Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers” to Have Red-Carpet Premiere at This Year’s AFI Fest

Pedro Almodóvar is bringing his Mother(s) to this year’s AFI Fest.

After opening the Venice Film Festival and continuing on to the New York Film Festival, the 72-year-old Oscar-winning director’s latest film Parallel Mothers will have a red-carpet premiere at this year’s AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Saturday, November 13.

Pedro Almodovar

In the movie, two women, Janis and Ana, played by Penelope Cruz and Milena Smit, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and became pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two, which by chance develops and complicates, and changes their lives in a decisive way.

Penelope Cruz, Pedro Almodovar, Madres Paralelas

Cruz won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at Venice. Parallel Mothers to date is 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In total, AFI Fest counts 115 titles (48 Features, 1 Episodic, 49 Short Films and 17 Conservatory Showcase Shorts) of which 51% are directed by women, 40% directed by BIPOC filmmakers and 13% are directed by LGBTQIA+ filmmakers. This year’s program represents 50 countries and includes six World Premieres. The festival runs from November 10-14.

“We are excited to celebrate AFI Fest 2021 in person at the historic TCL Chinese theater and showcase both master filmmakers and emerging voices,” said Sarah Harris, Director of Programming, AFI Festivals. “In a time when we need movies more than ever, we look forward to audiences being inspired by the best films from around the world screening at this year’s AFI Fest.”

Returning filmmakers to AFI Fest are Hany Abu-Assad (Huda’s Salon), Andrea Arnold (Cow), Jacques Audiard (Paris, 13th District), Sean Baker (Red Rocket), Michel Franco (Sundown), Miguel Gomes (The Sugua Diaries), Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Lingui, The Sacret Bonds), Céline Sciamma (Petite Maman), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Memoria), and Zhang Yimou (One Second).

AFI to Honor Rita Moreno During This Year’s Virtual AFI Fest

Rita Moreno is ready to talk shop as part of a special night…

The 88-year-old Puerto Rican Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress will be honored during this year’s virtual AFI Fest, which will take place from October 15-22.

Rita Moreno

Moreno, who currently stars on PopTV’s One Day at a Time, will be honored alongside Sofia CoppolaKirby Dick and Mira Nair, with each taking par t in an evening of conversation celebrating their careers.

“Artists of this caliber are essential players in our global culture,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO. “To honor each of them – and all of them – at AFI FEST will prove a symphony of talent at a time the world needs it most.”

Moreno’s career began with a Broadway debut at 13 years old. Since then she has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business – an Oscar, a Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy – as well as a Peabody Award and a Kennedy Center Honor. Moreno has also been recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Moreno received an Honorary Degree from the AFI Conservatory in 2016.

Moreno is starring in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, which will debut in theaters in December of 2021. She currently stars on the remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, One Day at a Time. 

Breaking Glass Pictures to Release Martinez’s Indie Film “Actor Martinez”

Arthur Martinez is heading to the big screen…

Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired the North American distribution rights to the indie pic Actor Martinez, starring the Latino actor.

Arthur Martinez

From the writer/director duo of Mike Ott and Nathan Silver, the film follows a local Denver computer repairman and aspiring actor (Martinez) who hires two indie filmmakers to come to town and make a film with him as the star.

The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, will have a limited theatrical release in December before expanding in first quarter of 2017, along with a DVD and digital platform release.

Additionally, Actor Martinez will screen at the Denver Film Festival and American Film Institute’s (AFI) AFI Fest in the American Independent Section.

Larrain’s “Jackie” Joins the Film Slate at This Year’s AFI Fest

Pablo Larraín’s latest film will get the AFI Fest treatment…

The 40-year-old Chilean director’s latest film Jackie has joined the American Film Institute’s slate of AFI Centerpiece Galas at this year’s AFI Fest.

Pablo Larraín

From Fox Searchlight and starring Oscar winner Natalie Portman, the film will screen on Monday, November 14, at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Jackie, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival, is an intimate portrait of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, which takes us into the iconic First Lady’s world during the difficult days immediately following her husband’s assassination.


Noah Oppenheim penned the screenplay.

In addition to Portman, the film stars Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and Oscar nominee John Hurt. 

Jackie joins previously announced Mike Mills-directed 20th Century Women; Elle directed by Paul Verhoeven; and Damien Chazelle-helmed La La Land starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

The AFI Fest runs from November 10-17.

Isaac’s “Inside Llewyn Davis” to be Screened at the AFI Fest

Oscar Isaac will be the closing act at the AFI Fest

The 33-year-old Guatemalan and Cuban American actor’s latest film, the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, will be the screened during the AFI Fest’s Closing Night Gala on Thursday, November 14.

