Cinema Guild Acquires U.S. Distribution Rights to Juan Pablo González’s Drama “Dos Estaciones”

Juan Pablo González’s acclaimed film is heading to U.S. theaters…

Cinema Guild has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to the 37-year-old Mexican film director, screenwriter and editor’s fiction feature debut Dos Estaciones, which won a special jury award for lead actor Teresa Sánchez’s performance when it premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Juan Pablo GonzálezThe drama follows 50-year-old businesswoman María García (Sánchez), who owns Dos Estaciones—a once-majestic tequila factory now struggling to stay afloat. The factory is the final hold-over from generations of Mexican-owned tequila plants in the highlands of Jalisco, the rest having folded into foreign corporations. Once one of the wealthiest people in town, María knows her current financial situation is untenable. When a persistent plague and an unexpected flood cause irreversible damage, she is forced to do everything she can to save her community’s primary economy and source of pride.

Dos Estaciones was also an official selection of the True/False Film Festival, where González was honored with the True Vision Award, and will screen as part of New Directors/New Films later this month.

The film, which was written by González, Ilana Coleman and Ana Isabel Fernández, also stars Rafaela Fuentes, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Tatín Vera.

“As great admirers of Juan Pablo’s non-fiction work, we’re thrilled to be releasing Dos Estaciones in the U.S.,” said Cinema Guild president Peter Kelly. “The film offers a window on issues facing contemporary Mexico with stunning images and a central performance of remarkable power and grace from Teresa Sánchez.”

“We are so humbled to be working with Cinema Guild, a company that we’ve long admired,” added González. “It’s evident from their catalog that they have a special love for cinema and we fully share that love. They’re the best home we could wish for Dos Estaciones and are so excited to be partnering with them to release such a special film for us.”

Cinema Guild is a premier distributor of world cinema, independent films and documentaries, whose upcoming releases include Hong Sangsoo’s In Front of Your Face and Anthony Banua-Simon’s Cane Fire. Recent releases include Ramon and Silvan Zürcher’s The Girl and the Spider, Fern Silva’s Rock Bottom Riser and Payal Kapadia’s A Night of Knowing Nothing.

Bleecker Street Acquires U.S. Rights to Dramatic Thriller “892,” Starring Selenis Leyva

Things are looking pretty Bleecker for Selenis Leyva.

Bleecker Street has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to the dramatic thriller 892, starring the 49-year-old Cuban and Dominican American actress and former Orange Is the New Black star.

Selenis Leyva

Leyva is among a cast that includes John Boyega, the late Michael Kenneth Williams, Nicole Beharie Olivia Washington, Connie Britton, London Covington and Jeffrey Donovan.

The film recently made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in U.S. Dramatic Competition, where it won its Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast.

Based on a true story, the feature directorial debut of Abi Damaris Corbin picks up with former U.S. Marine Brian Brown-Easley (Boyega) as his disability check from Veterans Affairs fails to materialize, watching as he finds himself on the brink of poverty. Desperate and with no other options, he walks into a Wells Fargo Bank and says, “I’ve got a bomb.” What ensues is an edge-of-your-seat narrative that reminds us of the social responsibility we have to our soldiers, our colleagues, our families as well as to strangers.

Corbin penned 892 with Kwame Kwei-Armah, who serves as artistic director for the Young Vic in London.

Salman Al-Rashid and Sam Frohman produced the film for Salmira Productions with Ashley Levinson and Kevin Turen of Little Lamb Productions and Mackenzie Fargo of Epic.

Boyega executive produced.

“We put our hearts and souls into the honest telling of Brian’s story,” said Corbin, “and it is a joy to partner with the team at Bleecker Street, knowing they are committed to do the same.”

“Abi’s depiction of Brian’s story is an absolutely essential film that we feel deserves the widest possible audience in theaters. It thrillingly delivers an important message and features an incredible performance from John Boyega in addition to the rest of the cast,” added Bleecker Street’s co-founder and CEO Andrew Karpen. “We look forward to sharing this with audiences across the country.”

Bleecker Street is planning a late-summer release in theaters nationwide.

K.D. Davila Wins Sundance Film Festival’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for Dark Comedy Short “Emergency”

K.D. Davila has a big reason to (sun)dance

Sundance Film Festival organizers have revealed the award winners for its 2022 edition, with the Mexican-American screenwriter among the honorees.

K.D. Davila

Davila was awarded the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for penning the dark comedy short Emergency.

