Aubrey Plaza to Star in “Best Sellers”

It’s the Best of times for Aubrey Plaza.

The 35-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress has joined Oscar winner Michael Caine in Lina Roessler’s feature directorial debut Best Sellers.

Aubrey Plaza

The story follows a has-been author, played by Caine, who is on a wild book tour with a young editor, Plaza, trying to save her father’s boutique publishing house. Caine’s miserable and sharp-witted author just wants to live out his days in peace with a bottle of scotch, a cigar and his orange Tabby cat, but Plaza’s hopeful editor pulls him out of his reclusion.

The project is based on Anthony Grieco’s original screenplay, which won a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwritingaward, and will be an official Canada-UK co-production.

Shooting on the film is expected to begin this month.

Plaza recently wrapped production on the feature Black Bear, a suspenseful meta-drama that she produced and stars in opposite Christopher Abbottand Sarah Gadon

Next up for Plaza is the Netflixfeature Hopefrom New Zealand duoJackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami

The Parks and Recreation alum’s other feature film credits include last summer’s Child’s PlayMatt Spicer’s Ingrid Goes West (which she produced and received a 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awardfor Best First Feature), Jeff Baena’s The Little Hours (also producer), Hal Hartley’s Ned RifleColin Trevorrow’s Safety Not GuaranteedEdgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the Worldand Judd Apatow’s Funny People, among others.

On television, Plaza most recently starred in Noah Hawley’s Legionon FX. Additionally, she hosted the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Antonio Méndez Esparza Wins John Cassavettes Award at Spirit Awards

Antonio Méndez Esparza has the Spirit 

The Spanish writer /director took home the John Cassavettes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Antonio Méndez Esparza

Méndez Esparza picked up the award for his film Life and nothing more, which he penned and helmed.

Chile’s Sebastián Lelio won the award for Best International Film for A Fantastic Woman.

Here’s the complete list of winners: 

BEST FEATURE
Get Out

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST MALE LEAD
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name

BEST DIRECTOR
Jordan Peele, Get Out   

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Faces Places
Directors: Agnés Varda, JR
Producer: Rosalie Varda 

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST SCREENPLAY
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

Mudbound
Director: Dee Rees
Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram
Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan 

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick  

BEST EDITING
Tatiana S. Riegel, I, Tonya   

BONNIE AWARD
Chloé Zhao

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
A Fantastic Woman, Chile
Director: Sebastián Lelio 

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
Life and nothing more
Writer/Director: Antonio Méndez Esparza
Producers: Amadeo Hernández Bueno, Alvaro Portanet Hernández, Pedro Hernández Santos 

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Ingrid Goes West
Director: Matt Spicer
Producers: Jared Ian Goldman, Adam Mirels, Robert Mirels, Aubrey Plaza, Tim White, Trevor White 

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Allison Janney
, I, Tonya 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Call Me By Your Name

KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Justin Chon

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Summer Shelton

SEATTLE STORY AWARD
Matty Brown

JEEP BRAND TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Jonathan Olshefski

Salma Hayek Earns First-Ever Film Independent Spirit Award Nomination

Salma Hayek has the spirit, yes she does…

The 51-year-old Mexican Academy Award-nominated actress has earned her first-ever Film Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Salma Hayek in Beatriz at Dinner

Hayek received the nod in the Best Female Lead category for her critically-acclaimed “powerful, layered” performance in Beatriz at Dinner, which was directed by Miguel Arteta.

But Hayek isn’t the only Hispanic artist in the running…

Spanish writer/director Antonio Méndez Esparza is nominated for the John Cassavetes Award for his film Life and nothing more, as is Spanish writer/director/producer Ana Asensio for her film Most Beautiful Island.

Meanwhile, Argentinian-born Chilean director Sebastián Lelio has earned a nod in the Best International Film category for his Chilean film A Fantastic Woman.

The Spirit Awards ceremony will air live on IFC from the Santa Monica beach on March 3, and will be hosted by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney for the second year in a row.

