Eduardo Rodriguez Signs One-Year Deal with Boston Red Sox

Eduardo Rodriguez is seeing Red(Sox)…

The 27-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher, nicknamed E-Rod, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox valued at $8.3 million for the 2021 season, according to ESPN.

Eduardo Rodriguez

Rodriguez, a left-hander, had been eligible for arbitration. Tuesday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players.

He didn’t pitch last season after testing positive for COVID-19 in July and later developing myocarditis, a heart condition associated with the disease.

In 2019, Rodriguez went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 34 starts.

He’s scheduled to become a free agent after the 2021 season.

Luis López Carrasco’s “The Year of Discovery” Wins Top Prize at Mar del Plata International Film Festival

Luis López Carrasco is celebrating his big Discovery

The 39-year-old Spanish filmmaker took home the Best International Film prize for his documentary The Year of the Discovery (El año del descubrimiento) on Sunday at Argentina’s Mar del Plata International Film Festival, the only Latin American film fest granted a Category A status by producers association FIAPF, placing it in the same league as the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival and Locarno Film Festival, among others.

Luis López Carrasco

Due to the restraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival hosted an online edition and offered free access to all Argentine residents.

 

Carrasco’s sophomore feature follows his debut film El Futuro, which premiered at Locarno and collected numerous awards on the festival circuit.

The Year of the Discovery portrays the flipside of 1992 Spain, which celebrated hosting the 1992 Barcelona Games and the World Expo in Seville while in Murcia, south-east Spain, enraged workers from the naval, mining and chemical sectors where companies were shut down, battled alongside students against the police, culminating with the launch of Molotov cocktails that set fire to the regional government’s Parliament.

In a video call from Spain, a grateful López Carrasco dedicated the award to his parents and brother “for being the people who most taught me how to listen.”

Colombian Camilo Restrepo’s Los Conductos won the best film prize in the festival’s Latin American competition. Winner of last year’s Mar del Plata Work in Progress competition, Los Conductos marks an attempt to explore Colombia’s civil conflicts with a style outside the canons of social realism as it follows a man in his attempts to flee from a sect and the trauma that still haunts him.

Maria Alvarez’s The Lost Time (El Tiempo Perdido) trounced a strong lineup in the Argentine competition, which included notable titles like Esquirlas, The History of the Occult and Las Ranas, to nab the best Argentine film prize.

In The Lost Time, a group of now aged friends find new and personal meaning in Marcel Proust’s seven-volume novel In Search of Lost Time at each of the 18 years they have gathered at a Buenos Aires bar to discuss it.

“In this online edition, more than 200,000 people saw the films we have programmed, and on YouTube, more than 180,000 people followed our events, so I congratulate the public who have known how to adapt to our circumstances,” said festival president Fernando Juan Lima at the online closing ceremony. “We miss the City of Mar del Plata and its movie theaters, but we are going to return,” he declared.

“We celebrate [the festival’s] continuity even with the challenges that the pandemic has imposed on us,” concurred festival artistic director Cecilia Barrionuevo. The festival paid homage to filmmaker-politician Fernando ‘Pino’ Solanas, Argentine actress-writer-director Maria Luisa Bemberg and, naturally, Argentina’s greatest hero, soccer star Diego Maradona, who died Nov. 25 from heart failure.

Augusto Costa, minister of production, science, and technological innovation, also announced that Mar del Plata would be the site of the fifth regional headquarters of Argentine film school, Enerc.

“From the government and from the ministry, we reaffirm our absolute commitment to the festival and to the audiovisual industry of the province,” said Costa.

