Cinema Guild Acquires North American Rights to Matías Piñeiro’s “Isabella”

Matías Piñeiro’s latest project will be headed to theaters in North America.

Cinema Guild has acquired North American distribution rights to the 38-year-old filmmaker’s Isabella, which won a special jury mention in the Encounters section at the 70th Berlinale earlier this year.

Matías Piñeiro

Cinema Guild is planning a 2021 theatrical release for the film.

Isabella follows Mariel (María Villar) who wants to play the role of Isabella in a local theater troupe’s production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, but money problems prevent her from preparing for the audition. She thinks of asking her brother for financial help, but is worried about being too direct. Her solution is to ask her brother’s girlfriend, Luciana (Agustina Muñoz), also an actress and a more self-assured one, to convince her brother to give her the money. Luciana agrees on the condition that Mariel will not abandon her acting and continue to prepare for the part of Isabella.


“We can’t wait for audiences to be enchanted by Matías’ latest,” said Cinema Guild president Peter Kelly. “Isabella is a film of wonders that reveals more with each viewing.”

Sebastián Lelio’s “A Fantastic Woman” Makes Oscars Shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film

Sebastián Lelio is one step closer to a special date with Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has whittled through 92 submissions to come up with its shortlist of nine titles to advance in the Best Foreign Language Film category this year, with the 43-year-old Argentinian-born Chilean filmmaker still in the running.

Sebastián Lelio

Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman, Chile’s pick to enter the race for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, joins other favorites like Ruben Ostlund’s The Square (Sweden) and Loveless from Russia’s Andrey Zvyagintsev in advancing to the next round.

Each of those was nominated for a Golden Globe earlier this week. As was Fatih Akin’s Germany terrorism drama In The Fade, which has seen its street cred solidified by the Academy with tonight’s shortlist inclusion.

The final five Academy Award nominations in the race will be announced along with the rest of the categories on January 23.

Films also making the cut include Berlinale Golden Bear winner On Body And Soul from resurgent Turkish director Ildikó Enyedi; and Venice favorites Foxtrot, from Israel’s Samuel Maoz, and The Insult by Franco-Lebanese helmer Ziad Doueiri.

The last Spanish-language film to earn a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category was Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent (representing Colombia) in 2015.

The Last Spanish-language film to win the Oscar in the category was Juan José Campanella’s The Secret in Their Eyes (representing Argentina) in 2009. 

In 2012, Chile earned its first and only Oscar nomination in the category with Pablo Larrain’s No, which starred Gael Garcia Bernal.

Here’s this year’s complete shortlist:

Chile, A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio, director;
Germany, In the Fade, Fatih Akin, director;
Hungary, On Body and Soul, Ildikó Enyedi, director;
Israel, Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz, director;
Lebanon, The Insult, Ziad Doueiri, dirctor;
Russia, Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, director;
Senegal, Félicité, Alain Gomis, director;
South Africa, The Wound, John Trengove, director;
Sweden, The Square, Ruben Östlund, director.

Trailer Released for Cruz’s “The Queen of Spain”

Prepare to be royally impressed by Penélope Cruz

The official trailer has been released for Fernando Trueba’s The Queen of Spain, starring the 42-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress.

Penélope Cruz

Ricardo Mario, Darin Bas, and Antonio Fernandez Resines also star in this film about Spanish actress Macarena Granada, who returns home to Spain in the mid-1950s having enjoyed a successful career in Hollywood.

She is to play Queen Isabella the First of Castille in a prestigious period drama. At the studio she meets her former friends and colleagues, falls in love with a handsome crew member, leads a madcap expedition to free a resistance fighter and proves herself to be truly regal during an encounter with the fascist leader Francisco Franco, whom she despises.

The Queen of Spain will premiere on February 13 as part of the Berlinale Special Series at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Luna to Serve on the Berlin Film Festival’s International Jury

Diego Luna is joining the judge’s panel… 

The 37-year-old Mexican actor, producer and director has been named to the Berlin Film Festival’s International Jury this year.

Diego Luna

Maggie Gyllenhaal, German actress Julia Jentsch, Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha, Iceland’s Olafur Eliasson and Chinese writer-director Wang Quan’an will join Luna to round out the jury that will decide who will receive the Golden and Silver Bears at Berlinale next month.

Dutch helmer-writer Paul Verhoeven will lead the jury as President.

Luna’s breakthrough role come with Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También and he’s recently stared in Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and has had roles in ContrabandMilk and The Terminal. His directorial debut Abel premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

The Berlin Film Festival takes place February 9-19.

Oscilloscope Laboratories Picks Up U.S. Rights to Case’s “The Second Mother”

Regina Casé’s mother a movie is heading stateside…

Oscilloscope Laboratories as picked up the U.S. distribution rights to The Second Mother, a Brazilian drama starring the 60-year-old Brazilian actress, comedian, television host and director.

Regina Casé in The Second Mother

The film won a Special Jury Award for Acting at the Sundance Film Festival last month.

