Fernanda Valadez’s “Identifying Features” Wins Gotham Awards’ Inaugural Best International Feature Award

Fernanda Valadez is in a New York state of mind…

The Gotham Film and Media Institute’s 30th annual Gotham Awards have been revealed virtually, with the Mexican filmmaker taking home a prize.

Fernanda Valadez

Valadez’s critically acclaimed Identifying Features (Sin Señas Particulares) picked up the inaugural award for Best International Feature.

The drama premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic and the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay.

Co-written by Valadez and Astrid Rondero, the film centers on the many immigrants who often go missing or die on their journeys. Most of the main characters are mothers trying to find their children.

IFP Executive Director Jeffrey Sharp welcomed the virtual audience and the night featured a handful of in-person presenters including Renee Elise Goldsberry, Cristin Milioti, Hunter Schafer, Padma Lakshmi, Michael Shannon and Noma Dumezweni, as well as remote presenters such as Zachary Quinto, Lupita Nyong’o, Anthony Mackie, Rebecca Hall and Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre.

Here’s the full list of winners below.

BEST FEATURE: Nomadland
BEST DOCUMENTARY – TIE A Thousand Cuts & Time
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: Identifying Features
BINGHAM RAY BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR AWARD: Andrew Patterson, The Vast of Night
BEST SCREENPLAY – TIE: The Forty-Year-Old Version, Radha Blank & Fourteen, Dan Sallitt
BEST ACTOR: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
BEST ACTRESS: Nicole Beharie, Miss Juneteenth
BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR: Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami…
BREAKTHROUGH SERIES – LONG FORMAT (40-PLUS MINUTES PER EPISODE): Watchmen
BREAKTHROUGH SERIES – SHORT FORMAT (LESS THAN 40 MINUTES PER EPISODE): I May Destroy You
ACTRESS TRIBUTE: Viola Davis
ACTOR TRIBUTE: Chadwick Boseman
ENSEMBLE TRIBUTE: The cast of The Trial of the Chicago 7: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Alex Sharp, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Caitlin Fitzgerald, Alice Kremelberg, and Ben Shenkman.
DIRECTOR’S TRIBUTE: Steve McQueen
INDUSTRY TRIBUTE: Ryan Murphy
MADE IN N.Y. AWARD: Jeffrey Wright
GOTHAM AUDIENCE AWARD: Nomadland

Lin-Manuel Miranda to Take Part in Online Fundraisers to Help Georgia Democrats Win U.S. Senate Seats in Upcoming Runoff Election

Lin-Manuel Miranda is getting political…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican acclaimed singer, rapper, composer, producer and playwright and other members of the cast of the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton, which he created, and Pearl Jam will headline online fundraisers to help Democrats win U.S. Senate seats in the coming January 5 runoff elections.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

If Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win their races, the Senate will be at a 50-50 breakdown between the parties, but soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris would break a tie.

Pearl Jam will join Miranda for a conversation about their artistic inspirations, with Wayne Brady as the emcee. The event will take place at 8:30 pm ET on December 16 on the virtual platform Looped. Tickets start at $10 per person, with proceeds going to the Latino Victory Project, the Latino Community Fund of Georgia and the Hispanic Federation.

Miranda and other members of the cast of Hamilton also are participating in a December 13 fundraiser for Georgia Democrats, Ossoff and Warnock in a livestream set for 8:30 pm ET. Others scheduled to participate include Leslie Odom Jr, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Christopher Jackson, Jonathan Groff, Javier Muñoz, Sasha Hutchings, Thayne Jasperson, Ariana DeBose, Sydney James Harcourt, Carleigh Bettiol, Andrew Chappelle, Alysha Deslorieux, Morgan Marcell, Austin Smith and Betsy Struxness. There is no set ticket price, but the invite suggests $30.

The Hamilton cast also reunited in October for a fundraiser for Biden’s campaign.