2020 MAR DEL PLATA ASTOR PIAZZOLLA PRIZES

OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

BEST FILM
“The Year of the Discovery,” (Luis López Carrasco, Spain, Switzerland)

BEST DIRECTOR
Matías Piñeiro, (“Isabella,” Argentina)

BEST PERFORMANCE
María Villar, (“Isabella,” Argentina)

BEST SCREENPLAY

Nicolás Prividera, (“A Farewell to Memory,” Argentina)

SPECIAL JURY
“Moving On,” (Yoon Dan-bi, Korea)

LATIN AMERICAN COMPETITION

BEST FILM
“Los Conductos,” (Camilo Restrepo, Colombia, Brazil, France)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Mascarados,” (Marcela Borela and Henrique Borela, Brazil)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Fauna,” (Nicolás Pereda, Mexico)

BEST SHORT
“Correspondence,” (Dominga Sotomayor and Carla Simón, Chile)

ARGENTINE COMPETITION

BEST FILM
“The Lost Time,” (María Álvarez, Argentina)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Las Ranas,” (Edgardo Castro, Argentina)

BEST SHORT
“Homage to the Work of Philip Henry Gosse,” (Pablo Martín Weber)

BEST DIRECTOR
“Esquirlas,” (Natalia Garayalde, Argentina)

ALTERNATE STATES

BEST FILM
“My Dear Spies,” (Vladimir Léon, France)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Heliconia,” (Paula Rodríguez Polanco, France, Colombia)

WORK IN PROGRESS

BEST PROJECT
“Morichales,” (Chris Gude, Colombia, U.S.)

BEST LATIN AMERICAN DEBUT FILM, YOUNG CRITICS PRIZE
“History of the Occult,” (Cristian Ponce, Argentina)

IuIi Gerbase’s First Feature “The Pink Cloud” Picked Up by MPM Premium

IuIi Gerbase’s first feature film is gaining traction…

Paris-based MPM Premium has picked up the Brazilian filmmaker’s The Pink Cloud, a banner title that’s part of a slate of first features from a new generation of young female Brazilian directors.

The Pink Cloud

Gerbase’s sci-fi thriller was shot in 2019, but was filmed while still anticipating the COVID-19 lockdown.

Produced by Patricia Barbieri, who also backed Gerbase’s latest short, the coming-of-age adventure thriller The Stone,” Gerbase’s first feature begins with a mysterious pink cloud appearing across the globe. It proves deadly, killing anybody who remains outside in 10 seconds, forcing everybody to stay home.

The Pink Cloud

Having met the night before, Giovana (Renata de Lelis) and Yago (Eduardo Mendonça) try to invent themselves as a couple as the days of lockdown become years.

Yago stays positive, adapts, and wants to have children, but Giovana feels trapped by Yago’s traditionalist agenda and by the cloud.

In a director’s statement, Gerbase said she wasn’t interested in a typical post-apocalypse story where the battle for survival is more physical and practical. Rather, she wanted “to explore the different emotional paths of the two characters with very different visions of what freedom and happiness are.” Giovana, in particular, has “a strong internal feminist battle with the cloud.”

“From the first minutes of the film, The Pink Cloud struck me with its colorful cinematography and thrilling tension,” said Quentin Worthington, head of sales at MPM Premium.

He added: “Just like Pedro Almodóvar declared that cinema is the antidote to lockdown, The Pink Cloud could be that antidote that will help us process our emotions and anxieties after a year of a global lockdown.”

“The Pink Cloud” forms part of MPM Premium’s push into emerging talent via its New Visions auteur label.

Also part of Brazil’s regional movie build, now often challenged by the decimation of federal film funds by Jair Bolsonaro’s government, The Pink Cloud is produced by Gerbase’s Porto Alegre-based label Prana Filmes, and supported by the Fundo Sectorial Audiovisual (FSA) film fund, managed by state agency Ancine, drivers of a once vibrant Brazilian film scene.

The film will hit the festival circuit in 2021.

Porta dos Fundos Releases Trailer for Its Latest Christmas Special, “The Edge of Theocracy”

Porta dos Fundos is readying for its latest Christmas special…

The controversial hit Brazilian comedy troupe will release its annual Christmas Special, The Edge of Theocracy, on December 10.

Porta dos Fundos

A play on Petra Costa’s Oscar-nominated documentary, The Edge of Democracy, a trailer released on November 20 on its dedicated YouTube channel lured more than 300,000 views in three days.

