Amazon Studios Acquires Global Rights to J Balvin Documentary “The Boy From Medellin”

J Balvin’s colorful life story will be told around the world…

Amazon Studios has picked up the worldwide rights to director Matthew Heineman‘s The Boy From Medellín, a portrait of the 35-year-old Colombian reggaeton singer and Latin music star.

J Balvin

The Endeavor Content-backed feature-length documentary follows Balvin, the “Prince of Reggaeton” and a Latin Grammy-winning performer, in the lead-up to a sold-out 2019 homecoming concert performance in Medellín, Colombia.

The acquisition deal comes ahead of the documentary’s world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on September 11 via the Bell Digital Cinema platform.

“Representing my country, my city and Latin culture globally is a lifelong pursuit and I’m so proud to be a son of Medellín. I’m honored to be able to tell my story in this beautiful way and working with Matthew on this project was an incredible experience. Thank you to Amazon for making sure this story can be seen around the world,” Balvin said in a statement.

The Boy From Medellin  — from Heineman, the director behind the biopic Private War  is produced by Our Time Projects and SB Projects.

“Filmmaker Matthew Heineman is a master of his craft, and beautifully depicts the perspective of an international music icon. We are thrilled to welcome Matthew back to the Amazon family and to share J Balvin’s story with our global customers,” Javiera Balmaceda, head of international originals in Argentina, Chile and Colombia for Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

J Balvin is one of today’s best-selling Latin music artists with sales of more than 35 million records (albums and singles) worldwide. His breakthrough came in 2014 with “Ginza” and the single “6 AM” featuring Puerto Rican singer Farruko, which peaked at number 2 on theBillboard Hot Latin Songs chart.

Gael Garcia Bernal’s “Chicuarotes” to Open This Year’s Virtual Hola México Film Festival

Gael Garcia Bernal’s latest project is getting the Hola México treatment…

The 12th annual Hola México Film Festival, the largest Mexican film festival outside of Mexico, will take place virtually and exclusively on Lionsgate and Hemisphere’s Spanish-language streaming platform Pantaya from September 11-20, with the 41-year-old Mexican actor/producer’s Chicuarotes kicking things off.

Gael García Bernal

The festival will feature 20 movies, starting off with Chicuarotes, directed and produced by Garcia Bernal.

The film, which played at the Cannes Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival last year, centers on a pair of young boys from poor backgrounds who perform clown acts on public transportation to make ends meet. The story takes a turn when the young boys begin to rob passengers.

The program will include contemporary features, documentaries, genre fare and family movies, and will include Q&A’s, ‘virtual red carpets’, an awards ceremony and will try to mirror the physical festival in an online way as much as possible.

Other films forming part of this year’s lineup include Matias Meyer’s Amores Modernos, Kenya Marquez’s Asfixia, Marcelino Islas Hernández’s Clases de Historia, Emilio Santoyo’s El Deseo de Ana and Rodrigo CervantesLos Paisajes.

Hola Mexico

“As a result of the current pandemic, we wanted to ensure our industry and filmmaking community continues to connect and develop their careers, even if that cannot happen safely in-person,” commented Samuel Douek, founder and director of the Hola México Film Festival.

The festival’s mentor program Tomorrow’s Filmmakers Today will be a live online program directed to TFT alumni.

Click here for the complete lineup.

Emilio Estevez’s “The Public” to Stream on Peacock in September

Emilio Estevez is going public with his latest project…

Peacock has unveiled a slate of original films that will debut on NBC’s streaming service in September, including the 58-year-old part-Spanish American actor’s latest film The Public.

Emilio Estevez The Public

The film, written, executive produced and directed by Estevez, centers around an act of civil disobedience that turns into a standoff with police when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold.

The film stars Alec Baldwin, Estevez, Jena Malone, Taylor Schilling, Christian Slater, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Gabrielle Union, Jacob Vargas, Michael K. Williams, and Jeffrey Wright.

The Public will premiere on Peacock on Thursday, September 15.

The film had its world premiere on September 9, 2018, at the Toronto Film Festival. It was theatrically released in the United States on April 5, 2019, by Greenwich Entertainment.

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.

Guillermo del Toro Taking Part in Tribeca Enterprises & YouTube’s ‘We Are One: A Global Film Festival’

Guillermo del Toro is taking his talk global…

The 55-year-old Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker, author, actor, and former special effects makeup artist will take part in Tribeca Enterprises and YouTube’s We Are One: A Global Film Festival

Guillermo del Toro

The fest will stream exclusively on YouTubefor free and feature more than 100 films co-curated by 21 of the most renowned festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.