The last time there was such a 50-50 split was in 2001, with Republicans having control because the Vice President was Dick Cheney.

Lin-Manuel Miranda & His Hamilton Cast Mates to Reunite for Joe Biden Presidential Campaign Fundraiser

Lin-Manuel Miranda is doing his bidding for Biden…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist, actor, singer/rapper, producer and playwright and the original cast of his hit musical Hamilton will reunite this week for a fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, the latest pop culture themed virtual event.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's final Hamilton curtain call

The campaign announced that among those participating will be Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Javier Muñoz, Leslie Odom, Jr., Okieriete Onaodowa and Phillipa Soo. Director Thomas Kail will moderate a Q&A, and it will be followed by a special performance.

The event will take place at 9:00 pm ET on Friday, October 16 with no ticket amount. Proceeds will go to the Biden Victory Fund.

The cast of Hamilton also performed in 2016 for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Democrats have been drawing on cast reunions as a way to raise small-dollar contributions. The Wisconsin Democratic Party has hosted recent virtual reunions of the cast of The Princess Bride and Veep.

HBO Max is debuting a West Wing reunion on October 15 to benefit When We All Vote, the get-out-the-vote effort led by Michelle Obama.

Chita Rivera Among the Stars Taking Part in Fundraising Concert for Joe Biden, “In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nation”

Chita Rivera is Biden her time before the upcoming presidential election…

The 87-year-old half-Puerto Rican Broadway star will be among the stars of the Great White Way who’ll stage a fundraising concert for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, with plans to stream the event on October 21.

Chita Rivera

The event, which starts at 8:00 pm ET, is organized by the group Broadway for Biden and is called In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nationwith donations going to the Biden Victory Fund.

In addition to Rivera, the lineup of the concert includes Derrick Baskin, Laura Benanti, Victoria Clark, Glenn Close, Chuck Cooper, Darren Criss, André De Shields, Renée Elise Goldsberry, John Goodman, Jayne Houdyshell, Jennifer Hudson, James Monroe Iglehart, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Norman Lear, Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Rita Moreno, Karen Olivo, Ashley Park, Steven Pasquale, Carrie Preston, Kelani Queypo, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Phillipa Soo, Ephraim Sykes, BD Wong, the Broadway Dreams Foundation Choir, and the casts of Six and KPOP.

Liesl Tommy, director of the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect (with Hudson in the lead role), will direct the show. Tommy is the executive producer along with Julie Boardman, Nolan Doran, Halle Morse, and Jennifer Mudge.

The concert will stream on YouTube via news publisher NowThis, on Facebook via Broadway for Biden and NowThis, and on Broadway Unlocked.

In a statement, Tommy said, “It is a tremendous honor to direct this incredible collective of performers and artists, who are coming together to amplify the promise of Broadway and a nation that are future-looking, accessible, and deeply inclusive.”

The evening will include original material, stagings of musical numbers that have never been seen, and previews of productions bound for Broadway. Among those contributing are Chad Beguelin, Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage, Robert O’Hara, Stacey Rose, Aurin Squire, DeLanna Studi, Paula Vogel and John Waters.

Christopher Gattelli, Lorin Latarro, Ray Mercer, and Abbey O’Brien will provide original choreography, with music direction by Jason Michael Webb. Chris Boardman and Charlie Rosen will provide orchestrations. Sean McLaughlin will serve as director of photography and Grady Bowman will be associate choreographer.

The event is in the vein of a fundraiser in 2012 for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, called Barack on Broadway, that was produced by Margo Lion and others.

Disney Bringing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hit Broadway Musical “Hamilton” to the Big Screen

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadwayhit is heading to the big screen. 

Disney will release a feature film of the original Tony Award-winning stage musical Hamilton, created by the 40-year-old Puerto Rican composer/lyricist, actor and creator, in the U.S. and Canada on October 15, 2021.