Oscar Isaac

Isaac’s film, which co-stars Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake, won the Grand Prix when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival back in May.

The film follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Inside Llewyn Davis will also be screened at the New York Film Festival and be the center of a concert benefit later this year.

CBS Films will release the film in theaters starting December 6.

Méndez Esparza’s “Aquí y Allá” Honored at the Mumbai Film Festival

The first time’s the charm for Antonio Méndez Esparza

The Spanish filmmaker has picked up two awards at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival for his critically acclaimed feature debut Aquí y Allá.

Antonio Mendez Esparza

The Mexican immigrant drama was named the best film by a first-time director in the international competition category. In earning the Golden Gateway of India award, the film was honored with and a cash prize of $ 100,000 collectively awarded to the producer, director & sales agent of the film.

In addition, Méndez Esparza picked up the Silver Gateway Award for best director for helming Aquí y Allá.

Aqui y Alla

The film, which will be screened in the AFI Fest 2012’s Young Americans and New Auteurs sections at this year’s festival, recently earned Méndez Esparza a Gotham Independent Film Awards nomination for Breakthrough Director.

The film, which took top honors at the Critics’ Week sidebar at the Cannes Film Festival, centers on Pedro, a Mexican man who returns home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, after years of working in the US.

Spain’s Blancanieves, a black-and-white silent drama based on Snow White and directed by Pablo Berger, screened as the festival’s closing film.

The Mumbai Film Festival is organized by the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image.

García Bernal’s “The Loneliest Planet” Opens in Limited Release

It’s the loneliest time for Gael García Bernal

The Loneliest Planet

The 33-year-old Mexican actor/filmmaker’s latest film, The Loneliest Planet, opens in limited release this weekend.

Directed by Julia Loktev and co-starring Hani Furstenberg, the suspenseful film centers on a local guide who takes a young couple through a twisted, pre-wedding backpacking trip across the wilderness in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. But the lovers find their amor tested when the threat of violence enters their calm journey.

Sundance Selects will open the film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 AFI Fest in Los Angeles, at the IFC Center in New York and the NuArt in Los Angeles this weekend. It’s also now available On Demand.

Campos to Participate in This Year’s AFI Fest

He’s already proved himself to be a Sundance Film Festival darling… And, now Antonio Campos is set to charm audiences at this year’s AFI Fest.

The 29-year-old half-Brazilian screenwriter/director has been added by the American Film Institute to the list of rising stars participating in AFI Fest 2012’s Young Americans and New Auteurs sections at this year’s festival.

Antonio Campos

Campos’ Simon Killer will form part of the New Auteurs section, which highlights first and second-time feature film directors from around the world.

Simon Killer centers on a young American man who falls in love with a French prostitute. Campos calls Simon a “character study” of male angst and utterly reflective of his ingrained love for being frightened as an audience member.

Other Latino filmmakers participating at this year’s AFI Fest include Michel Franco of Mexico and Antonio Mendez Esparza of Spain, Mexico and the U.S.

The films in the Young Americans section are eligible for an Audience Award while the films in the New Auteurs section are eligible for a Grand Jury Award.

This year’s AFI Fest will take place on November 1-8 in Hollywood.

Here’s the complete list of participants:

All The Light In The Sky: DIR/SCR Joe Swanberg.
Ape: DIR/SCR Joel Potrykus.
Electrick Children: DIR/SCR Rebecca Thomas.
The International Sign For Choking: DIR/SCR Zach Weintraub.
Kid-Thing: DIR/SCR David Zellner.
Only The Young: DIR Jason Tippet, Elizabeth Mims.
Pearblossom Highway: DIR Mike Ott. SCR Mike Ott, Atsuko Okatsuka.
Somebody Up There Likes Me: DIR/SCR Robert Byington.
Starlet: DIR Sean Baker. SCR Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch.
Sun Don’t Shine: DIR/SCR Amy Seimetz.
Tchoupitoulas: DIR Turner Ross, Bill Ross.

After Lucia: DIR/SCR Michel Franco. Mexico.
Antiviral: DIR/SCR Brandon Cronenberg. Canda/USA.
Clip: DIR/SCR Maja Miloš. Serbia.
Eat Sleep Die: DIR/SCR Gabriela Pichler. Sweden.
Here And There: DIR/SCR Antonio Mendez Esparza. Mexico/Spain/USA.
A Hijacking: DIR/SCR Tobiaas Lindholm. Denmark.
In The Fog: DIR Sergei Loznitsa. Germany/Russia/Belarus/The Netherlands/Latvia.
Not In Tel Aviv: DIR/SCR Nony Geffen. Israel.
Simon Killer: DIR/SCR Antonio Campos. USA.