The 12-minute film centers on a group of college students who must weigh the pros and cons of calling the police when faced with an unusual emergency.

Selenis Leyva was among the winners of the Special Jury Award: Ensemble Cast.

The 49-year-old Cuban and Dominican American actress and former Orange Is the New Black star won her award, alongside John Boyega, Nicole Beharie, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington, London Covington and Michael K Williams for their work in 892, the real-life thriller drama film written and directed by Abi Damaris Corbin and co-written by Kwame Kwei-Armah.

There were several Latinx winners in the World Cinema Dramatic competition…

The Grand Jury Prize went to Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s feature debut, the Bolivian film Utama.

Teresa Sánchez picked up the Special Jury Award: Acting for her work in the Mexican film Dos Estaciones. 

Zélia Duncan, Bruna Linzmeyer, Camila Rocha, Clarissa Ribeiro and Lorre Motta won the Special Jury Award: Ensemble Cast for their work in Brazil’s A wild patience has taken me here from director-writer Érica Sarmet.

Due to the recent Omicron surge, the Sundance Film Festival revealed the award winners via Twitter, with honors spread around across the diverse lineup unlike last year.

Here’s the full list of winners:

FESTIVAL FAVORITE AWARD
Navalny
Director: Daniel Roher

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Audience Award
Cha Cha Real Smooth
Director-Writer: Cooper Raiff

Grand Jury Award
Nanny
Director-Writer: Nikyatu Jusu

Directing
Jamie Dack
Palm Trees and Power Lines

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
K.D. Dávila
Emergency

Special Jury Award: Ensemble Cast
John Boyega, Nicole Beharie, Selenis Leyva, Connie Britton, Olivia Washington, London Covington and Michael K Williams
892

Special Jury Award: Uncompromising Artistic Vision
Bradley Rust Gray
blood

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Audience Award
Navalny
Director: Daniel Roher

Grand Jury Prize
The Exiles (U.S.)
Directors: Ben Klein, Violet Columbus

Directing
Reid Davenport
I Didn’t See You There

Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award
Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput
Fire Of Love

Special Jury Award: Impact for Change
Aftershock
Directors: Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lewis Lee

Special Jury Award: Creative Vision
Descendant
Director: Margaret Brown

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Audience Award
The Territory (Brazil/Denmark/U.S.)

Grand Jury Prize
All That Breathes (India/UK)
Director: Shaunak Sen

Directing
Simon Lereng Wilmont
A House Made Of Splinters (Denmark)

Special Jury Award: Documentary Craft
The Territory (Brazil/Denmark/U.S.)
Director: Alex Pritz

Special Jury Award: Excellence In Verité Filmmaking
Midwives (Myanmar)
Director: Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Audience Award
Girl Picture (Finland)
Director: Alli Haapasalo

Grand Jury Prize
Utama (Bolvia/Uruguay/France)
Director-Writer: Alejandro Loayza Grisi

Directing
Maryna Er Gorbach
Klondike (Ukraine/Turkey)

Special Jury Award: Innovative Spirit
Leonor Will Never Die (Philippines)
Director-Writer: Martika Ramirez Escobar

Special Jury Award: Acting
Teresa Sánchez
Dos Estaciones (Mexico)

NEXT

Audience Award
Framing Agnes (Canada/U.S.)
Director: Chase Joynt

SHORT FILMS AWARDS

Grand Jury Prize
The Headhunter’s Daughter (Philippines)
Director-Writer: Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan

Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
If I Go Will They Miss Me (U.S.)
Director-writer: Walter Thompson-Hernández

Jury Award: International Fiction
Warsha (France/Lebanon)
Director-writer: Dania Bdeir

Jury Award: Nonfiction
Displaced (Kosovo)
Director-writer: Samir Karahoda

Jury Award: Animation
Night Bus (Taiwan)
Director-writer: Joe Hsieh

Special Jury Award: Ensemble Cast
Zélia Duncan, Bruna Linzmeyer, Camila Rocha, Clarissa Ribeiro and Lorre Motta
A wild patience has taken me here (Brazil)
Director-writer: Érica Sarmet

Special Jury Award: Screenwriting
Sara Driver
Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver (U.S.)
Directors: Lewie Kloster, Noah Kloster; Writer: Sara Driver

Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize
After Yang

Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction
Su Kim, Free Chol Soo Lee (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Fiction
Amanda Marshall, God’s Country (Premieres)

Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Nonfiction
Toby Shimin

Sundance Institute | Adobe Mentorship Award for Editing Fiction
Dody Dorn

Sundance Institute | NHK Award
Hasan Hadi, The President’s Cake

Producers Guild to Honor Rita Moreno with Stanley Kramer Award

Rita Moreno is earning yet another honor…

The Producers Guild will present the 90-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer with the 2022 Stanley Kramer Award at the 33rd annual PGA Awards, set for March 19 at the Fairmont Century Plaza.