Hamilton

The studio is teaming with Miranda, Jeffrey Sellerand Thomas Kail on the project, which is billed as a “leap forward in the art of ‘live capture.’” It explains the live capture method as “combining the best elements of live theater and film,” resulting in “a cinematic stage performance that is a wholly new way to experience Hamilton.”

Producers for this version of Hamilton include Miranda, Seller and Kail, who also directs. 

The film was shot in June 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatreand reports began circulatingin 2018 that bidders were circling the film version of the stage production. Studios had to pledge not to release it until at least 2020.

The original Broadway cast of the record-smashing show will appear in the new film. Cast members include Miranda as Alexander HamiltonDaveed Diggsas Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas JeffersonRenée Elise Goldsberryas Angelica Schuyler; and Leslie Odom, Jr.as Aaron Burr. Also due to star are Christopher Jacksonas George WashingtonJonathan Groffas King GeorgePhillipa Sooas Eliza Hamilton; and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria ReynoldsOkieriete Onaodowanas Hercules Mulligan/James Madison; and Anthony Ramosas John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.

“Lin-Manuel Miranda created an unforgettable theater experience and a true cultural phenomenon, and it was for good reason that Hamiltonwas hailed as an astonishing work of art. All who saw it with the original cast will never forget that singular experience,” Disney CEO Bob Igersaid. “And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this same Broadway experience with millions of people around the world.”

Miranda, who starred in an update of Mary Poppinsin 2018, affirmed his connection with Disney. “I fell in love with musical storytelling growing up with the legendary Howard AshmanAlan MenkenDisney collaborations – The Little MermaidBeauty and The BeastAladdin,” he said. “I’m so proud of what Tommy Kail has been able to capture in this filmed version of Hamilton – a live theatrical experience that feels just as immediate in your local movie theater. We’re excited to partner with Disney to bring the original Broadway company of Hamilton to the largest audience possible.”

Kail added, “We are thrilled for fans of the show, and new audiences across the world, to experience what it was like on stage – and in the audience – when we shot this. … We wanted to give everyone the same seat, which is what this film can provide.”

According to sources, Disney beat out other suitors and paid $75 million for worldwide rights to the show that won 11 Tony Awards in 2016, as well as the Pulitzer Prizefor Drama. Disney won the deal with a commitment for a wide global theatrical release for the 2 hour, 40 minute movie, which was shot two weeks before the original cast left.

Netflix to Release Season Two of Lela Loren’s “Altered Carbon” in February

Lela Loren’s Alteredlife is coming to light next month…

Netflix will launch season two of its ambitious sci-fi series Altered Carbon, starring the 39-year-old half-Mexican actress, on February 27.

Lela Loren

In addition to Loren, who portrays Danica Harlan in season two, the series also stars Anthony MackieRenée Elise GoldsberrySimone MissickChris ConnerDina Shihabi and Torben LiebrechtWill Yun Leeand James Saitoguest star.

Based on Richard K. Morgan’s classic sci-fi novels, Altered Carbonis from Skydance Television

The synopsis from producers: “Set more than 300 years in the future in a society transformed by new technology: consciousness can be digitized; human bodies are interchangeable; death is no longer permanent. Season Two of the sophisticated and compelling sci-fi drama finds Takeshi Kovacs (Mackie), the lone surviving soldier of a group of elite interstellar warriors, continuing his centuries old quest to find his lost love Quellcrist Falconer (Goldsberry).

Loren is best known for her leading role as Angela “Angie” Valdes on the Starz television series, Power.

Lela Loren to Star on Netflix’s “Altered Carbon”

Lela Loren is alteringher life…

The 39-year-old half-Mexican American actress and Power star has joined the second season of Netflix‘s sci-fi drama Altered Carbon.

Lela Loren

Loren, who played Angela Valdes on the Starzseries, will play Danica Harlan, the charming and ambitious governor of planet Harlan’s World. Her character has the support of the people, but keeps an uneasy grip on the political players who surround her.

She joins new cast additions including Simone Missick, who plays Trepp, Dina Shihabi, as Dig 301, Torben Liebrecht as Colonel Carrera and James Saito, as Tanaseda Hideki, in the second season of the drama as well Anthony Mackie, who plays the lead, Takeshi Kovacs. 

Renée Elise Goldsberry and Chris Connerwill also reprise their roles as Quellcrist Falconer and Poe, respectively, ending speculation whether any Season 1 cast members would return for Season 2.

Based on the classic science fiction novels by Richard K. MorganAltered Carbon, from Skydance Television, takes place over 300 years in the future, where society has been transformed by new technology, consciousness can be digitized, human bodies are interchangeable and death is no longer permanent.

The eight-part drama, which was filmed in Vancouver, will launch in 2020. 

HBO Releases Trailer for Santiago-Hudson’s Telepic “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

It’s a first look at Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Immortal project…

HBO has released a first look at its upcoming telepic The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, starring the 60-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor and featuring Oprah Winfrey in a rare starring turn.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson

It’s the true story of the African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line after many other such efforts failed — and without her permission or knowledge.

Told through the eyes of Henrietta Lacks’ daughter, Deborah (Winfrey), the HBO Films project chronicles her search, with the help of journalist Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne), to learn about the mother she never knew and understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented breakthroughs that changed the face of medicine forever. When the sheepishly smiling writer tells Deborah that she wants to pen a book about her mom’s experience, Deborah looks her up and down, then says, “Hope I don’t regret this.”

In addition to Winfrey, Byrne and Santiago-Hudson, the telepic also stars Renée Elise Goldsberry, Rocky Carroll, Kyanna Simone Simpson, Courtney B. Vance, Leslie UggamsReg E. CatheyReed Birney and Melvin Van Peebles.

The film hails from writer-director George C. Wolfe, based on Skloot’s 2010 book.

It premieres at 8:00 pm ET on April 22 on HBO.

Miranda to Perform at One-Night Only Broadway Show Benefiting Hillary Clinton’s Hillary Victory Fund

Lin-Manuel Miranda is stumping for Hillary Clinton

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican actor and Hamilton star/creator has joined the list of Broadway and Hollywood stars teaming up for a one-night only Broadway performance benefiting the Hillary Victory Fund.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Miranda joins a lineup that includes Julia Roberts and Hugh Jackman, all appearing in support of Clinton.

The show, “Stronger Together,” features Chelsea Clinton as a special guest and Billy Crystal as host, appearing alongside familiar faces including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Josh Groban, Angela Bassett, Neil Patrick Harris, Helen Mirren, Sienna Miller, Bernadette Peters, Cynthia Erivo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Sarah Jones, Andrea McArdle and Ayodele Casel.

Organizers of the evening promise new duets and collaborations.

Michael Mayer, the Spring Awakening and Hedwig and the Angry Inch director whose Off-Broadway production of Love, Love, Love is now running, will direct the production, with Diane Paulus on board as special consultant. John Guare serves as script consultant, with Seth Rudetsky as musical director.

The event is set for October 17 at the St. James Theater, the Jujamcyn-owned venue currently occupied by “Something Rotten!,” which is dark on Monday nights.

Tickets are on sale on the Hillary Clinton website.

Santiago-Hudson to Star in HBO Films’ “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

Ruben Santiago-Hudson is preparing for a new Life

The 59-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor has joined the cast of HBO FilmsThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, starring Oprah Winfrey. 

Ruben Santiago-Hudson

The telepic tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks (Renée Elise Goldsberry), an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line. Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks (Winfrey), the film chronicles her search to learn about the mother she never knew and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever.

It’s a story of medical arrogance and triumph, race, poverty and deep friendship between the unlikeliest of people.

Santiago-Hudson will portray Dr. Pattillo, a doctor and professor of gynecology who facilitated Rebecca’s (Rose Byrne) communication with the Lacks family.

George C. Wolfe is writer-director of Harpo Films’ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is exec produced by Winfrey.