Here’s the full list of nomimations:

BEST FEATURE
Call Me By Your Name
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Florida Project
The Rider

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Columbus
Ingrid Goes West
Menashe
Oh Lucy!
Patti Cake$

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
Dayveon
A Ghost Story
Life and nothing more (
Writer/Director: Antonio Méndez Esparza; Producers: Amadeo Hernández Bueno, Alvaro Portanet Hernández, Pedro Hernández Santos)
Most Beautiful Island (Writer/Director/Producer: Ana Asensio; Producers: Larry Fessenden, Noah Greenberg, Chadd Harbold, Jenn Wexler)
The Transfiguration

BEST DIRECTOR
Sean Baker, The Florida Project
Jonas Carpignano, A Ciambra
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Good Time
Chloé Zhao, The Rider

BEST SCREENPLAY
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Azazel Jacobs, The Lovers
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Mike White, Beatriz at Dinner

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Donald Cried
The Big Sick
Women Who Kill
Columbus
Ingrid Goes West

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Thimios Bakatakis, The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Elisha Christian, Columbus
Hélène Louvart, Beach Rats
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Call Me by Your Name
Joshua James Richards, The Rider 

BEST EDITING
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, Good Time
Walter Fasano, Call Me by Your Name
Alex O’Flinn, The Rider
Gregory Plotkin, Get Out
Tatiana S. Riegel, I, Tonya   

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Salma Hayek, Beatriz at Dinner
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Shinobu Terajima, Oh Lucy!
Regina Williams, Life and nothing more

BEST MALE LEAD
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Harris Dickinson, Beach Rats
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Robert Pattinson, Good Time     

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lois Smith, Marjorie Prime
Taliah Lennice Webster, Good Time 

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Nnamdi Asomugha, Crown Heights
Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
Barry Keoghan,  The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Bennie Safdie, Good Time

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
Mudbound
Director: Dee Rees
Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram
Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
France
Director: Robin Campillo
A Fantastic Woman
Chile
Director: Sebastián Lelio
I Am Not a Witch
Zambia
Director: Rungano Nyoni
Lady Macbeth
U.K.
Director: William Oldroyd
Loveless
Russia
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev 

BEST DOCUMENTARY
The Departure
Director/Producer: Lana Wilson
Faces Places
Directors: Agnés Varda, JR
Producer: Rosalie Varda
Last Men in Aleppo
Director: Feras Fayyad
Producers: Kareem Abeed, Søeren Steen Jespersen, Stefan Kloos
Motherland
Director/Producer: Ramona S. Diaz
Producer: Rey Cuerdo
Quest
Director: Jonathan Olshefski
Producer: Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

BONNIE AWARD
So Yong Kim
Lynn Shelton
Chloé Zhao 

JEEP TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Shevaun Mizrahi
Director of Distant Constellation
Jonathan Olshefski
Director of Quest
Jeff Unay
Director of The Cage Fighter

KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Amman Abbasi
Director of Dayveon
Justin Chon
Director of Gook
Kevin Phillips
Director of Super Dark Times 

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Giulia Caruso & Ki Jin Kim
Ben LeClair
Summer Shelton

Alvarez to Direct Starz’s Wrestling-Themed Drama Pilot “Heels”

Kyle Patrick Alvarez is wrestling with a new project.

The 33-year-old Latino filmmaker will direct Heels, an hourlong drama set in the outrageous world of independent professional wrestling.

Kyle Patrick Alvarez

The project, which hails from Paramount Television, has been put on the fast track at Starz, with a potential eight-episode straight-to-series order on the horizon.

Written by Michael Waldron, Heels is the story of two brothers and rivals – one a villain, or “heel,” in the ring, the other a hero, or “face.” Real conflicts play out in fake matches as they war over their late father’s wrestling promotion, vying for national attention in small-town Georgia.

Alvarez’s television credits include directing two episodes of the upcoming Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which is being executive produced by Selena Gomez.

Alvarez is the winner of the Someone to Watch Award at the 2010 Film Independent Spirit Awards for his work on Easier with Practice.

Longoria’s “Lowriders” to Open This Year’s Los Angeles Film Festival

This year’s Los Angeles Film Festival will be a low point for Eva Longoria

Ricardo de Montreuil’s Lowriders, starring the 41-year-old Mexican American actress and former Desperate Housewives star, will open the 2016 LA Film Festival, which will take place June 1-9 at ArcLight Cinemas. It will serve as the world premiere of the film.

Eva Longoria in Lowriders

Set against the backdrop of East LA’s car culture, the film centers on Danny (Gabriel Chavarria), a talented young street artist caught between the lowrider world inhabited by his old-school father and ex-con brother, and the adrenaline-fueled outlet that defines his self-expression.

