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.

Antonio Banderas to Receive International Star Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

Antonio Banderas is a shining star… 

The 59-year-old Spanish actor will receive the 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival’s International Star Award, Actor for his performance in Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory

Antonio Banderas

“Throughout his career Antonio Banderas has garnered international acclaim and world recognition from his memorable performances,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In his latest film Pain and Glory, Antonio Banderas gives another deeply moving performance as aging film director Salvador Mallo going through a creative crisis as he reflects on the choice’s he’s made throughout his life.”

Past recipients of the International Star Award include Javier BardemNicole KidmanHelen Mirren, Gary Oldman and Saoirse Ronan

Banderas, who recently earned a Goya Award nomination for his performance in Pain and Glory, will join the previously announced honorees Jennifer Lopez (Spotlight Award), Joaquin Phoenix (Chairman’s Award), Martin Scorsese Sonny Bono Visionary Award), Charlize Theron( International Star Award, Actress) and Renée Zellweger(Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress).

From Sony Picture Classicsand presented by El DeseoPain and Glory tells of a series of reencounters experienced by Salvador Mallo, a film director in his physical decline. Some of them in the flesh, others remembered.

The award will be presented at the festival’s Film Awards Galaon Thursday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

The festival runs January 2-13, 2020.

Banderas’ next project is Dolittle

Ismael Cruz Cordova to Star in HBO’s Limited Series “The Undoing”

Ismael Cruz Cordovais Undoing things…

The 31-year-old Puerto Rican actor has been cast opposite Nicole KidmanHugh Grant and Donald Sutherland in The Undoing, HBO’s high-profile six-episode limited series written by David E. Kelleyand directed by Susanne Bier.

Ismael Cruz Cordova

An adaptation of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s book You Should Have Known, The Undoingcenters on Grace Sachs (Kidman), who is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. She’s a successful therapist, has a devoted husband (Grant) and young son (Noah Jupe) who attends an elite private school in New York City. Overnight a chasm opens in her life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

Cordova will play Fernando Alves.

The cast also includes Edgar Ramirezand Lily Rabe.

Cruz Cordova recently starred in Miss Bala for SonyMary Queen of Scots for Focus Films and Berlin Stationfor Epix

Gabriel Mariño Wins Two Awards at the Los Cabos Intl. Film Festival

Gabriel Mariño is the man of the hour in Mexico…

The Mexican director’s “Yesterday Wonder I Was” was a big winner at the 6th Los Cabos Intl. Film Festival on Saturday night.

Gabriel Mariño

Mariño’s black & white low-fi fantasy tale won the Premio FIPRESCI in the Mexico Primero category, as well as the Cinemex Prize.

The film is a body-swapping tale of a solitary soul in one of the world’s most populated cities. The entity, completely unintentionally and unexplained, occasionally wakes up in a new body for an unknown period of time. Gender, age and physical features are all lost, the only thing remaining is the entity’s consciousness. The film follows the entity through parks, parties, rooftops and its beloved courtyard garden as it tries to make a connection with someone who will love it in return, in spite of its condition. That possible connection comes in the form of Luisa, a beautiful hairdresser who cuts the entity’s hair after each swap. When finally it wakes up in a body young and attractive enough to instill the necessary confidence, the entity makes its move and begins a relationship with Luisa, not knowing how she will respond to the next swap.

Mariño’s second feature film hit Los Cabos off Mexico’s Morelia Festival last month, where it won the awards for best first/second Mexican film and actress (Sonia Franco).

Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project,” which was shot with an eye for eye-popping color by ace Mexican cinematographer Alexis Zabe, took home the top prize at the festival.

Baker’s latest take on America’s margins – here a hooker mother and six-year-old scam-artist daughter struggling to get by at roadside motel flophouse in the shadow of Disney World – was always a frontrunner in main competition.

David Pablos’ “Dive” took was given the Los Cabos Goes to Cannes Award.

To be directed by Pablos, the project is inspired by a real case of sexual abuse by a trainer of his young female divers in Mexico’s high-board diving team. Winningly, the film looks set to present both the power dynamics, which facilitated the abuse and the protagonist’s psychological battle to recognize that she has even been the victim.

Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman accepted an Outstanding Cinema Award at the beginning of Los Cabos’ awards gala ceremony.