Porta dos Fundos’ Christmas specials are renowned for their ironic, some would argue profane, take on the life of Christ.

Taking its cue from Costa’s The Edge of Democracy, which points to Brazil’s spiral into far-right politics as a cautionary tale to the world, The Edge of Theocracy satirizes Brazil’s political scene and delivers tart comments on global issues, like polarization, through the prism of Biblical events thousands of years ago. A delighted Costa gave her blessing and makes a brief appearance as herself in the show.

Shot in less than a week, the troupe opted for the documentary format in order to better adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols. The use of talking heads and testimonials were the perfect solution to rules on social distancing, said co-founder/writer Fabio Porchat, who spoke to Variety while filming some scenes outdoors last September.

Porchat, who plays Jesus, was standing in the middle of a field in sweltering 95F (35C) heat, with trees and mountains in the distance, while just behind him, his actors were playing out some scenes.

Their 2019 Xmas special, The First Temptation of Christ, featured a gay Christ, which unleashed a firestorm of complaints, a petition to ban the special signed by more than two million people and worst of all, a Molotov cocktail on their headquarters, which caused a fire that was fortunately put out by alert security guards.

“This is our seventh Christmas Special and they’ve always been provocative; only last year’s special produced a backlash,” he pointed out, suggesting that being the first one released during the tenure of current populist President Jair Bolsonaro made it a target. “His government is promoting fundamentalist religious thought,” he asserted.

There were some calls to cancel Netflix subscriptions, which the trailer cheekily refers to. “If you cancelled Netflix, get ready to cancel YouTube,” it declares, signaling the troupe’s return to their dedicated YouTube channel.

Their last two Christmas Specials, The First Temptation of Christ and The Last Hangover,” were Netflix Originals. The latter won a Best Comedy International Emmy in 2019.

“We reach a bigger audience on YouTube,” said Porchat who added that ViacomCBS, which took a majority stake in Porta dos Fundos in 2017, co-produced this year’s special with Porta dos Fundos.

Porchat admitted that the bombing of their headquarters raised their international profile so he’s grateful for that.

He is a self-confessed Monty Python fan, especially their irreverent comedy about a hapless man who is mistaken for the Messiah, Life of Brian. “We don’t insult the Bible, we research the subject matter quite extensively,” he noted.

No one is spared their satirical touch, including Buddha, Shiva and some alien creature who replies, “Ask Tom Cruise!” when asked to explain what he is in The First Temptation of Christ.

In The Edge of Theocracy various “messiahs” weigh in on an investigation of Jesus’ legitimacy.

The new special promises to be a gleeful poke in the eye to the troupe’s critics.

Bad Bunny to Release “El Último Tour del Mundo,” His Third Album of 2020

And the music just keeps coming from Bad Bunny

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton singerhas announced his third album of 2020: the 16-track El Último Tour del Mundo.

Bad Bunny

The new album follows March’s YHLQMDLG and May’s Las Que No Iban a Salir. The record will debut on Friday, November 27, and features songs with Rosalía, Jhay Cortez, and ABRA.

2020 has been a banner year for Bad Bunny. Back in January, before dropping YHLQMDLG, he shared the Kobe Bryant tribute song “6 Rings.”The following month, he played in the 2020 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. Soon after, YHLQMDLG debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200and became the highest-charting Spanish-language albumever.

In April, once the coronavirus sent the world into lockdown, Bad Bunny participated in a Saturday Night Live sketch called “Big Papi Cooking Show.” He played “Big Bunny” and tried to sell viewers “big ass pots” and sweatpants.