Rita MorenoThe honor goes to a production, producer or other individuals “whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues.”

Moreno, an EGOT winner, will join previous recipients including Jane Fonda as well as Get Out, Loving, Fruitvale Station, The Normal Heart, Bombshell, The Hunting Ground, An Inconvenient Truth and Hotel Rwanda.

Kramer’s work included such iconic films as Inherit the Wind, On the Beach, The Defiant Ones and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

“With grace, intelligence, charisma, and kindness, Rita Moreno made her mark in history as a brilliant entertainer and leveraged that star power to shepherd stories that tap into the human experience and represent people and communities we rarely see celebrated in film and TV,” PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher said Wednesday. “Beyond her on-screen contributions, she has used her unmistakable voice to hold a mirror to the prejudices and inequities that she so often experienced throughout her career. Her activism, strength, and artistic contributions set the precedent for how to be a changemaker in Hollywood, and it is our great honor to present Rita with the Stanley Kramer Award this year.”

Moreno most recently appeared and executive produced Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story after winning an Oscar for the original film, the latest in a seven-decade career that began with her Broadway debut at 13. She has appeared in more than 40 feature films and countless TV series including most recently Norman Lear’s remake of One Day at a Time. Her documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It had its world debut at Sundance Film Festival last year.

Moreno previously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama, the SAG Life Achievement Award, the Peabody Career Achievement Award and a Kennedy Center Honor.

“The last thing I ever dreamed of in my young life was being honored in any circumstance,” Moreno said. “That the Producers Guild of America has chosen to honor me not only for my work but for the principles I have tried to uphold and live by throughout my life is so gratifying. I am thrilled.”

Eva Longoria Directs Documentary About Oscar de la Hoya & Julio César Chávez Boxing Rivalry

Eva Longoria Bastón is going to war in the ring…

The 46-year-old Mexican American actress, director and producer has helmed La Guerra Civil, a documentary that highlights the clash of boxing champions Oscar de la Hoya and Julio César Chávez.

Oscar de la HoyaThe documentary recently made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

de la Hoya and Chávez first faced off in 1996, then battled each other in a rematch in 1998.

“I call it the golden age of boxing, like this was when boxing was at its best,” Longoria Bastón said during an appearance in Deadline’s virtual Sundance Studio. “Not only was boxing as a sport its best, Oscar and Julio were the best at that time. It feels like a time that’s gone. It feels like it’s so far away. But yet it was like yesterday.”

The bouts attracted huge attention in part because of the incredible skill of the combatants, but also because of the communities the men represented: de la Hoya grew up Mexican-American in East L.A.; Chávez was born and bred in México, a national hero in his homeland. Each fighter boasted ardent followings. But even some of de la Hoya’s family were big-time Chávez fans.

“When you have your uncles rooting for Chávez, it was very strange,” de la Hoya recalled. “But it was fun because Julio César Chávez is such a great, iconic figure in Mexico, and I was coming up after winning the Olympic Gold Medal, winning world titles. So, it’s the young bull against the older, experienced lion. It was a great rivalry.”

de la Hoya and Chávez, who have become friends since their days in the ring, both appear in the documentary. de la Hoya praised Longoria Bastón’s directorial work.

“The way Eva just put it together was incredible. She captured the important moments, those moments that literally divided our cultures because of this fight,” de la Hoya commented. “The Mexican national was my uncles — they were rooting for Chávez. The younger generation was rooting for me, the Mexican-American. So, it was it was pretty heated. Eva just captured it perfectly.”

Longoria Bastón said she grew up following boxing.

“First of all, I’m Mexican as well. Boxing is our opera. We get dressed up, we get to go experience entertainment,” she noted. “Other people have opera. We have boxing. So, I think you can’t grow up in a Mexican household and not be a fan of boxing.”

La Guerra Civil heads to the subscription sports streaming platform DAZN after its Sundance premiere.

