Gael Garcia Bernal to Star as Saul Armendariz, aka the Liberace of Lucha Libre, in the Biopic “Cassandro”

Gael García Bernal is hitting the ring to play a Lucha Libre legend.

The 41-year-old Mexican actor/filmmaker will star in Cassandroan independent feature from Oscar winning and two-time Emmy nominee filmmaker Roger Ross Williams.

Gael García Bernal

Cassandro tells the true story of Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso who rises to international stardom after he creates the “exotico” character Cassandro, the “Liberace of Lucha Libre,” and in the process upends not just the macho wrestling world but also his own life.

Armendáriz at the age of 15 quit school and began training for Lucha Libre, beginning his professional wrestling career in 1988 under the mask as Mister Romano. Ultimately he would abandon the character and take on the exotico character of Baby Sharon. Exoticos are male wrestlers who dress in drag.

Ultimately, Armendáriz would take the new ring name of Cassandro, from a Tijuana brothel keeper Cassandra whom he appreciated.

In January 1991, after bad press that he was going to wrestle El Hijo del Santo in the UWA World Welterweight Championship, Armendáriz reportedly attempted suicide by cutting his wrists with a razor blade, but was saved.

The title match occurred a week later and Armendáriz credits it as the match that earned him the lucha libre community’s acceptance.

While Cassandro failed to win the UWA World Welterweight Championship from El Hijo del Santo, he managed to win his first title, the UWA World Lightweight Championship in October 1992, by defeating Lasser, becoming the first exótico in history to hold a championship in UWA.

Bernal, who will star in M. Night Shyamalan’s new secret movie from Universal, will shoot that movie first before stepping into the ring for Cassandro, which is eyeing a November start in Mexico.

Cassandro will rep the feature narrative directorial debut for Williams, who took home the Oscar for his short docu Music by Prudence in 2010, and recently was nominated at the Emmys a second time, this time in Outstanding Documentary/Nonfiction Special category for the HBO doc The Apollo. That movie, which made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, follows the historic and famed Harlem NYC venue and its legacy.

“As a filmmaker, my own life experience has inspired my passion to tell inspirational stories about outsiders and uplift the voices of people we don’t normally see on screen. The true story of Cassandro, Saúl Armendáriz, was one I knew I wanted to tell from the moment I met him. I look forward to being able to bring Saúl’s story to a wide audience,” said Williams.

Williams wrote Cassandro with Emmy-winner David Teague and Julián Herbert (Satelite).

Bernal is a two-time Golden Globe nominee and winner for the Amazon series Mozart in the JungleHe was part of the SAG ensemble nominated cast of Paramount’s Babeland a BAFTA nominee for Focus Features’ 2004 The Motorcycle Diaries

The filmmakers are reportedly in talks with Amazon to acquire Cassandro once complete, but that deal is contingent on several factors before it’s a negative pick-up.

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.

“Long Gone Summer” Documentary, Highlighting Sammy Sosa’s 1998 Home Run Chase, Headed to ESPN

Sammy Sosa’s summeris heating up…

The 51-year-old Dominican former professional baseball right fielder will be the focus of a special documentary to air on ESPN.

Sammy Sosa

Sosa, who played in the Major League Baseballfor 19 seasons, primarily with the Chicago Cubs, is part of the focus of AJ Schnack’s, Long Gone Summer, an official selection of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.

It chronicles Mark McGwire and Sosa’s storied 1998 home run chase. For the first time, both men discuss that summer at length, including its undeniable complications.

The 1998MLB home run chase was between McGwire, a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Seattle Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr., and Sosa, a right fielder for the Cubs. It resulted in McGwire and Sosa breaking Roger Maris‘ long-standing and highly coveted record of 61 home runs. 

McGwire broke Maris’s record on September 8 against the Cubs and finished with 70 home runs. Sosa finished with 66.

The documentary will air on Sunday, June 14 at 9:00 pm ET.

The film will be made available on ESPN+immediately after its premiere, along with the rest of the 30 for 30 library.

Vadhir Derbez to Star Opposite Guy Pearce in the Exorcism Horror Film “The Seventh Day”

Vadhir Derbezis getting some excorsize

The 28-year-old Mexican actor will co-star with Guy Pearce in Justin P. Lange’s exorcism horror movie The Seventh Day.

Vadhir Derbez

Pitched as “Training Day meets The Exorcist,“ the film follows a renowned exorcist who teams up with a rookie priest for his first day of training. As they plunge deeper into hell on earth, the lines between good and evil blur, and their own demons emerge.

Lange is directing from his own script. His credits include 2018 Tribeca Film Festivalpremiere The Dark, which was nominated for a Fangoria Chainsaw Awardfor Best First Featurein 2019.

