mixture of independent and studio filmmakers, includes Moonlight director Barry Jenkins.

Kleber Mendonca Filho

Mendonca Filho is being recognized for helming the Brazilian–French drama Aquarius, starring Sonia Braga as Clara, a retired music writer and the last resident of Aquarius building, who refuses to sell her apartment to a construction company that intends to replace it with a new edifice.

The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

“One of the most exciting things for me about the festival is being able to host Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch brunch,” said Michael Lerman, the festival’s Artistic Director. “Not only is it a fantastic event, but it also nicely compliments our festival program with selections from our Talking Pictures and Awards Buzz sections, as well as the director of our opening night film The Sense of an Ending, Ritesh Batra. It’s an exciting list this year!” 

Here’s the complete list:

Maren Ade, (“Toni Erdmann”)
Ritesh Batra, (“The Sense of an Ending”)
Otto Bell, (“The Eagle Huntress”)
Julia Ducournau, (“Raw”)
Geremy Jasper, (“Patti Cake$”)
Barry Jenkins, (“Moonlight”)
Emmett and Brendan Malloy, (“The Tribes of Palos Verdes”)
Kleber Mendonca Filho, (“Aquarius”)
William Oldroyd, (“Lady Macbeth”)
David Sandberg, (“Lights Out”)

Previous 10 Directors to Watch include Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), Ava DuVernay (Selma) and Christopher Nolan (Memento).

The list debuted in 1996 and the annual event moved to the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2011.

Coronel to Perform at Univision & Fusion’s “Rise Up as One” Concert

Luis Coronel is Rise-ing up to the challenge….

The 20-year-old Mexican American singer has joined the star-studded lineup of performers for Univision and Fusion’s Rise Up as One concert, billed as a celebration of music, diversity and unity.

Luis Coronel

In addition to Coronel, an award-winning regional Mexican singer known for his hit singles “Mi niña traviesa,” “Será más fácil,” and “Escápate,” the show will include performances by Andra Day, Lila Downs, Miguel Bosé, Fonseca, Jesse & Joy, Jorge Drexler, Lupillo Rivera, Alejandro Sanz, Los Tigres del NorteJuanes, Julieta Venegas, and Carlos Vives.

Staged along the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego, California, the free concert will wrap up the event taking place on October 15. It will broadcast live on Univision in Spanish and on Fusion in English at 7:00 pm ET.

“The U.S.-Mexico border provides the perfect stage for this amazing event and is a way to highlight diversity and inclusion, despite borders,” said Camila Jiménez Villa, Co-President and Chief Content Officer at Fusion Media Group, in a statement. “This location and our incredible lineup of award-winning artists will celebrate, through the power of music, the connectedness of our world and the positivity that occurs when we show empathy, respect and openness to one another.”

Co-chairs to the event include Emilio & Gloria Estefan, Calle 13‘s René Pérez aka Residente, Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson, Ava DuVernay and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others.

Estefan to Serve as Honorary Co-Chair of Univision & Fusion Media Group’s “Rise Up as One” Event

Gloria Estefan is ready to rise up…

The 59-year-old Cuban singer-songwriter and her husband, Emilio Estefan, have been named as honorary co-chairs of Univision and Fusion Media Group‘s “Rise Up as One” event — a two-day celebration of music, diversity and unity, taking place on October 14 and 15.

Gloria Estefan

The Estefans will serve as co-chairs alongside Calle 13‘s René Pérez aka Residente.

Also attached to the project are Junot Díaz, Ava DuVernayAmerica Ferrera, Salma Hayek, Samuel L. JacksonQuincy Jones, Mía Maestro, Jonathan OlingerRobert Rodriguez and Forest Whitaker, among other artists, thought leaders and influencers.

“We’re honored to have such a diverse group of inspiring and talented individuals joining us to celebrate who we are and the way we live through this unprecedented event. Their passion and commitment will help us put a spotlight on the power of inclusivity in a changing America,” said Camila Jimenez Villa, Fusion Media Group Co-President and COO.

The two-day event will wrap up with a free ticketed concert headlined by artists and musicians that are yet to be announced.

The concert will broadcast live on October 15 on Univision and Fusion at 7 p.m. ET.