“We really wanted to tell a sports story that hadn’t been told before,” said Grant Best, a DAZN executive who is also a producer of the documentary. “Boxing, probably more than any other sport, is not shy, it’s not afraid to connect itself with race and heritage and cultural differences, using its characters, talking through its competitors and to its fanbase… Both Oscar and Eva are perfectly placed to discuss that cultural divide that took place around the narrative of these fights.”

Carlota Pereda Signs with Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

Carlota Pereda has new representation…

The Latina writer-director, whose debut feature Piggy (Cerdita) recently made its world premiere in the Midnight Section of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Carlota PeredaIn Pereda’s acclaimed Spanish-language horror film, an overweight teen is bullied by a clique of cool girls while holidaying in her village—with the long walk home that follows changing the rest of her life.

The project was selected in 2020 at script stage for the Cannes Film Festival’s Focus Co-Production Initiative.

It expands on Pereda’s breakthrough 2018 short of the same name, which has won 90 awards, including the Spanish Academy’s Goya Award for Best Short Film in 2019, and the 2020 Slamdance AGBO Fellowship.

Pereda has also worked extensively in television—most notably directing episodes of the Spanish-language series Paco’s Men for Money Heist creator Álex Pina.

Aubrey Plaza to Star in the Second Season of HBO’s Dark Comedy “The White Lotus”

Things are in full bloom for Aubrey Plaza

The 37-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/comedian will star as a lead in the second installment of HBO’s dark comedy series The White Lotus.

Aubrey PlazaPlaza, the Parks & Recreation and Legion alum, will be a series regular.

She is the second confirmed cast member for the upcoming follow-up to Mike White’s breakout social satire limited series, joining previously cast Michael Imperioli.

The six-part original series followed visitors vacationing at the White Lotus, an exclusive Hawaiian resort. The second installment — also written, to directed by and executive produced by White — will leave Hawaii behind for a new location and is expected to follow a different group of vacationers at another White Lotus property.

Plaza will play Harper Spiller, a woman on vacation with her husband and his friends. Imperioli plays Dominic Di Grasso, a man traveling with his elderly father and recent college-graduate son.

Of the original cast, standout Jennifer Coolidge has been rumored to be returning. White executive produces alongside David Bernad and Mark Kamine.

Plaza will next be seen starring in Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre opposite Jason Statham, Hugh Grant and Josh Hartnett.

Additionally, she stars in and produced Emily the Criminal, which will premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. On television, Plaza is starring in and producing the upcoming Hulu drama series Olga Dies Dreaming, which is based on the novel by Xochitl Gonzalez.

Most recently, Plaza starred opposite Michael Caine in Best Sellers, which premiered at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival.

She won the 2021 Imagen Award for Best Actress for Black Bear and the 2018 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature for producing Ingrid Goes West.

Netflix Releases Trailer for Tessa Thompson’s Black & White Drama “Passing”

Tessa Thompson is passing the time…

Netflix has released the official trailer for Rebecca Hall’s period drama Passing, starring the 37-year-old Afro-Panamanian actress and producer and Ruth Negga.

Tessa Thompson, Passing

Hall, making her directorial debut, adapted the film from the 1929 novel by Nella Larson.

Netflix is preparing for the film’s New York Film Festival premiere on October 3, after which it will get a theatrical release followed by a debut on the streaming service on November 10.

The film, shot it black and white, tells the story of two Black women, Irene Redfield (Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Negga), who can “pass” as white but choose to live on opposite sides of the color line during the height of the Harlem Renaissance in late 1920s New York.

After a chance encounter, Irene reluctantly allows Clare into her home, where she ingratiates herself to Irene’s husband (André Holland) and family, and soon her larger social circle as well. Irene soon finds her once-steady existence upended by Clare, and the story becomes one of obsession, repression and the lies people tell themselves and others to protect their carefully constructed realities.

Bill Camp, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy and Alexander Skarsgard also star in the film, which is produced by Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker, Margot Hand and Hall.

Netflix competed in a field of five bidders to win rights to Passing in a $15 million deal during the Sundance Film Festival.

Its release is timed to the now-underway movie awards season.

Critics Choice Association to Honor Rita Moreno at Inaugural “Celebration of Latino Cinema”

It’s a special celebration for the legendary Rita Moreno

The 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer will be honored alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda and Demián Bichir at the Critics Choice Association’s inaugural Celebration of Latino Cinema.