Later in the year, in September, Bad Bunny performed an excellent livestream concert on Univision’s Uforia platform. Soon after, he brought Ivy Queen and Nesi with him to the Billboard Music Awards to perform “Yo Perreo Sola.” He then performed “Bichiyal” and “Si veo a tu mamá” at the 2020 Latin Grammy Awards, where he won Best Reggaeton Performance. Bad Bunny was set to sing “Dákiti” at the American Music Awards, but was forced to cancel his performance after testing positive for COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Bad Bunny was nominated for Best Latin Pop or Urban Album (YHLQMDLG) and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (“Un Día (One Day)”) at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

Giovanni Reyna Signs New Long-Term Contract with Borussia Dortmund

Giovanni Reyna isn’t going anywhere…

The 18-year-old half-Argentine American soccer player and U.S. Men’s National Team international has signed a new long-term contract with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund until 2025.

Giovanni Reyna 

Reyna, who made his USMNT debut earlier this week against Wales, is regarded as one of the most promising talents in the Bundesliga.

Sources told ESPN there was interest in Reyna from the Premier League and La Liga, but he was focused solely on continuing his career with Dortmund.

BVB are a big club that can challenge for titles and are in all the important competitions,” Reyna said. “Young players in particular have the chance to develop here.

“I have already learned a lot in Dortmund and I want to learn a lot more in future. I look forward to being with BVB in the long term.”

Reyna signed an initial three-year deal when he agreed to join Dortmund from MLS side New York City in November 2018. He arrived at BVB in July 2019 and went on to make his debut in February 2020.

He has been an ever-present this season, making 12 appearances for Dortmund, scoring twice, and contributing five assists.

“It’s a great thing for Borussia Dortmund to have a player like Gio, he has a lot of potential,” coach Lucien Favre said at a pre-match news conference on Friday. “If he continues like this, then he’ll be an extremely important player for BVB throughout the future.”

Sporting director Michael Zorc added: “Gio’s development in recent months has been incredible. He will definitely be an important part of Borussia Dortmund’s sporting future.

“I am personally very pleased that he has decided to extend his contract with BVB in the long term with complete conviction.”

Reyna is part of Borussia’s highly rated bunch of young attackers along with Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland.

Reyna’s debut for the USMNT was due to happen earlier this year, but the fixture schedule was interrupted due to COVID-19. Reyna has now followed in father Claudio Reyna‘s footsteps in playing for the USMNT.

Victor Manuelle to Replace Carlos Rivera as Co-Host of the Latin Grammys Awards Show

Victor Manuelle is stepping-in in a big way…

The 52-year-old Puerto Rican salsa singer will now be co-hosting the Latin Grammys this Thursday night alongside previously announced hosts Yalitza Aparicio and Ana Brenda Contreras.

Victor Manuelle

Victor Manuelle replaces Carlos Rivera, who had to back out due to being exposed to COVID-19.

“This has been a tough year for all of us in the music industry,” Manuelle, who served as Latin Grammys host back in 2006, tells Billboard. “But I’m honored to be part of this event that, despite a pandemic, carried on to produce the ceremony.”

Having three hosts already speaks to the uniqueness of an extraordinary 21st annual Latin Grammys featuring star-studded performances from different pockets of the world. So, what exactly can viewers expect to see that night? Without spoiling any surprises, Manuelle shares, “this ceremony will be very special. Production wise it will be very different, for example, for the first time ever, we’ll see artists performing around the world including my island [Puerto Rico] featuring Bad Bunny.”

Manuelle is also set to take the stage with Ivy QueenRauw AlejandroRicardo Montaner and Reik‘s Jesus Navarro for the night’s opening musical number that will pay tribute to salsa icon Héctor Lavoe.

“Can you imagine? It’s a great honor for me,” he says. “The opening will allow us to relive Héctor Lavoe’s music, the music that is in our blood, that makes us so proud and is part of our musical history and culture.”

The Latin Grammys — which will also showcase diverse stories of hope, community, sense of purpose, and celebration throughout the night as part of their “music makes us human” theme — will air at 8:00 pm ET via Univision.

The event will be preceded by the The Latin Grammy Premiere, which starts at 3:00 pm ET via Facebook Live and is where the majority of the categories will be awarded.

