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.

Ana De Armas to Star in the Action-Thriller “Three Seconds”

It’s a matter of seconds for Ana De Armas

The 29-year-old Cuban actress has landed a role in Andrea Di Stefano’s Three Seconds, based on the best-selling Swedish novel by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström.

Ana De Armas

She joins a cast that includes Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Common and Clive Owen.

The action-thriller was written by Matt Cook, with revisions by Rowan Joffé and current revisions by DiStefano.

The story follows reformed criminal and former Special Ops soldier Pete Hoffman who, in order to free himself from jail and return to his wife and daughter, has been working undercover for crooked FBI handlers to infiltrate the Polish mob’s drug trade in New York. In a final step toward freedom, Hoffman must return to the one place he’s fought so hard to leave: Bale Hill Prison, where his mission becomes a race against time when a drug deal goes wrong and threatens his identity as a mole.

De Armas will play Hoffman’s wife, Sofia, a small-businesswoman who owns a grocery store. She most recently was seen in Hands of Stone with Edgar Ramirez and Robert De Niro, and War Dogs with Jonah Hill and Miles Teller.

She’ll next appear in Blade Runner 2049 with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, which will bow in the U.S. on October 6 via Warner Bros.

Padilha to Direct Film Adaptation of Kevin Boyle’s Book “Arc of Justice”

José Padilha is forming his own Justice league…

The 49-year-old Brazilian television and film director, producer and screenwriter is at the center of a deal by The Mark Gordon Company to helm the film adaptation of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, the 2004 nonfiction National Book Award winner by historian Kevin Boyle.

José Padilha

The Mark Gordon Company will finance the Padilha-directed will adaptation, with a script by Max Borenstein and Rodney Barnes.

The book tells the true story of a racial incident in 1925 Detroit that put African American doctor Ossian Sweet on the stand for murder. His defense was funded by the nascent NAACP and was led by legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow.

There’s no start date yet, but the film will happen quickly.

Padilha, who directed Elite Squad and its sequel before taking on the acclaimed Netflix hunt for Pablo Escobar series Narcos, has wrapped Entebbe, which stars Daniel Brühl and Rosamund Pike.

Brühl In Talks to Star in Jose Padilha’s “Entebbe”

Daniel Brühl is thisclose to lift off…

The 38-year-old half-Spanish actor is in talks to star opposite Rosamund Pike and Vincent Cassel in Jose Padilha’s Entebbe for Working Title.

Daniel Brühl

Participant is also on board as producer and in negotiations to fully finance the film, which was penned by Greg Burke, who wrote Yann Demange’s brilliant71.

It’s the 1976 true story, when four hijackers — two Palestinian, two German — took a plane hostage and diverted it to land in Entebbe, Uganda, while they demanded the release of dozens of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian prisoners.

The ticking-clock thriller follows the hijackers, hostages, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and future PM Shimon Peres trying to decide whether to negotiate or launch a raid to free the hostages, as well as the French crew led by the pilot who refused to leave when they could with the other French hostages.

Given Europe’s own summer of terror, with the wave of attacks in France and Germany — not to mention devastating attacks in Iraq, Turkey, Orlando and elsewhere — the picture is likely to have strong contemporary relevance even with its historical setting.

Padilha, who shot to prominence with his gritty police crime tale Elite Squad — which won Berlin’s Golden Bear in 2007 — will bring his research-based documentary background to bear as he did so successfully in both Elite Squad films, his searing documentary Bus 174 and, of course his brilliant Pablo Escobar Netflix drama Narcos. Padilha will examine the story from multiple points of view – the German and Palestinian hijackers, the Israeli (and other nationalities) hostages, as well as Israeli officials like Peres and Rabin.

The story of the Entebbe raid and hijackings has been told before on TV and in numerous docus. Peter Finch and Charles Bronson starred in the 1976 NBC movie of the week Raid On Entebbe directed by Irvin Kershner, while a rival TV movie Victory At Entebbe was produced the same year at ABC starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster.

The latest project reps the first time the story will be told for the big screen by a filmmaking team at the absolute top of its game.

Brühl has The Zookeeper’s Wife opposite Jessica Chastain in post and is also set to star in the JJ Abrams-produced God Particle alongside Elizabeth Debicki, John Krasinski and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.