Mariah Carey to Receive Innovator Award from African American Film Critics Association

Mariah Carey is being recognized for her storytelling…

The African American Film Critics Association has announced that the 51-year-old half-Venezuelan American singer/actress will receive an AAFCA Special Achievement Award at the 12th annual AAFCA Awards, taking place April 7.

 

Carey will be honored with the Innovator Award.

Other honorees include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom director George C. Wolfe, streaming giant Netflix, and voter suppression documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy.

Wolfe, whose remarkable career in theatre spans over 40 years, is the 2021 AAFCA Special Achievement Salute To Excellence honoree.

“Even with the challenges of the pandemic, we look forward to providing audiences with a memorable virtual experience. As with every year, this year’s honorees represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields,” said AAFCA CEO and President Gil Robertson. “Mariah Carey is often recognized as a global icon for her musical gifts, but rarely is she celebrated for the visual storytelling in her music videos and specials. As an artist who is all-hands-on-deck in not just crafting her songs, but also in curating and creating the imagery surrounding them, Carey is especially deserving of the 2021 AAFCA Special Achievement Innovator Award.”

Netflix is “the Cinema Vanguard recipient for fostering a global tribe rooted in bringing all people together across various languages and continents through the power of cinema,” said Robertson.

All In: The Fight for Democracy, directed by Lisa Cortes and Liz Garbus, who also co-produced with political titan Stacey Abrams, has been selected for this year’s Stanley Kramer Award.

Said Robertson, “In addition, we, at AAFCA, are doubly pleased that Mrs. Karen Kramer and her team chose to present this year’s AAFCA Stanley Kramer Award for Social Justice to All In: The Fight For Democracy highlighting Stacey Abrams’ personal mission to combat voter suppression.”

Past recipients of the AAFCA Special Achievement Awards include Channing Dungey, Quincy Jones, Jason Blum, Edward James Olmos, George Lucas, Sidney Poitier, Jon Chu, and Cicely Tyson.Mariah Carey

Blumhouse Wins Screen Rights to New York Times’ Story About Late Mexican Human Rights Activist Miriam Rodriguez

The late Miriam Rodriguez’s story is headed to the big screen…

Blumhouse has won the screen rights to a December 13 New York Times story which chronicled the late Mexican human rights activist and desperate mother’s revenge spree in Mexico, when she avenged her daughter’s murder by taking on the drug cartels and tracking down the perpetrators by herself.

Miriam Rodriguez

She saw 10 of them apprehended by police before she was shot and killed in front of her home on Mother’s Day, 2017.

NYT will produce with Blumhouse, and Caitlin Roper, NYT’s executive producer for scripted projects, is producing alongside the article’s writer, Azam Ahmed, and Jason Blum.

Anonymous Content represented the article in the sale process.

The story, titled She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers Across Mexico, One by One, ignited a heated bidding immediately after it was published December 15.

Ahmed is NYT bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. His article tells the story of the 56-year-old Rodriguez, whose whole world came crashing down on her when she lost her daughter, despite paying multiple ransom demands after the 20-year-old was kidnapped in 2014.

Getting no help from law enforcement, Rodriguez took things into her own hands. Using disguises and different identities, she went after the alleged kidnappers. She even used a gun to hold the culprits until she could get them handcuffed and arrested. Her story is juxtaposed with the plight of another family desperate for a happier outcome after their son is kidnapped.

Ahmed reported a series on the homicide crisis in Latin America, the deadliest region in the world, outlining the root causes of the violence. Each piece delved into a specific issue in a specific country, using intimate portraits of those living on the front lines of the crisis: the inescapable cycles of violence in Honduras, the scourge of femicide in Guatemala, the pervasiveness of illegally smuggled U.S. guns in Jamaica, the making of a cartel assassin in Mexico and the violence of the state in Brazil.

Last month, Azam won the Michael Kelly Award for his courageous and moving work for this series.

Azam’s reporting for this series has also been recognized this year with a Polk award, an Overseas Press Club award and the James Foley Medill Medal, which recognizes courage in pursuit of a story. Ahmed’s investigative work on corruption and the illegal use of spyware, Pegasus, helped launch federal investigations in México and led to major arrests and reform and the project was submitted by The Times for a Pulitzer Prize. Azam was previously the NYT bureau chief in Afghanistan, where he worked for nearly three years covering the war.

“The Craft: Legacy” Star Zoey Luna to Take Part in Blumhouse’s Virtual “BlumFest”

Life is Blum a dream for Zoey Luna

The 19-year-old Latina transgender actress will be taking part in Blumhouse’s first-ever BlumFest, a virtual event featuring panels of talent from the studio’s upcoming movies, both big screen and PVOD, and more.

Zoey Luna

The virtual event will take place Thursday, October 29 at 10:00 am PT on Blumhouse’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

“This year has sidelined a lot for all of us, but Halloween is a treasured season at Blumhouse, so we conceived BlumFest to celebrate with our fans via a virtual event that will feature exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage on an upcoming release or two,” said Jason Blum, Blumhouse’s CEO and founder.

Panels featured include:

Welcome to the Blumhouse – Join Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios and Blum for a lively convo about the collaboration between Amazon and Blumhouse on the recently launched movies The Lie, Nocturne, Evil Eye and Black Box. Mamoudou Athie from the film Black Box will join the duo along with surprise guests. The four films are currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

The Craft: Legacy – Writer-director Zoe Lister Jones and the film’s stars Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone and Luna will chat about the cult hit reboot. The movie will debut Wednesday on PVOD and electronic sell-through domestic, with a big-screen release abroad.

Freaky – Writer-director Chris Landon, stars Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton, and Blum will chat about the body-swap horror comedy which hits theaters November 13 and select offshore markets via Universal.

Halloween Kills – Filmmaker David Gordon Green and the horror franchise’s scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, producer Malek Akkad from Trancas Films and Miramax producer Bill Block and Blum will converse about the October 2021 release.

The Good Lord BirdEthan Hawke, EP, writer and star of the Showtime series and Blum, who’ve worked together over several projects, will discuss their most recent collaboration.

Issa Lopez to Write & Direct Blumhouse’s “Our Lady of Tears,” Based on Epic article “The Haunting of Girlstown”

There are tears in Issa López’s future…

The 48-year-old Mexican writer and director will adapt and direct Our Lady of Tears for Blumhouse based on the Daniel Hernandez’s Epic magazine article “The Haunting of Girlstown,” which was published on Vox.

Issa López

The article focuses on a mass hysteria epidemic with supernatural roots, that in 2007 spread through Villa de las Niñas, an all girls, Catholic boarding school in the outskirts of Mexico City. The school recruited and isolated socially neglected girls coming from families living in extreme poverty and in remote areas of Mexico.

The project is in the same supernatural spirit of López’s previous feature, Tigers Are Not Afraidwhich followed children fighting for survival in a harsh real-life environment.

“The moment I read the Epic article, I knew I wanted to tell this story. I myself attended a Catholic school in Mexico City. I grew up on a steady diet of supernatural visitations and miracles, and of the real life horrors that young girls who grow up in poverty face every day in Mexico, and around the world. Having the chance to tell that story with Jason [Blum] and his team, producers of such socially incisive genre classics like Get Out, and of so many true horror gems, is a huge privilege. I couldn’t be more excited about this movie,” said López in a statement.

“The Blumhouse team was enthralled by the original article and Daniel’s deep reporting around such a terrifying and heartbreaking story. Ever since I first watched Tiger’s Are Not Afraid, I have wanted to find a project to collaborate on with Issa and I knew this was a perfect fit. I can’t wait for audiences to see her take on this material,” said Blumhouse co-founder and CEO,Jason Blum.

“Epic spent years tracking down former students, government officials and teachers to try to understand what happened at Girlstown. We learned that isolation can protect us from physical threats but our internal demons follow us wherever we go,” said Joshua Davis, co-founder, Epic.

Our Lady of Tears will be produced by Blumhouse in association with Epic Media.

USA Network Orders Second Season of Gabriel Chavarria’s “The Purge” Series 

Gabriel Chavarria is still purging

USA Network has picked up its series The Purge, starring the 29-year-old Latino actor, for a second season.

Gabriel Chavarria

The news came ahead of the show’s Season 1 finale.

Based on the popular movie franchise, the series is a co-production with Blumhouse Television and Universal Cable Productions. It is currently the network’s No. 1 drama, averaging 2.3 million viewers in Live+7 ratings and 1.2 million in the key 18-49 demo.

“USA Network is so proud to be the television home for the iconic franchise The Purge,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, in a release announcing the news. “The partnership and creative trust of Jason Blum and everyone at Blumhouse Television and Universal Pictures ensured The Purge’s successful transition from film to TV – and, along with Universal Cable Productions, we look forward to digging even deeper into the mythology in Season 2.”

The series revolves around a 12-hour period when all crime, including murder, is legal. Set in an altered America ruled by a totalitarian political party, Season 1 follows several seemingly unrelated characters living in a small city. As the clock winds down, they are forced to reckon with their past as they discover how far they will go to survive the night.

Film franchise creator James DeMonaco is executive producer of the series.

In addition to Chavarria, who portrays Miguel Guerrero, the series also stars Jessica Garza.

Longoria Signs First-Look Deal with Universal Pictures

Eva Longoria is going universal…

The 41-year-old Mexican American actress, producer and activist and her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment have agreed to a two-year, first-look deal with Universal Pictures.

Eva Longoria

Universal president of production Peter Cramer made the pact.

First up is Universal’s acquisition of rights to My Daughter’s Quinceañera, a pitch from Lauren Iungerich, creator of the MTV series Awkward.

Longoria and producing partner Ben Spector will produce.

It’s the first crack at features for Iungerich, who’s attached to write, direct and co-produce the film that centers on an overwhelmed single father who is faced with the prospect of planning the quinceañera of his daughter’s dreams.

On the Universal deal, Cramer said: “While audiences have identified with Eva through her iconic television roles, she is also an extremely savvy producer with a keen eye for projects that appeal to a broad range of diverse audiences. We are fortunate that Eva has a found a home with Universal, sharing with us her creative instincts and passion for storytelling.”

Longoria, whose deal was made by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, is filming BBC Two’s high-end comedy miniseries Decline and Fall, an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic social satire. She’ll next be seen in Ricardo de Montreuil’s Lowriders, which premiered at this year’s LA Film Festival. The film is produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Blumhouse Production’s Jason Blum.

“Building upon our continued success as producers in television, we were seeking a home to expand the UnbeliEVAble brand into features,” said Longoria. “There’s simply no better place I could think of than Universal Pictures, whose diverse portfolio of releases is inspirational. Jeff, Donna and Peter’s passion was instrumental in keeping us in the Comcast family, and, beginning with My Daughter’s Quinceañera, we look forward to a long relationship with all our partners at the studio. Lauren’s pitch was so brilliant and funny, and to bring this experience to life is like reliving my 15th birthday.”

Longoria In Talks to Star in BBC Two’s “Decline and Fall” Project

Eva Longoria is Fall(ing) for her next project…

The 41-year-old Mexican American actress and former Desperate Housewives star is in final talks to star opposite British comedy star Jack Whitehall in BBC Two’s high-end adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic social satire Decline and Fall.

Eva Longoria

James Wood is adapting the three-part miniseries, which is set in 1920s Wales.

A bitingly funny satire, Decline And Fall follows the life and times of hapless Paul Pennyfeather (Whitehall), who is sent down from Oxford after a wild, drunken party and finds himself qualifying for the position of schoolmaster at a boys’ private school in Wales. There he meets the delectable Margot Beste-Chetwynde (Longoria), the wealthy, powerful, and beautiful South American woman, who becomes the object of his affections.

Guillem Morales is set to direct. Principal photography is set to commence July 18th for seven weeks in Wales.