Here’s a look at the night’s big winners:

LOS CABOS COMPETITION: “The Florida Project,” (Sean Baker, U.S.) 

MEXICO PRIMERO

PREMIO FIPRESCI: “Yesterday Wonder I Was,” (Gabriel Mariño, Mexico)
CINEMEX PRIZE: “Yesterday Wonder I Was”
CINEMEX AUDIENCE AWARD: “Road to Mars,” (Humberto Hinojosa)
ART KINGDOM AWARD: “Morir a los desiertos,” (Marta Ferrer, Mexico)

GABRIEL FIGUEROA FILM FUND AWARDS

LOS CABOS GOES TO CANNES AWARD: “Dive,” (David Pablos)
WORKS IN PROGRESS: “History Lessons,” (Marcelino Islas Hernández)
FILM IN DEVELOPMENT: Noche de fuego,” (Tatiana Huezo); “Israela & Talleen,” (Trisha Ziff)
LABO AWARD: “Bayoneta,” (Kizza Terrazas); “The Chambermaid,” (Lila Avilés)
CTT EXP & RENTALS AWARD: “Dive”
CHEMISTRY AWARD: Penumbra, by Pablo Barrera
TALENT ON THE ROAD / WORLD TALENT HOUSE AWARD: “My Tender Matador,” (Rodrigo Sepúlveda, Chile)
LCI AWARD: “Temple,” (Lucia Gaja)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Nicole Kidman

Thorne Joins Voice Cast of The Weinstein Co.’s “The Guardian Brothers”

Bella Thorne has a new guardian

The 19-year-old half-Cuban American actress/singer has joined the voice cast of The Weinstein Co.’s The Guardian Brothers.

Bella Thorne

Thorne, best known for starring in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up, joins a cast that includes Edward Norton, Jim Gaffigan, Meryl Streep, Mel Brooks and Nicole Kidman in the U.S. version of the animated movie.

Initially distributed in China by Alibaba Pictures in early 2016 (under the original title The Little Door Gods), the film is being re-voiced in English by The Weinstein Co.

The Weinstein Co. acquired worldwide rights, with the exception of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, for the film.

The original movie follows the comedic adventures of two “door guardians” — figures from Chinese folklore who protect the entranceway of one’s home — who are out of work because contemporary Chinese people are so busy with modern consumer life that they have forgotten about the spirit world.

Gary Wang wrote and directed The Little Door Gods, which grossed $12 million during its China release in 2016.

Blahnik to be the Subject of a Documentary Film

Manolo Blahnik and his shoes are made for walking right onto the big screen…

The 73-year-old Spanish fashion designer will be the subject of a documentary titled Manolo (The boy who made shoes for lizards).

Manolo Blahnik

The film about the fashion sensation, whose first name became a cultural reference point after frequent shout-outs on HBO’s Sex and the City, will be directed by Michael Roberts.

It’s being dubbed as an in-depth portrait of the man who is regarded as a genius by some of the most revered figures in fashion and will offer a behind-the-scenes peek into his fabulous world.

Manolo will feature interviews with a who’s who of some of the most notable figures in fashion and entertainment, including Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Andre Leon Talley, Paloma Picasso, Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, Charlotte Olympia, Iman, Jamie Preto, Naomi Campbell, David Bailey, Isaac Mizrahi, Joan Burnstein, Mary Beard, Colin McDowell, Penelope Tree, Prince of Lampedusa, Rupert Everett and Blahnik himself.

Production on the doc is currently underway.

Content Media has acquired worldwide sales rights to the film and will begin introducing Manolo next month during the European Film Market in Berlin.

“Manolo Blahnik is fashion royalty and the king of his craft,” Content Media film president Jamie Carmichael said Wednesday in a statement. “He also happens to be a wonderfully colorful and fascinating man, with a unique world view. Michael Roberts is a director with unparalleled access and understanding of the fashion world and the combination of both these golden elements will make for fabulous and fascinating cinema.”

For more than 40 years, Blahnik has been designing his shoe line, which has attracted a devoted following including the likes of Nicole Kidman, Rihanna and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Rapace to Star as Maria Callas in Biopic About the Opera Singer

There’s a legendary role in Noomi Rapace’s future …

The 35-year-old half-Spanish actress has signed on to portray iconic opera singer Maria Callas in the feature biopic Callas.