The 10-day fest kicked off on Friday, May 29 and will not only provide entertainment but also offer relief to the COVID-19 pandemic via supporting organizations.

The truly global event will feature programming from different cultures all over the world, with films representing more than 35 countries and include 23 narrative and 8 documentary features, 57 narrative and 15 documentary short films, 15 archived talks along with 4 festival exclusives and 5 VR programming pieces. 

The fest will include 13 world premieres, 31 online premieres and 5 international online premieres. Each selection was handpicked to give shine and highlight each participating festival.

“We are so excited to share the combined efforts of our festival partners and YouTube with the world this week,” said Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal. “Together, we were able to curate a compelling slate of programming that succinctly reflects the subtle variations in style that make each festival so special. We Are One: A Global Film Festival will offer audiences an opportunity to not only celebrate the art of film, but the unique qualities that make each story we watch so memorable.”

The fest will include the world premiere of Ricky Powell: The Individualist, which spotlights the titular legendary street photographer featuring interviews with Natasha Lyonne and LL Cool J

Eeb Allay Ooo! will make its online debut and introduce a whole new audience to New Delhi’s professional “monkey repellers”. The satirical film won Mumbai Film Festival’s Golden Gateway Award

The iconic Joan Chen will present the world premiere of Iron Hammer, a documentary about legendary, trailblazing Chinese Olympic volleyball star Jenny Lang Ping.

There will also be a lineup of specially-curated talks from past festivals as well as new discussions. Talks will feature del Toro, Francis Ford Coppola with Steven Soderbergh, Song Kang-ho and Bong Joon-ho, Jane Campion and Claire Denis.

In addition to features, audiences will be able to access over 50 narrative and documentary shorts such as the world premiere of Japanese narrative short Yalta Conference Online (wt), which was created exclusively for the fest by director Koji Fukada. The fest will also include the global premiere of the Third Eye Blind documentary short Motorcycle Drive By, as well as shorts from Dreamworks Animation, BilbyMarooned and Bird Karma.

360 VR selections will feature Emmy-nominated documentary Traveling While Black and Alteration, a sci-fi narrative starring Bill Skarsgard, as well as titles featuring John Legend, Oprah Winfrey and Lupita Nyong’o. On top of the film goodness, Questlove from the legendary Roots crew will perform a DJ set for your listening and dancing pleasure.

On the episodic side, We Are One will host the world premiere of Losing Alice, an Israeli female-fronted neo-noir psychological TV thriller as well as the two-part docuseries She Could Be Next which chronicles the experiences of women of color running for office, including Stacey Abrams and  Rashida Tlaib.

In addition to Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca, participating festival also include Annecy International Animation Film FestivalBFI London Film FestivalGuadalajara International Film Festival,International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM), International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), Jerusalem Film FestivalMumbai Film Festival (MAMI), Karlovy Vary International Film FestivalLocarno Film Festival,Marrakech International Film Festival, New York Film FestivalSan Sebastian International Film Festival, Sarajevo Film FestivalSydney Film Festival and Tokyo International Film Festival.

The fest will provide COVID-19 relief through donations to the World Health Organization( WHO), UNICEFUNHCRSave the Children, Doctors Without BordersLeket IsraelGO Foundation and Give2Asia, among others. Audiences will be able to donate via a link on every film page.

Click herefor the full festival schedule.

Klaudia Reynicke Signs with The Gotham Group

Klaudia Reynicke has new representation… And, she’s hoping that leads to a TV deal.

The 43-year-old Swiss-Peruvian filmmaker has signed with Los Angeles management and production outfit The Gotham Group.

Klaudia Reynicke

Reynicke’s latest project Love Me Tender screened in the Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery strand this year, and now The Gotham Group plans to spearhead efforts to adapt the film into a television series.

Love Me Tender world premiered at Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival in August. Reynicke also wrote the screenplay, which tells the story of Seconda, played by Barbara Giordano, a rebellious young woman with agoraphobia who is abruptly left alone by her unreliable father.

The film was produced by Switzerland’s Amka Films. Rome-based Summerside International is handling global sales. The feature will next screen at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

Reynicke’s debut feature was 2016 drama The Nest, which also premiered in Locarno. 

She was born in Peru but lived in Florida for much of her youth; she is now based in Switzerland.