Along with Longoria and Chavarria, the film also stars Demián Bichir, Melissa Benoist, Theo Rossi and Tony Revolori.

“We are thrilled to open with Lowriders, a culturally vibrant film that explores familial relationships within a second-generation Mexican family in East LA. Made by filmmakers of color, Lowriders embodies our mission of shining the light on unique voices,” said festival director Stephanie Allain.

Festival passes are on sale to members of organizer Film Independent starting today, and will be available to the general public on April 12.

The full lineup will be announced on April 26.

Armisen to Co-Host This Year’s Spirit Awards with Kristen Bell

Fred Armisen is feeling the spirit (awards)

The 48-year-old half-Venezuelan actor and former Saturday Night Live star will co-host the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards opposite Kristen Bell.

Fred Armisen

This year’s Spirit Awards will take place on February 21 on the beach in Santa Monica.

This year’s ceremony will air live for the first time, on IFC at 2:00 pm PT.

Dawson to Announce This Year’s Spirit Award Nominees

Rosario Dawson has the spirit, yes she does…

The 35-year-old Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban American actress, who has earned critical acclaim for her work in Chris Rock’s Top Five, has been tapped to announce this year’s 2015 Spirit Award nominees, according to Film Independent president Josh Welsh.

Rosario Dawson

The Sin City: A Dame To Kill For star will be joined by Mexican actor Diego Luna, who directed Dawson in his Cesar Chavez biopic Chavez.

They’ll announce the nominees at 10:00 am PT on Tuesday, November 25, at the W Hollywood.

Spirit Award winners will be announced on February 21 under Film Independent’s signature tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

Vega and Her “Twenty Feet From Stardom” Co-Stars to Perform at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Táta Vega is preparing for a Spirited performance…

The 62-year-old part-Puerto Rican and Dominican American singer, one of the stars of the documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom, will perform at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Táta Vega

Vega, Darlene Love, Judith Hill and Merry Clayton are profiled in the Oscar-nominated Radius-TWC doc, which takes a look at the lives of several of the music industry’s greatest backup singers.

Director Morgan Neville’s Twenty Feet From Stardom is nominated for a Spirit Award in the Best Documentary category.

The film also made the cut as one of the five nominees for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards.

Currently the No. 1 documentary on iTunes, the film continues to build momentum as the culmination of awards season approaches.

Vega and the gang’s appearance will be the only musical performance at the ceremony, which will be hosted by Patton Oswalt.

The Spirit Awards will be handed out on March 1, 2014 during a daytime luncheon in Santa Monica and broadcast later that evening at 10 PM on IFC.

As of late 2013, Vega has been touring with Elton John in the United States as “one of the girls” singing backup and counterpoint on his The Diving Board tour.

Sanchez’s Latest Horror Film “Exists” Gets International Distribution

Eduardo Sanchez’s latest project will be spooking people throughout the world…

Entertainment One has picked up multiple territories for the 46-year-old Cuban American director’s found-footage horror film Exists, taking the title in Germany, France, Benelux, Scandinavia and South Africa.

Eduardo Sanchez

The company previously bought the U.K. rights for the Bigfoot-themed chiller from world sales agent International Film Trust (IFT) at the American Film Market in November.

The multiterritory deal was negotiated by IFT president Christian de Gallegos. IFT also sold Exists to Japan (AT Entertainment), the Middle East (Shooting Stars), Taiwan (Well Go) and CIS (Luxor) among many other territories.

Written by Jamie Nash (V/H/S 2), Exists follows five friends who head into the woods of Texas for an epic party weekend. Once there, they are confronted by the vicious reality behind the Bigfoot myth.

Exists has managed to scare people in the perfect way, and we are delighted at the enthusiastic response from buyers,” said de Gallegos.

Sanchez is credited with helping to invent the genre of found-footage horror films when he co-directed the psychological horror film The Blair Witch Project with Daniel Myrick in 1999. It earned the pair the inaugural Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award from Film Independent, a non-profit organization dedicated to independent film and independent filmmakers.

His other credits include Altered, Seventh Moon and Lovely Molly.

