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.

Bardem to Serve as a Presenter at This Year’s Academy Awards

Javier Bardem has a date with Oscar

The 47-year-old Spanish actor, who won an Academy Award for his role in No Country for Old Men, will serve as a presenter at the 89th Academy Awards on February 26.

Javier Bardem

In addition to Bardem, the latest list of presenters includes

Amy Adams, Riz Ahmed, John Cho, Dwayne Johnson, Felicity Jones, Leslie Mann, Janelle Monáe, David Oyelowo, Emma Stone and Charlize Theron, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Previously announced presenters include Halle Berry, Jamie Dornan, Chris Evans, Gael García Bernal, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Dakota Johnson, Shirley MacLaine, Kate McKinnon and Hailee Steinfeld. 

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. ABC will broadcast the ceremony live.

Disney Unveils Trailer for Luna’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Diego Luna is going Rogue

Disney premiered the long-awaited trailer for its first Star Wars spinoff feature, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, starring the 36-year-old Mexican actor, on Good Morning America

Diego Luna in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Directed by Gareth EdwardsRogue One takes place prior to 1977’s Star Wars and revolves around a gang of rebel spies who steal the Death Star plans, which are ultimately uploaded on R2-D2.

Details on the film have been tight, and the teaser comes as a big revelation of what’s to come. Apparently, neither Jedis nor the Force will appear in this movie, although there have been whispers about a Darth Vader cameo.

Oscar nominee Felicity Jones plays chief spy Jyn Erso, while Riz Ahmed and Luna portray resistance fighters assisting in the heist. Ben Mendelsohn portrays a dominant Imperial villain. Forest Whitaker, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen and Mads Mikkelsen also star. In addition, there’s a number of AT-ATs wreaking havoc on a tropical beach. But the cameo that has Star Wars fans giddy this morning is red-haired rebel leader Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), last seen in 1983’s Return of the Jedi and 2005’s Revenge of the SithShe calls Jones’ Erso “reckless, aggressive and undisciplined”.

Chris Weitz and Gary Whitta wrote the Rogue One screenplay based on an idea by John Knoll. Similar to last year with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Christmas comes early with Rogue One opening on December 16. Force Awakens broke the domestic box office record with $247.97 million on its way to $2 billion worldwide.

The movie marks the first time that the Star Wars story has been told on the big screen outside the confines of its episodic structure.

Luna to Star in the “Star Wars” Standalone Film “Rogue One”

May the force be with Diego Luna

Lucasfilm has announced the cast members and crew who will make up Star Wars’ standalone Rogue One, including the 35-year-old Mexican actor/director/producer, accompanied by the film’s first cast photo.

Diego Luna

Directed by Gareth Edwards, the film focuses on resistance fighters who unite to steal plans to Death Star.

Along with Luna, who last starred in Elysium, cast members include Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk and Riz Ahmed.

Star Wars Rogue One

Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe,” producer Kathleen Kennedy said in a release. “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know.”

Rogue One is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.