Casé and Camila Mardila star in the story of a wealthy family’s live-in housekeeper whose confident and ambitious estranged daughter shows up and throws the entire household into chaos as she refuses to accept the upstairs/downstairs dynamic.

The film is set to play in the Panorama section at the Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale, this month.


Bustamante’s Debut Feature “Ixcanul” to Premiere at the Berlin Film Festival

Jayro Bustamante
 is headed to Germany…

The Guatemalan director’s first feature film Ixcanul has been chosen as one of the first seven films for the 65th Berlin Film Festival Competition program.


The film, which Bustamante wrote, centers on a 17 year-old Mayan Kaqchikel girl named Maria, who lives with her parents in a coffee plantation on the side of an active volcano in Guatemala. She’s part of an arranged marriage she doesn’t want but can’t escape her fate.

Bustamante’s short films have earned him acclain at a number of film festivals. The most recent, Cuando sea grande, premiered at the Clermont-Ferrand Festival in 2012, where it landed the CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée) quality award and was aired on television networks in France, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The film stars María Mercedes Croy, María Telón, Manuel Antún, Justo Lorenzo and Marvin Coroy.

Also in the Berlinale mix is Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Disney film Cinderella, although it’s playing out of competition. Lily James plays the titular role, while Helena Bonham Carter portrays the fairy godmother.

Other films that made the first cut include Peter Greenaway’s Eisenstein In Guanajuato. Shot in Mexico, the film stars Stelio Savante, Lisa Owen and Maya Zapata. It follows Eisenstein as he spends 10 days in 1931 in Guanajuato, Mexico, where he falls in love. His sensual experiences there turn out to have been crucial in his life and his films. From being a formal filmmaker with films about conceptual ideas, his trip to Mexico humanizes Eisenstein as a filmmaker, and his films become more sympathetic to the human condition.

Berlinale runs from February 5-15.

Here’s a look at the selected film featuring Hispanic talent in front of and/or behind the camera:

By Kenneth Branagh
with Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham Carter
International premiere – Out of competition

Eisenstein In Guanajuato
The Netherlands / Mexico / Belgium / Finland
By Peter Greenaway
With Elmer Bäck, Luis Alberti
World premiere

Ixcanul (Ixcanul Volcano)
Guatemala / France
By Jayro Bustamante
With María Mercedes Coroy, María Telón, Manuel Antún, Justo Lorenzo, Marvin Coroy
World premiere – Debut feature

Luna’s “Chavez” Claims an Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival

The future looks like bright for Diego Luna’s biopic on Cesar Chavez

The 34-year-old Mexican actor-turned-director’s film Chavez about the life of the life of Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist earned an audience award at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival.

Cesar Chavez

Chavez, which stars Michael Peña, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich, took home the audience prize in the Narrative Spotlight category.  

The film premiered in the Berlinale Special Galas section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival last month.

Here’s a look at the SXSW Film Festival Audience Award winners:

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITIONAudience Award Winner: Before I Disappear
Director: Shawn Christensen

Director: Diana Whitten

DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHTAudience Award Winner: DamNation
Director: Ben Knight & Travis Rummel

Directors: Diego Luna

VISIONSAudience Award Winner: Yakona
Director: Anlo Sepulveda & Paul Collins

MIDNIGHTERSAudience Award Winner: Exists
Director: Eduardo Sánchez

EPISODICAudience Award Winner: Silicon Valley
Director: Mike Judge

SXGLOBALAudience Award Winner: The Special Need
Directors: Carlo Zoratti

FESTIVAL FAVORITESAudience Award Winner: The Case Against 8
Director: Ben Cotner & Ryan White


Audience Award Winner: Big Significant Things
Designer: Corey Holms

EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN Audience Award Winner:  True Detective
Designer: Patrick Clair for Elastic

Film Movement Acquires North American Rights to Fernández Almendras’ “To Kill a Man”

Alejandro Fernández Almendras Sundance Film Festival hit will be heading to North American theaters in the near future.

The Chilean filmmaker’s To Kill a Man, which won the world cinema grand jury prize at Sundance last month, has been picked up for North American distribution by Film Movement. It’s the company’s first acquisition of 2014.

Alejandro Fernández Almendras

The Chilean drama, which Fernández Almendras directed, first premiered at Sundance and is currently screening at the European Film Market in Berlin.

Film Movement is looking toward a fall theatrical release in the U.S. and Canada, followed by a video on demand and DVD release.

The film depicts hardworking family man Jorge, who is just barely making ends meet. After he’s mugged by a neighborhood delinquent named Kalule, his son confronts the young man and gets shot by Kalule. The killer is released after two years in prison, and he is set on revenge against Jorge’s family.

The deal was struck in the final days of Sundance Film Festival and confirmed just as Berlinale kicked off, by Film Movement president Adley Gartenstein and Vicente Casales, managing director at Film Factory.

To Kill a Man is Almendras’ third feature. His first film, Huacho, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009, where it won Critics’ Week.