Isaacs Earns Spirit Award Nomination for His Role in “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Oscar Isaacs’ awards season is off to a great start…

The 33-year-old Guatemalan and Cuban actor has earned a Spirit Award nomination for his critically acclaimed role in Inside Llewyn Davis, which was nominated for Best Feature.

Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis

Isaacs is up for Best Male Lead against Nebraska’s Bruce Dern, 12 Years a Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor, Fruitvale Station’s Michael B Jordan, Dallas Buyers Club’s Matthew McConaughey and All is Lost’s Robert Redford.

Melonie Diaz has earned a nod for Best Supporting Female for her role in Fruitvale Station.

Film Independent’s 29th Spirit Awards will be held on March 1 in Santa Monica with Patton Oswalt hosting.

Here’s the full list of 2014 nominees:

BEST FEATURE
12 Years A Slave
All Is Lost
Frances Ha
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska

BEST DIRECTOR
Shane Carruth, Upstream Color
J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Jeff Nichols, Mud
Alexander Payne, Nebraska

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Gaby Hoffmann, Crystal Fairy
Brie Larson, Short Term 12
Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now

BEST MALE LEAD
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Michael B Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost

BEST SCREENPLAY
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater, Before Midnight
Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Spectacular Now
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Melonie Diaz, Fruitvale Station
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Yolonda Ross, Go For Sisters
June Squibb, Nebraska

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Will Forte, Nebraska
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Keith Stanfield, Short Term 12

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Lake Bell, In A World
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jill Soloway, Afternoon Delight
Mike Starrbury, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years A Slave
Benoit Debie, Spring Breakers
Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
Frank G. Demarco, All Is Lost
Matthias Grunsky, Computer Chess

BEST EDITING
Shane Carruth & David Lowery, Upstream Color
Jem Cohen & Marc Vives, Museum Hours
Frank G. Demarco,
All Is Lost
Matthias Grunsky, Computer Chess
Nat Sanders, Short Term 12

BEST DOCUMENTARY
20 Feet From Stardom, Director/Producer: Morgan Neville, Producers: Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers
After Tiller, Directors/Producers: Martha Shane & Lana Wilson
Gideon’s Army, Director/Producer: Dawn Porter, Producer: Julie Goldman
The Act of Killing, Director/Producer: Joshua Oppenheimer, Producers: Joram Ten Brink, Christine Cynn, Anne Köhncke, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Michael Uwemedimo
The Square, Director: Jehane Noujaim, Producer: Karim Amer

BEST INT’L FILM
A Touch of Sin (China)
Blue is the Warmest Color (France)
Gloria (Chile)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Blue Caprice, Director/Producer: Alexandre Moors; Producers: Kim Jackson, Brian O’Carroll, Isen Robbins, Will Rowbotham, Ron Simons, Aimee Schoof, Stephen Tedeschi
Concussion, Director: Stacie Passon, Producer: Rose Troche
Fruitvale Station, Director: Ryan Coogler; Producers: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker
Una Noche, Director/Producer: Lucy Mulloy, Producers: Sandy Pérez Aguila, Maite Artieda, Daniel Mulloy, Yunior Santiago
Wadjda, Director: Haifaa Al Mansour, Producers: Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (best feature made for under $500,000)
Computer Chess, Writer/Director: Andrew Bujalski, Producers: Houston King & Alex Lipschultz
Crystal Fairy, Writer/Director: Sebastiàn Silva, Producers: Juan de Dios Larraín & Pablo Larraín
Museum Hours, Writer/Director: Jem Cohen, Producers: Paolo Calamita & Gabriele Kranzelbinder
Pit Stop, Writer/Director: Yen Tan, Writer: David Lowery, Producers: Jonathan Duffy, James M. Johnston, Eric Steele, Kelly Williams
This is Martin Bonner, Writer/Director: Chad Hartigan, Producer: Cherie Saulter

17th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Toby Halbrooks & James M. Johnston
Jacob Jaffke
Andrea Roa
Frederick Thornton

20th ANNUAL SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
My Sister’s Quinceañera, Director: Aaron Douglas Johnston
Newlyweeds, Director: Shaka King
The Foxy Merkins, Director: Madeline Olnek

19th ANNUAL STELLA ARTOIS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Kalyanee Mam, A River Changes Course
Jason Osder, Let the Fire Burn
Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez, Manakamana

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
Mud, Director: Jeff Nichols, Casting Director: Francine Maisler, Ensemble Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon