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.

Eva Marie to Star in the Action-Thriller “Phoenix”

Natalie Eva Marie is headed to Phoenix

The half-Mexican American professional wrestler, WWE star, actress, fashion designer and model will star in the action-thriller Phoenix, from Tadross Media GroupBulldog Brothers Entertainment and director Daniel Zirilli.

Natalie Eva Marie

Eva Marie, as she’s known in the ring, will star alongside Randy Couture, Neal McDonough, former WWE tag team champion Oleg Prudius, Bai Lin and former UFC lightweight champion Rashad Evans in the film.

The film has entered production in Miami.

Phoenix centers on Fiona “Phoenix” Grant (Marie), a U.S. Army veteran sergeant who is teaching hand-to-hand combat skills in Afghanistan when she receives word that her father, Everett Grant (Couture), a prominent security specialist, has been killed in Florida. The police report says it was suicide, but Fiona doesn’t believe it. Encouraged to take a leave of absence by her commanding officer (McDonough), she heads back to the U.S. and soon learns that the prime suspect is Maxim Vasiliiev (Prudius), a ruthless local drug kingpin with an army of mercenaries and enough legal, political and business influence to keep him outside the law.  Armed to the teeth, she plans to take out Vasiliiev with her bare hands, and nothing is going to stop her.

Zirilli adapted the film from a story he wrote with Alexander Nistratov.

Eva Marie, who appeared in the reality series Total Divas, has appeared in Inconceivable and Hard Kill.

Danny Chavarriaga to Appear in & Produce the Rom-Com “Things Like This”

Things (like this) are looking up for Danny Chavarriaga.

The Colombian actor/producer will appear in Things Like This, a romantic comedy marking the feature directorial debut of actor Max Talisman.

Danny ChavarriagaChavarriaga will appear alongside Joey Pollari, Bai Ling, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Charlie Tahan, Eric Roberts, Dyan Cannon, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Michael D. Cohen, Santwon McCray, Willam Belli, Terry Moore, Krista Allen, Margaret Berkowitz, Matt Cullen, Jade Weber, Maya Henry, Emily Rafala, Jake Reiner, Romy Reiner and Mitchell Hoog.

The film, written by Talisman, tells the story of two guys named Zack who fall in love amidst the chaos of New York City. Fate seems to be pulling them together, if only they both believed in it.

Talisman will also appear in the film.

Buzz Koenig is producing for Opposite Field Pictures, with Chavarriaga and Andrew Burrill.

Chavarriaga, a relative newcomer to Hollywood, previously starred in After Masks.

Netflix Releases First Look at Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” Film

Guillermo del Toro is keeping his latest project right under your nose…

Netflix has released the first teaser trailer for the 57-year-old Oscar-winning filmmaker’s stop-motion musical update of the classic Pinocchio tale.

Guillermo del Toro, Pinocchio,Carlo Collodi’s classic charts the story of a wooden marionette who is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto.

Directed by del Toro alongside Mark Gustafson, the film will chart the mischievous and disobedient adventures of Pinocchio in his pursuit of a place in the world.

The voice cast includes Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman and newcomer Gregory Mann as Pinocchio.

del Toro co-wrote the screenplay with Patrick McHale.

Netflix will release the movie in December 2022.

Bad Bunny Announces Ambitious 29-Date Summer Stadium Tour for 2022

He hasn’t even launched his highly anticipated tour, but Bad Bunny’s already thinking bigger…

After selling out his 36-date El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo arena tour in record time, the 27-year-old Puerto Rican rapper, singer, songwriter and actor has announced an ambitious 29-date stadium tour for 2022.

Bad Bunny

Promoted by Live Nation and CMN, Bad Bunny: World’s Hottest Tour will kick off on August 5 at Campus Stadium in Orlando, and will make 15 U.S. stops, including Yankee Stadium in New York, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and Fenway Park in Boston.\

Bad Bunny announced the stadium tour before even playing a single show from his upcoming El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo tour, which kicks off on February 9.