The project is being produced by Fangoria, the horror brand owned by Dallas-based producer Cinestate

Shooting is scheduled to start in  February in Dallas and New Orleans.

Derbez’s previous credits include How to Be a Latin Loverand Netflix’s Sense8.

He has more than 4.2 million followers on Instagramand has been acting in Spanish-language content since he was six.

“Finding someone who can go toe-to-toe with Guy Pearce is no small task, but I’m confident we’ve found our man with Vadhir Derbez,” said director Lange.

Starz to Premiere Season 2 of Melissa Barrera’s Series “Vida” in May

Melissa Barrerais returning to lifethis May…

Starz has set Thursday, May 23 for the season 2 premiere of its critically praised series Vida, starring the 28-year-old Mexican actress and singer.

Melissa Barrera

All 10 half-hour episodes will be available on the Starz app and Starz On-Demandin the U.S. and Canada and on StarzPlay in the UK and Germany. 

The series will broadcast its linear premiere Sunday, May 26 at 8 PM, airing weekly for the following nine weeks. Vida Season 2 will make its world premiere as an Official Selectionof the upcoming 2019Tribeca Film Festival.

Created and executive produced by Tanya Saracho, Vida stars Barrera, Mishel PradaSer Anzoategui, Chelsea RendonCarlos Mirandaand recently announced Roberta ColindrezRaúl Castilloand Adrian Gonzalezjoin as guest stars this season.

Lyn and Emma begin the monumental task of rebuilding their mother’s business while navigating financial constraints, competing developers, and the growing anti-gentrification movement. Lyn and Emma must contemplate the relationships in their lives, including their own, and are forced to dig deep to unearth what their mother’s legacy means to them.

Hispanic-household viewing of Vida has nearly tripled since its premiere on Sunday, May 6, 2018, growing by 171% to earn the series the largest Hispanic audience composition for premium series in 2018, according to Starz. Additionally, on the Starz app, the series audience grew by more than 60% from the season premiere to the finale.

Orion Classics Acquires Rights to Laia Costa’s Self-Discovery Drama “Maine”

Laia Costa is ready to share her Maineevent with audiences…

Orion Classics has acquired North American and Latin American rights to the self-discovery drama Maine, starring the 33-year-old Spanish actress and Thomas Mann.

Laia Costa in Maine

The Matthew Brown-helmed film, which had its world premiere earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival,  will now hit theaters on December 13 ahead of a digital launch the next day.

Costa plays a married Spanish woman named Bluebird who attempts to hike the entire Appalachian Trailsolo to find clarity. Her solitude is interrupted by a young American hiker (Mann), and they develop an emotional and romantic connection while traveling together. But Bluebird ultimately must face the trail and her feelings alone.

Brown wrote and directed the film.

Pfening Named International Best Actor at the Tribeca Film Festival

Guillermo Pfening is making a name for himself in the Big Apple…

The 38-year-old Argentine actor picked up the Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film award at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Guillermo Pfening

Pfening won the award for his performance in Nobody’s Watching, directed by Julia Solomonoff.

Nobody’s Watching centers on Nico, a famous actor in Argentina, but an unknown face in New York. After giving up a successful career in his home country for a chance to make it in the Big Apple, he needs to juggle bartending, babysitting and odd jobs to keep himself afloat. Starting from square one is hard in the city of dreams. With each role Nico takes on, he puts on a new persona in order to fit in. He performs the ideal bartender, the up-and-coming actor, the friend, the father figure. But when old friends from Buenos Aires come to visit, he needs to juggle the image of his old life with the reality of the struggling actor in New York City.

Here’s the full list of winners:

U.S. NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature
Keep The Change, written and directed by Rachel Israel

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film
Alessandro Nivola in One Percent More Humid

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film
Nadia Alexander in Blame

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film
Chris Teague for Love After Love

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film
Abundant Acreage Available written by Angus MacLachlan

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Best International Narrative Feature
Son of Sofia written and directed by Elina Psykou (Greece, Bulgaria, France)

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film
Guillermo Pfening in Nobody’s Watching (Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, USA, Spain)

Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film
Marie Leuenberger in The Divine Order (Switzerland)

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film
Mart Taniel for November (Estonia, Netherlands, Poland)

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film
Ice Mother written by Bohdan Sláma (Slovakia, France)

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Best Documentary Feature
Bobbi Jene, directed by Elvira Lind (USA, Denmark, Israel)

Best Documentary Cinematography
Elvira Lind for Bobbi Jene (USA, Denmark, Israel)

Best Documentary Editing
Adam Nielson for Bobbi Jene (USA, Denmark, Israel)

Special Jury Mention
True Conviction, directed by Jamie Meltzer

BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION

Best New Narrative Director
Rachel Israel, director of Keep the Change (U.S.)

BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION

Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award
Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra for A Suitable Girl (U.S./India)

Special Jury Mention
Hondros, directed by Greg Campbell

THE NORA EPHRON PRIZE

The 2017 Nora Ephron Prize
Petra Volpe, writer/director of The Divine Order (Switzerland).

Special Jury Mention
Keep the Change, written and directed by Rachel Israel

SHORT FILM COMPETITION

Best Narrative Short
Retouch, directed by Kaveh Mazaheri (Iran)

Best Animated Short
Odd is an Egg directed by Kristin Ulseth (Norway).

Best Documentary Short
The Good Fight directed by Ben Holman (U.S., UK, Brazil)

Special Jury Mention
Resurface

Student Visionary Award
Fry Day directed by Laura Moss (U.S.).

Special Jury Mention
Dive

STORYSCAPES AWARD

Storyscapes Award
Treehugger: Wawona, created by Barnaby Steel, Ersin Han Ersin and Robin McNicholas of Marshmallow Laser Feast

TRIBECA X AWARD

Tribeca X Award
Chris Fonseca: Keep It Moving by 72andSunny for Smirnoff Ice. Directed by Zachary Heinzerling

TRIBECA SNAPCHAT SHORTS (previously announced)

Tribeca Snapchat Short Award
Magic Show directed by Annie Hubbard

Luna Joins Voice Cast of John Legend’s Animated VR Series “Rainbow Crow”

Diego Luna is chasing the Rainbow

The 37-year-old Mexican actor has joined the voice cast of Rainbow Crow, the new animated virtual reality series from Baobab Studios that John Legend is producing and toplining.

Diego Luna

The first chapter of the series, which is based on a Native American legend, will be unveiled Friday in a world premiere screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.

In the series, carefree forest animals imagine that spring will last forever. However, winter comes and the animals soon realize that their lives are in danger. What they need is a hero: what they need is Rainbow Crow (Legend).

Luna will voice Moth, one of Rainbow Crow’s companions helping him along his journey to save the forest.

Rainbow Crow is a tale about sacrifice, diversity, and self-acceptance, so we are proud to have an incredibly distinctive cast of talented storytellers who share our values. We can’t wait for audiences to experience what these wonderful actors have created,” said Baobab Studios CEO and founder Maureen Fan.

Baobab co-founder and chief creative officer Eric Darnell, whose credits include writing and directing DreamWorks Animation’s Madacascar franchise and Antz, is directing.

Luna, who starred in the blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, previously formed part of the voice cast of Guillermo del Toro’s The Book of Life.

Barrio’s “The Trip to Spain” to Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival

Marta Barrio is making a special Trip to New York City…

The third installment of Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip series, The Trip to Spainstarring the Spanish actress, will debut theatrically on August 11.

Marta Barrio

In addition to Barrio, the IFC Films release also stars Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Claire Keelan. will make its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 22.

After jaunts through northern England and Italy, Coogan and Brydon embark on another deadpan culinary road trip in Spain. Over plates of pintxos and paella, the pair exchange barbs and their patented celebrity impressions, as well as more serious reflections on what it means to settle into middle age.

The Trip was released in June 2011 and grossed $2M while its sequel The Trip to Italy made close to $3M stateside, close to $6M overall worldwide, in August 2014.

Prieto to Make Feature Directorial Debut with the Revenge Thriller “Bastard”

Rodrigo Prieto is stepping into the director’s chair…

The 51-year-old Mexican cinematographer, who has worked on films such as Martin Scorcese’s Silence and Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, will make his directorial debut with the revenge thriller Bastard.

Rodrigo Prieto

Based on an original script penned by Bill Gullo, Bastard is a taut revenge thriller with a riveting antagonist at its core, set against a looming flood that will ravage the small town of Bird’s Point, Missouri.

A Mexico-City native, Prieto started his career shooting television commercials at the age of 22 before moving into features in 1992. He broke out into the film scene with his work on Amores Perros, which kicked off his collaboration with director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Prieto boasts a top-notch list of film credits including Julie Taymor’s Frida; Curtis Hanson’s 8 Mile; Spike Lee’s 25th Hour; Iñárritu’s 21 Grams and Babel; Oliver Stone’s Alexander; Kevin Macdonald’s State of Play; Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces; Francis Laurence’s Water for Elephants; Cameron Crowe’s We Bought A Zoo; Lee’s Brokeback Mountain; Ben Affleck’s Argo; and a clutch of Scorcese titles.

He’s most recently worked on HBO series Vinyl and Silence, the latter of which saw him earn an Oscar nomination.

Prieto directed his first short film Likeness, starring Elle Fanning, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

Production is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2018.