Noomi Rapace

Niki Caro is attached to direct the film from a screenplay she adapted from Alfonso Signorini’s biography Too Proud, Too Fragile.

The biopic focuses on the passionate relationship between the diva and Aristotle Onassis, which spanned almost two decades.

This is a long-gestating project that resurfaced at the Cannes Film Festival last year, before Rapace and Content’s involvement.

Rapace, who most recently joined SND’s What Happened To Monday?, is the latest Latina actress to portray the opera singer.

Spanish actress Paz Vega appeared as Callas in 2014’s Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman.

Bündchen Named the New Face of Chanel No. 5

It’s a scentsational new endorsement deal for Gisele Bündchen

The 33-year-old Brazilian supermodel has been selected as the new face of the iconic scent Chanel No. 5, according to the French fashion house.

Gisele Bündchen

Bündchen will star in the company’s new beauty advertising campaign, which is set to be released later this year. The campaign will be directed by Baz Luhrmann, who also directed the 2004 commercial starring Nicole Kidman.

Audrey Tautou and Brad Pitt have also fronted for the famed fragrance.

Chanel No5 was the first perfume launched by French couturier Gabrielle “Coco ” Chanel.

It’s the latest endorsement deal for Bündchen. She’s currently a brand ambassador for Pantene and H&M.

Vega Stuns as Maria Callas in the New Trailer for Nicole Kidman’s “Grace of Monaco”

Nicole Kidman may star as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco, but Paz Vega shines bright as late opera legend Maria Callas.

In the just-released extended trailer for the Olivier Dahan-directed film, the 38-year-old Spanish actress briefly (and stunningly) appears as the legendary soprano singer, considered one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century.

Paz Vega as Maria Callas in Grace of Monaco

Set in 1962, six years after her celebrated Wedding of the Century, “Grace of Monaco” is an intimate snapshot of a year in the life of the twentieth century’s most iconic Princess – Grace Kelly – as she strived to reconcile her past and her present, a yearning for a return to the big screen with her newfound role as a mother of two, monarch of a European principality and wife to Prince Ranier III.

Grace of Monaco, set in 1962, is an intimate snapshot of a year in the life of the twentieth century’s most iconic princess as she strived to reconcile her past and her present, a yearning for a return to the big screen with her newfound role as a mother of two, monarch of a European principality and wife to Prince Ranier III (portrayed by Tim Roth).

The trailer shows some of the struggles the former Hollywood star faced over her role as Princess Grace.

Along with Kidman, Vega and Roth, the film also stars Frank Langella, Derek Jacobi, Parker Posey and Milo Ventimiglia.

The movie will have its world premiere as the opening-night film at the Cannes Film Festival on May 14. It also gets released in France on that same day.

Warner Bros. releases in the United Kingdom on June 6. The Weinstein Company will release the film in the U.S.

Amenábar to Direct Ethan Hawke in the Thriller “Regression” for The Weinstein Company

Alejandro Amenábar is partnering with The Weinstein Company-Dimension for his next project…

The film studio has acquired the U.S rights to Regression, an elevated suspense thriller to be directed by the 41-year-old Spanish-Chilean Oscar-winning director.

Alejandro Amenábar

Amenábar returns to the English language realm with the film, starring Ethan Hawke, which is set in 1980 in a small Minnesota town where a man is arrested for sexually abusing his daughter. He admits his guilt despite having no memory of it. With the help of a psychologist, he relives the memories and implicates a police officer as his partner in crime. The man’s estranged son and other townspeople are also suddenly able to relive suppressed memories of horrific abuse. At the same time, the local news reports blame a Satanic cult that has been performing rituals of orgies, assault, killing animals and even babies, for years. The officers are alarmed when similar reports come in from all around the country—they believe they’ve uncovered a national and possibly supernatural conspiracy. Is the abuse real, or something else?

This marks a re-team between Amenábar, who won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2004 for the Javier Bardem-starrer The Sea Inside, and Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who last worked with the helmer at Miramax on The Others, the sleeper hit thriller that starred Nicole Kidman and grossed $97 million U.S. and $210 million worldwide in 2001.

Amenábar, a nine-time Goya Award winner, has a resume that includes Tesis, Abre los ojos and Agora.