It’s great news for the thousands of fans who weren’t able to score tickets for El Ultimo Tour del Mundo, which sold out in days.

The World’s Hottest Tour also comes with a bonus: In the U.S., Bunny will feature DJ Alesso as a guest for 11 dates, and Diplo as a guest at two dates, including the final show at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles September 30.

The tour then continues to Latin America for 14 stops in October, including Estadio Velez in Buenos Aires and Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Tickets will go on pre-sale Wednesday (Jan. 26) at 12 p.m. via worldshottesttour.com, and goes on sale to the general public on Friday, January 28, also at 12 p.m.

The tour announcement was followed very quickly by a new album announcement, which Bad Bunny made via a video on Instagram reels.

Bad Bunny’s tour may be the most ambitious for a Latin artist ever in the U.S. But then again, he’s been on a record-breaking streak for the past three years.

Bad Bunny (real name Benito Martínez Ocasio) was the top selling Latin artist of 2021 for the third consecutive year, according to MRC Data, and the most streamed artist globally on Spotify for the second consecutive year.

He is also the first artist to place an all-Spanish album at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

On the live front, in 2021 Bad Bunny sold 480,000 tickets and grossed $84 million in a single day when his 2022 El Último Tour del Mundo tour went on sale. It became Ticketmaster’s top-selling tour for a first day since Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On the Run II Tour in 2018.

In December 2021, Bad Bunny played back-to-back shows at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico, staging a festival-like performance that included multiple stages and environments. Whether this will serve as the template for Bunny’s upcoming stadium tour remains to be seen.

Here are the tour dates:

Bad Bunny World’s Hottest Tour Dates
Aug. 5 – Orlando, FL @ Camping World Stadium
Aug. 9 – Atlanta, GA @ Truist Park (with Alesso)
Aug. 12 – Miami, FL @ Hard Rock Stadium (with Alesso)
Aug. 18 – Boston, MA @ Fenway Park (with Alesso)
Aug. 20 – Chicago, IL @ Soldier Field
Aug. 23 – Washington, DC @ Nationals Park (with Alesso)
Aug. 27 – New York, NY @ Yankee Stadium (with Diplo)
Sept. 1 – Houston, TX @ Minute Maid Park (with Alesso)
Sept. 7 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamodome (with Alesso)
Sept. 9 – Dallas, TX @ AT&T Stadium (with Alesso)
Sept. 14 – Oakland, CA @ RingCentral Coliseum (with Alesso)
Sept. 17 – San Diego, CA @ PETCO Park (with Alesso)
Sept. 23 – Las Vegas, NV @ Allegiant Stadium (with Alesso)
Sept. 28 – Phoenix, AZ @ Chase Field (with Alesso)
Sept. 30 – Los Angeles, CA @ SoFi Stadium (with Diplo)

Manchester City Reportedly Closing Deal for Julian Alvarez

Julian Alvarez is thisclose to heading to Manchester City

ManCity is close to sealing a deal for the 21-year-old Argentine professional footballer and River Plate forward, according to ESPN sources.

Julian AlvarezCity believe they have seen off competition from AC Milan for Alvarez with the final details to be ironed out before an agreement is reached. Sources have told ESPN the overall cost of the transfer could be less than £20 million.

It;s likely that Alvarez, who has already been capped five times by Argentina, won’t move to the Etihad Stadium until next summer at the earliest but sources have told ESPN he would be considered a first-team signing.

Until he is ready to move to England, City will consider loaning him back to River Plate or arranging another loan elsewhere.

Asked about Alvarez following the 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday, Pep Guardiola remained tight-lipped.

“I don’t have any information from the club, anything,” he said.

“Not one word. I don’t know anything. I don’t have any information about the club.”

Alvarez is considered to be one of the best young players in South America and should City get a deal over the line, it would be a coup of the Premier League champions following interest from Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

City remain open to the idea that he could be part of Guardiola’s senior squad next season but sources have told ESPN his arrival would not change their plans to sign an established striker in the summer.