Zoe Saldana to Star in the Netflix Action-Adventure Film “The Adam Project”

There’s a new Project in Zoe Saldana’s future…

The 42-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress and Guardians of the Galaxy star will star opposite Jennifer Garner and Ryan Reynolds in the Netflix action-adventure film The Adam Project.

Zoë Saldaña 

Directed by Shawn Levy, Jonathan Tropper penned the script, with David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger producing for Skydance.

Plot details are being kept under wraps other than it having a time-travel element. The Adam Project marks one of a handful of films Netflix landed this year as studios like Paramount were figuring out their future slate in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Netflix felt like the perfect home as Reynolds was in the midst of wrapping his second film, Red Noticewhile Levy has made Netflix his home following the massive success of his series Stranger Things.

The film will be the first project for Reynolds’ The Group Effort Initiative, a self-financed diversity and inclusion program that aims to give people of color a chance to work and learn on the actor’s productions. The Group Effort Initiative is a joint effort between Maximum Effort and B for Effort.

Saldana is known for starring roles in two of three biggest blockbusters in movie history — Avatar and Avengers: Endgame. She next will be seen reprising her role of Neytiri in Avatar 2, 3 and 4. Saldana also will star in and executive produce the limited drama series From Scratch for Netflix.

Liza Colón-Zayas Lands Recurring Role on the Fourth Season on HBO’s Drama Series “In Treatment”

Liza Colón-Zayas is heading to treatment

The 48-year-old Puerto Rican actress has landed a recurring role opposite Uzo Aduba in the upcoming fourth season of HBO’s Emmy-winning drama series In Treatment.

Liza Colón-Zayas

In Treatment, which ended a three-season run in 2010, is returning for a fourth season as a reimagined half-hour series. The series is in pre-production under COVID-19 guidelines, with a 2021 debut planned to air on HBO and stream on HBO Max.

The reimagining brings a diverse trio of patients in session with the observant, empathetic Dr. Brooke Taylor (Aduba), who is wrestling with her own issues.

Colón-Zayas will play Rita, Brooke’s longtime confidant and friend who supports Brooke as she contends with her own demons after a life-altering loss.

In addition to Aduba, Colon-Reyes joins Anthony Ramos, who also recurs.

The HBO Entertainment production is produced in association with Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions and Sheleg.

Colón-Zayas, an original member of The LAByrinth Theater Company, earned the 2020 Obie, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards.

On television, she recurred as Principal Fallow on the Peabody-winning series David Makes Man.

Sofia Carson’s “Songbird” Will Be Available on Premium VOD in December

Sofia Carson’s latest project will be right at your fingertips soon…

The 27-year-old Colombian American actress/singer’s Songbird, which was acquired by STX earlier this year, will be skipping theaters in exchange for a premium VOD release starting on Friday, December 11.

Sofia Carson, Songbird

STX picked up the KJ Apa-Carson pandemic thriller produced by Invisible Narratives back in August. The movie was one of the first to shoot in Los Angeles during the pandemic under COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The film now will be available for $19.99 for a 48-hour rental on all transactional platforms. Following Songbird‘s nesting on PVOD, it will premiere on a major streaming service in 2021.

From producer Michael Bay and director Adam MasonSongbird follows Riverdale‘s Apa as Nico, a bicycle messenger in a post-apocalyptic near future where COVID-19 has mutated to COVID-23. He’s smitten with his girlfriend Sara (Carson), who he hasn’t been able to see during the pandemic. Complicating life greatly is that the government is snatching up people who have the virus and tossing them into camps. Demi Moore, Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Peter Stormare, Alexandra Daddario and Paul Walter Hauser also star.

Mason co-wrote the script with Simon Boyes.

“The pandemic has affected every aspect of our business, from production to release, but Songbird demonstrates that a nimble studio like STX can find effective and profitable ways to make their movies work,” says STXfilms Motion Picture Group chairman Adam Fogelson. “The show must go on. Songbird is a thrilling movie that will speak to audiences in this moment as it keeps them on the edge of their seats.”