Longoria is a Golden Globe-nominated and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning multi-hyphenate. Since breaking through on Desperate Housewives, Longoria has guest starred on Fox’s Brooklyn Nine Nine, Lifetime’s Devious Maids, and starred on NBC’s Telenovela — the latter two of which she also exec produced through her production banner UnbeliEVAble Entertainment.

Longoria also has several upcoming films including the Jason Blum/Brian Grazer produced Lowriders; and Refugio, written and directed by Academy Award-nominee Demian Bichir.

Additionally, Longoria has just secured a guest role on the new Lorne Michaels’ variety series for NBC Maya and Marty.

Trailer Released for Gomez-Rejon’s Horror Meta-Remake “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”

It’s a dreaded time for Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is

MGM has released the first trailer for the Latino film and television director’s horror meta-remake The Town That Dreaded Sundown, which hails from producers Jason Blum and Ryan Murphy.

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Following the events of the low-budget 1976 slasher from Charles B. Pierce, The Town That Dreaded Sundown picks up decades after the Phantom Killer terrorized rural Texarkana when the murders start again and a teenager (Californication’s Addison Timlin) finds herself in the killer’s sights.

It’s Gomez-Rejon’s first time directing a feature.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the film will have its first public screening this month at Austin’s Fantastic Fest before MGM’s Orion Pictures releases it in October.

Gomez-Rejon, who was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Directing For a Miniseries for American Horror Story: Coven, has directed several episodes of Glee and American Horror Story. He also directed an episode of The Carrie Diaries and the pilot for Red Band Society.

del Toro Partners with Legendary Entertainment & YouTube Spaces for a Horror Talent Search

Guillermo del Toro is ready to welcome new talent into his House of Horrors…

Legendary Entertainment will combine a talent hunt with promotion of the 49-year-old Mexican filmmaker’s upcoming horror film Crimson Peak.

Guillermo del Toro

The contest has been announced in concert with Google’s YouTube Spaces, which provide production and post-production facilities for YouTube creators in four big cities.

As part of the deal, Gothic-horror sets “inspired by” del Toro’s work on Crimson Peak will be installed in YouTube Spaces in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London and the soon-to-open New York locale. The sets will vary by site, but are billed as the sorts of creepy backdrops worthy of any Gothic horror film, including “a Great Room from an old manor house,”  “a sinister staircase and Gothic windows that lead out to a haunted garden,” and “an abandoned Solarium cluttered with over-grown plants, birdcages and weathered tools.”

YouTube creators at each site will be invited to make video shorts with horror themes using the sets between September 22 and October 28. The videos will go live between October 21 and Halloween, and will run on each creator’s YouTube site along with the channels for YouTube Spaces and Legendary.

del Toro will pick the best videos from each site, and consult with the creators on further fine-tuning.

Legendary will offer a development deal to the creator behind the best resulting short to further flesh out their project into a possible film. If it all works, Legendary could find a ultra-low-budget creator similar to Jason Blum, whom Universal recently signed to a long-term deal after a lucrative run of cheap and extremely profitable horror pics.

Here’s a video of del Toro introducing the YouTube House of Horrors project:

Alba In Talks to Star in the Horror Film “The Veil”

The veil is falling on Jessica Alba’s next project…

The 32-year-old half-Mexican American actress is in talks to star opposite Thomas Jane in The Veil, the latest microbudget horror film from Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse Productions.

Jessica Alba

The Veil centers on members of a religious cult known as Heaven’s Veil who take their own lives. The truth behind what really happened remains buried deep in the memory of the sole survivor, a five-year-old girl, who returns to the compound with a documentary crew as an adult. They soon discover something that is far more terrifying than anything they could have imagined.

Alba will play the documentary filmmaker who accompanies the survivor back to the compound to investigate what really happened.

Phil Joanou is set to direct the film, from a scriot by Robert Ben Garant, with filming expected to start in April.

Alba previously worked with Blum on Stretch, a thriller starring Patrick Wilson and Ed Helms.

She recently completed the action comedy Barely Lethal for Kyle Newman and has Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in the can.

Her previous horror films include The Killer Inside Me and The Eye.