Ricardo Pepi Named to U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team for Upcoming World Cup Qualifiers

Ricardo Pepi is set to represent the United States…

The 18-year-old Mexican American professional soccer player, fresh off his transfer from FC Dallas to Augsburg earlier this month, appears on the United States men’s national team roster for manager Gregg Berhalter ahead of an upcoming three-game World Cup qualifying window.

Ricardo PepiPepi appears on a roster that includes Christian PulisicWeston McKennie and Tyler Adams.

Through eight of 14 matches, the United States sits second in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings with 15 points — a point behind first-place Canada and a point ahead of Mexico and Panama. The top three teams automatically qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, while the fourth-place finisher will play a single-match qualifier in June.

The United States hosts El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday and plays at Canada in Hamilton, Ontario, on January 30 before finishing the window against Honduras in St. Paul, Minnesota, on February 2.

The 28-man roster features Luca De la Torre, who has seen his profile rise recently through strong play with Heracles in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Borussia Dortmund attacker Giovanni Reyna, who recently returned to training in Germany following a hamstring injury he suffered on international duty in September, remains unavailable.

“That was another one that was a difficult decision in the end,” Berhalter said. “Together with Gio, we thought the best thing for him to do is to stay at Dortmund, train these weeks and try to get into their squad.”

Here’s a look at the roster:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 26/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 13/0)

DEFENDERS (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 22/1), Sergino Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 15/2), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United; 1/0), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 8/0), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 6/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 15/3), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 15/3), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 71/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 23/2)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC; 45/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 22/1), Luca De la Torre (Heracles/NED; 4/0), Sebastian Lletget (New England Revolution; 33/8), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 28/8), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 11/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 30/0)

FORWARDS (8): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 15/5), Paul Arriola (DC United; 42/8), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas; 5/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 40/10), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 42/17), Timothy Weah (Lille/FRA; 18/2), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew; 66/14)

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Launches Initiative to Help with COVID-Related School Staffing Shortages

Michelle Lujan Grisham could be headed back to school…

Facing a dire staffing shortage in schools, the 62-year-old governor of New Mexico has launched an initiative asking state workers and National Guard members to become licensed volunteer substitute K-12 teachers and child care workers.

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Lujan Grisham has completed the registration to become licensed as a substitute teacher, her press secretary Nora Sackett confirmed to CNN.

The move is an effort to help fill staffing gaps and stave off closures across school districts and child care centers because of the rise in Omicron cases.

Volunteers will have to clear a mandatory background check, complete an online substitute teaching training, and then undergo a typical onboarding process done by the school where they’re placed. The new program speeds up approval of the licensing process to two days. Civil servants and Guard members who are currently involved in critical health care roles or administering vaccines are asked not to participate.

Lujan Grisham, who has no prior experience in education, expects to be placed in an elementary school this week, she told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on Newsroom this weekend.

She said her state was left with no choice but to ask for additional help from the public to get more substitute teachers in New Mexico’s schools.

“There aren’t any other options,” the governor said.

Should a New Mexico school district accept her offer to serve as a substitute, Lujan Grisham says she will donate her services and will not accept payment.

“We’ll have additional information about her placement this upcoming week,” Sackett told CNN. “This work will not require the Lt. Gov. to act as governor.”

The governor is among the 100 — 50 National Guard members and 50 state employees — who have so far signed up for the initiative, according to Lujan Grisham.

“The whole goal is certainly not to interrupt the qualified experienced work that is required in our public schools,” Lujan Grisham said on CNN, adding that the aim of the initiative is to “keep schools open and to support educators, parents, and students through the worst of Omicron.”

Since winter break, roughly 60 school districts and charter schools in New Mexico were forced to switch to remote-learning due to staff members testing positive for COVID-19 or having to isolate or quarantine under CDC recommendations, according to the governor’s office.

Also due to staffing shortages, 75 child care centers have partially or completely closed since the start of the year, according to the governor’s office.

Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez, whose school district has gone remote, said Wednesday that the initiative will be “instrumental” in helping continue or return to in-person learning and reduce “the stress on our remaining staff who have taken on additional duties.”

“This initiative will help create a stable school environment, as well as help parents who are having to juggle childcare and jobs,” MaryBeth Weeks, the head of New Mexico Parent Teacher Association, said in a statement.

New Mexico is not the only state facing teacher shortages and implementing extraordinary measures to keep classrooms running, such as asking parents or alumni to become substitute teachers or dispatching office administrators.

LA Galaxy Pursuing Brazil’s Douglas Costa

Douglas Costa could be headed to Southern California.

The LA Galaxy are in pursuit of the 31-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and Brazil international midfielder, according to ESPN.

Douglas CostaCosta had been on loan at Gremio from Italian giants Juventus. But following Gremio’s relegation to Serie B last month, the club is facing a significant cut to its finances, and Costa is close to terminating his loan.

One source said that negotiations between Costa and the Galaxy were “moving along” but not done yet.

The Galaxy are in need of bolstering their midfield following the offseason departures of Jonathan dos Santos to Club America and Sebastian Lletget via a trade to the New England Revolution, even after they acquired Marky Delgado from Toronto FC last week.

Costa has played for some of the world’s biggest clubs. In addition to his time at Juve, he had two separate stints with Bayern Munich. He began his pro career with Gremio in 2008 before securing a move to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in 2010.

After spending five seasons in Donetsk, during which he won 11 trophies, Costa made the move to Bayern where he spent the next two campaigns. During his time in Munich, Costa won two Bundesliga titles as well as a DFB-Pokal. His stint in Turin was also prolific, winning three Serie A titles. A loan stint at Bayern during the 2020-21 saw him claim another Bundesliga title. He returned to Gremio on loan, but couldn’t prevent the club’s first relegation since 2004. All told he made 462 league and cup appearances scoring 68 goals.

At international level, Costa has made 31 appearances for Brazil, scoring three goals. He was part of the squad that reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Javier Bardem to Receive Maltin Modern Master Award at This Year’s Santa Barbara Film Festival

Javier Bardem is officially a master

The 52-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actor will be honored with the prestigious Maltin Modern Master Award at the 37th annual edition of the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Javier BardemBardem will be feted alongside his Being the Ricardos co-star Nicole Kidman on Thursday, March 10 when they’ll engage with veteran film historian and critic Leonard Maltin for an in-person conversation about their careers leading up to this year’s performances as Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed film from Amazon Studios.

Bardem and Kidman recently received individual SAG Award nominations in the lead actor and actress categories.

Bardem and Kidman, who have never before worked together, previously won Oscars for No Country for Old Men (2007) and The Hours (2002), respectively. Each has a long career of acclaimed performances.

“Nicole Kidman continues to challenge and reinvent herself year after year. Javier Bardem’s talent is a gift to the world. Only in Hollywood could these actors find themselves playing America’s all time favorite TV couple. It’s cause for celebration,” Maltin said.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Modern Master Award was established in 1995 and is the highest accolade presented by SBIFF. Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry, it was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of longtime SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin.

Past recipients include Bill Murray, Brad Pitt, Glenn Close, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Bruce Dern, Ben Affleck, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Cate Blanchett, Will Smith, George Clooney and Peter Jackson.

This is the first time a pair of actors will be honored together.

Other Santa Barbara tributes previously announced include Benedict Cumberbatch with the Vanguard AwardKing Richard stars Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis for Outstanding Performers of the Year, Kristen Stewart for the American Riviera Award, and collectively named for Virtuoso Awards are West Side Story’s Ariana DeBoseCODA actors Emilia Jones and Troy KotsurRed Rocket’s  Simon RexLicorice Pizza’s Alana Haim, and Saniyya Sidney from King Richard.

The 37th Santa Barbara Film Festival is set to take place in-person March 2-12. Official events including screenings, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels and celebrity tributes will be held throughout the city including at the historic Arlington Theatre.