Rita MorenoMoreno, Miranda and Bichor will be honored alog with a group of additional honorees, many associated with upcoming 2021 films, still to be announced.

The Celebration of Latino Cinema, to be presented virtually, will take place on Thursday, December 9, 2021 and aims to put a spotlight on the contributions of great Oscar-winning and -nominated artists like Moreno, Miranda and Bichir, but also Latino filmmaking in general, a facet of the motion picture industry that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves during awards season.

Among other things, the CCA’s Celebration of Latino Cinema aims to change that.

“We are thrilled to be launching the first annual Celebration of Latino Cinema which recognizes the talented performers and skilled professionals who create the acclaimed films we are so proud to honor,” said Claudia Puig, a CCA member and co-programmer of the event.

“Films by our honorees represent the diverse and multi-faceted Latino community, and reflect our increasingly inclusive industry” said CCA board member and event co-programmer Clayton Davis.

The Celebration of Latino Cinema will be produced by Madelyn Hammond and Javier Infante of Madelyn Hammond & Associates. Stagedge will be responsible for transforming the show into an immersive virtual experience.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to LA Collab, whose mission is to accelerate Latino access, visibility and representation in the entertainment industry.

Moreno has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business: an Oscar, a Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy. She recently co-starred in the Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom One Day at a Time, and her documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before being released in theaters; it will be broadcast on PBS’ American Masters in October. Moreno also co-stars in and executive produces Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story.

She is a recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honor, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts.

Miranda is a Pulitzer-, Grammy-, Emmy– and Tony Award-winning songwriter, actor and director, and creator and original star of Broadway’s Hamilton and In the HeightsA recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Award, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Portrait of a Nation Prize, he received an Emmy with Tom Kitt for their song “Bigger” from the 67th Tony Awards. Upcoming projects include Disney’s Encanto and his directorial film debut, tick, tick… BOOM!

Bichir received a Best Actor Oscar nomination in 2012 for his role in Chris Weitz’s A Better Life, becoming the first Mexican-born actor to be nominated in that category by the Academy since Anthony Quinn in 1957. He more recently received rave reviews for his performance in the film Land, directed by Robin Wright. His film credits include Steven Soderbergh’s Che, Oliver Stone’s Savages, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, Paul Feig’s The Heat, Richard Shepard’s Dom Hemingway, Ridley Scott’s Alien, George Clooney’s The Midnight Sky, and Adam Wingard’s Godzilla Vs. Kong.

Rita Moreno to Star in the Feature Film “The Prank”

Rita Moreno is pranking around…

The 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer, an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony Award winner) has landed a starring role in the feature film The Prank, which will be directed by Maureen Bharoocha.

Rita Moreno

Moreno will star opposite Connor Kalopsis and Ramona Young.

The Prank follows two high school students who play a prank on their physics teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, played by Moreno. When she fails them on a test; they teach the imperious, demanding, insulting instructor a lesson by falsely accusing her of the murder of a missing student.

Other cast in The Prank includes Keith David, Meredith Salenger, Jonathan Kimmel, Nathan Janak and Kate Flannery.

Filming begins this month in and around Los Angeles.

The dark comedy is written by Rebecca Flinn-White & Zak White.

“Rita Moreno is a force of nature and an icon who continues to redefine herself,” said Bharoocha. “Her brilliant comedic mind lends itself to the perfect ‘Mrs. Wheeler’, a character we have never seen her play, and one that will no doubt surprise audiences.”

Moreno has won an Oscar (West Side Story), a Tony (The Ritz), two Emmys (for her turns respectively in 1977 and 1978 on The Muppet Show and Rockford Files), and a Grammy (Best Children’s Album for The Electric Company).

Moreno has starred on Broadway and London’s West End, appeared in more than 40 feature films and has performed in numerous regional theaters, including her one-woman show, Life Without Makeup, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She recently co-starred in the critically acclaimed Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom One Day At A Time.

Her documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, produced by Lear, Lin Manuel Miranda and Brent Miller had its world debut at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The film, which was met with acclaim from critics and audiences alike, will have its television debut on PBS’ American Masters nationwide on October 5.

Moreno also co-stars and is an executive producer of the Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story, set to open on December 10.

The recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture, she was also honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

Moreno’s all-Spanish-language album, Una Vez Más, was produced by her good friend Emilio Estefan, and she is a New York Times bestselling author with her first book, Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Moreno has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.