Jennifer Lopez Earns Best Live-Action Box Office Opening of Her Career with “Hustlers”

Jennifer Lopez is proving the hustle is worth the effort…

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar’s latest film Hustlers earned a stellar $33.2 million-plus from 3,250 theaters at the U.S. box office, the best start ever for STXfilms and the best live-action opening of J.Lo‘s career, according to early returns.

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers

The female-led ensemble film came in a strong second behind New Line and Warner Bros.’ holdover It: Chapter Two, which earned $40.7 million in its sophomore outing.

Hustlers — buoyed by a diverse audience — is based on real-life events chronicled in a 2015 New York magazine story and stars Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B and more as strippers who lead a band of dancers in a plot to drug and steal from their Wall Street clientele in Recession-era New York City.

Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart and Lizzo also star in the film from writer-director Lorene Scafaria, which earned rave reviews out of its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. 

Hustlers cost a reported $20 million to make before marketing and is a much-needed win for STX (the indie studio’s previous biggest opening was Bad Moms with $23.8 million, not adjusted for inflation).

Females made up 67 percent of Hustlers‘ audience, while Caucasians represented 36 percent of ticket buyers, followed by African Americans (26 percent), Hispanics (27 percent) and Asians/Other (11 percent).

Vertical Entertainment & DirecTV Pick Up U.S. Distribution Rights to Salma Hayek’s Comedy “Drunk Parents”

You’ll soon be able to drink in Salma Hayek’s latest project…

Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have picked up U.S. distribution rights to BRON Studios’ comedy Drunk Parents, starring the 52-year-old Mexican actress/producer and Alec Baldwin.

Salma Hayek

The film doesn’t have a release date, but distributors are aiming for a theatrical debut sometime in the first quarter of next year.

Directed by Fred Wolf, the film centers on the attempts of two parents to hide their ever-increasing financial difficulties from their daughter and social circle through elaborate neighborhood schemes that take their lives on a hilarious downward spiral.

Jim Gaffigan, Joe Manganiello and Ben Platt also star.

Wolf and Peter Gaulke penned the screenplay for the film, which was produced by Rob Barnum and Aaron L. Gilbert.

The deal was finalized at the Toronto Film Festival.

Alejandro Patiño Starring Opposite Matt Bomer in the Heartfelt Drama “Papi Chulo”

It’s Papi time for Alejandro Patiño

The Latino actor stars opposite Magic Mike hunk Matt Bomer in the heartfelt drama Papi Chulo, a story that explores a friendship between two very different people.

Alejandro Patiño

Making its World Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on September 8, Papi Chulois writer-director John Butler’s third feature to premiere at TIFF.

The film follows a single TV weatherman (Bomer) living in Los Angeles who is put on leave from work. While on leave, he tries to enjoy his time alone but realizes this solitary lifestyle isn’t for him. When he drives past a hardware store, he spots Ernesto (Patiño, in his first leading feature role), a middle-aged Latino migrant with a friendly face, and hires him to do some home repairs. Despite the language barrier, they develop an unexpected but profound friendship based on the everlasting need for connection.

The film is a new take on the buddy comedy with two very different people as it provides commentary on empathy, stereotypes, and xenophobia — two of today’s very timely topics.

Patiño’s previous credits include appearances on Superstore, Life in Pieces, The Bridge and East Los High.

Click here to see the trailer.

Ciro Guerra’s “Birds of Passage” Selected as Colombia’s Official Entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar Race

Ciro Guerra is hoping for Oscar passage again…  

The 37-year-oldColombian film director and screenwriter’s Birds of Passage, a sprawling epic about the erosion of tradition in pursuit of material wealth, has been selected as Colombia’s official entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar race, according to distributor The Orchard.

Ciro Guerra & Cristina Gallego

The film is directed by Cristina Gallego and Guerra — the respective producer and director of 2015’s Embrace of the Serpent, the first Colombian film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Birds of Passage premiered as the opening-night selection of the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Tracing the origins of the Colombian drug trade as it slowly corrupts a native Wayúu family, Birds of Passage stars Jose Acosta, Carmiña Martínez and Natalia Reyes (the upcoming Terminator reboot).

The film will screen at the Toronto Film Festival and is set for release by The Orchard on Wednesday, February 13th in New York and Los Angeles, with a national rollout to follow.

“We are incredibly humbled and honored to again be the Colombian selection for entry to the Academy Awards, especially with a film that is so personal to our country’s history and narrative,” said Gallego and Guerra. “We are very grateful to La Academia Colombiana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas, which has supported us throughout our careers. It is with great pride that we bring this film to a global audience.”