Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing Acquires Ivan Herrera’s Drama “Bantú Mama” Across Several Markets

Ivan Herrera’s latest project is going international… 

Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing has acquired the 45-year-old Dominican filmmaker’s drama Bantú Mama for distribution in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Ivan Herrera

The company will be presenting the film — which has been named as the Dominican Republic’s 2023 entry for the Best International Feature Film Oscar — on select screens and on Netflix beginning on November 17.

Bantú Mama follows a French woman of African descent who manages to escape after being arrested in the Dominican Republic. She finds shelter in the most dangerous district of Santo Domingo, where she is taken in by a group of children. By becoming their protégée and maternal figure, she then experiences an unimaginable change in her destiny.

Bantu Mama“We are honored to distribute the Dominican Republic’s official Oscar submission,” said Array President Tilane Jones. “This deeply moving and vividly drawn drama, beautifully directed by Ivan Herrera and co-written with producer Clarisse Albrecht, is a bold vision that we’re thrilled to share with audiences.”

The film had its world premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, before going on to screen at fests including BFI London Film Festival and Urbanworld.

Herrera, Albrecht, Franmiris Lombert & Nicolas LaMadrid produced the film, which has picked up awards from the Durban Film Festival, Latino and Iberian Film Festival at Yale, 47/Festival de Huelva, Festival de Cine Fine Arts, Nova Frontier Film Festival and Quibdó África Film Festival.

Gkids Acquires North American Rights to Alberto Vázquez’s Animated Feature “Unicorn Wars”

Alberto Vázquez’s latest project is headed to the United States…

Gkids has acquired North American rights to the 41-year-old Spanish comic book artist and filmmaker’s latest genre-bending animated feature Unicorn Wars.Alberto VázquezThe news comes ahead of the film’s U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest.

The horror-comedy will be released in theaters by Gkids in early 2023, following its domestic release in Spain this fall.

Billed as Bambi meets Apocalypse NowUnicorn Wars‘ logline is as follows:

Unicorn WarsFor ages, teddy bears have been locked in an ancestral war against their sworn enemy, the unicorns, with the promise that victory will complete the prophecy and usher in a new era. Aggressive, confident teddy bear Bluet and his sensitive, withdrawn brother Tubby could not be more different. As the rigors and humiliation of teddy bear bootcamp turn to the psychedelic horrors of a combat tour in the Magic Forest, their complicated history and increasingly strained relationship will come to determine the fate of the entire war.

Unicorn Wars previously featured in competition at the 2022 Annecy Animation Film Festival, and was just announced as a selection of the 2022 BFI London Film Festival.

Vázquez directed from his own script, with Chelo Loureiro, Iván Miñambres and Nicolas Schmerkin serving as executive producers.

“There is nobody on Earth who could make a film like Unicorn Wars except Alberto Vázquez,” said GKIDS’ President David Jesteadt. “We are proud to partner again with this exceptional filmmaker on his richly layered and darkly funny new film about cute characters doing horrific things. It continues to haunt me.”

Vazquez is a Goya and Annecy Cristal-winning director.

BFI London Film Festival to Host World Premiere of Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio”

Guillermo del Toro’s latest project will have its world premiere in London…

The 57-year-old Mexican Oscar-winning filmmaker and author’s Pinocchio will have its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.

Guillermo del Toro, Pinocchio,The film is del Toro’s dark take on the classic fairy tale about a wooden marionette brought to life to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto.

The film will debut in the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre during the festival, which takes place October 5-15, 2022.

The stop-motion film was directed by del Toro and Mark Gustafson and is from a screenplay by the Mexican filmmaker and Patrick McHale.

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

The film’s music will be provided by the Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat, who has also written the score. Netflix is set to release the film theatrically in November before making it available for streaming in December.

Michel Franco’s “Sundown” Named to Official Competition Lineup for BFI London Film Festival

Michel Franco is preparing for Sundown in England…

The BFI London Film Festival has confirmed an eight-strong lineup for its Official Competition this year, with the 42-year-old Mexican film director, screenwriter and producer’s latest project making the cut.

Michel Franco

Franco’s Sundown is the only film from a Latinx filmmaker set to compete at the festival.

The drama, written and directed by Franco, stars Tim RothCharlotte Gainsbourg, Iazua LariosHenry Goodman, Albertine Kotting McMillan and Samuel Bottomley.

Sundown, which centers on a wealthy man who attempts to abandon his family on vacation, is schedule to have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2021.

Here’s the complete list of movies in competition:

Belle (Japan, dir-scr. Mamoru Hosoda)
Il Buco (Italy-Germany-France, dir. Michelangelo Frammartino)
The Hand Of God (Italy, dir-scr. Paolo Sorrentino)
Nitram (Australia, dir. Justin Kurzel)
Hit The Road (Iran, dir. Panah Panahi)
Sundown (Mexico-France-Sweden, dir-scr. Michel Franco)
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds (Chad-France-Germany-Belgium, dir-scr. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun)
True Things (UK, dir. Harry Wootliff)

A jury will select a winning film, to be announced at the LFF Awards Ceremony on October 17.

“With Official Competition our aim is to present a curated programme that showcases the breadth and richness of international cinema for our audiences. Anyone new to the LFF should consider Official Competition a big neon sign that is blinking: “enter here”. This eight film selection is full of individual cinematic diamonds – each one unique and beautiful in its own way. Together they are dazzling and demonstrate the endless potential of cinema in the hands of a great filmmaker. With a selection like this we have made the jury’s job very difficult indeed,” said LFF Director Tricia Tuttle.

MUBI Acquires UK/Ireland Rights to Michel Franco’s Diego Boneta-Starrer “New Order”

Diego Boneta’s latest film is heading across the pond…

Arthouse outfit MUBI has acquired all UK and Ireland rights to Michel Franco’s Venice Film Festival drama New Order, starring the 29-year-old Mexican singer and actor.

Diego Boneta

The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize.

Conceived six years ago, Franco’s timely class conflict drama sees a high-society wedding interrupted by the arrival of unwelcome guests as protests rage on the streets.

Parasite distributor Neon recently picked up the North American rights for the Spanish-language film. It will next play at BFI London Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival. The movie also played at San Sebastian Film Festival and made its North American debut at Toronto.

Written, produced and directed by Franco, the film features an ensemble cast comprised of Boneta, Naian González Norvind, Darío Yazbek BernalLisa OwenFernando CuautleMónica Del CarmenEligio MeléndezPatricia Bernal, Roberto Medina, Enrique Singer and Gustavo Sánchez Parra. 

Boneta served as an executive producer on the project.

Neon Acquires Rights to Michel Franco’s Diego Boneta-Starrer “New Order”

Diego Boneta is bringing some Order to the U.S.

Neon has acquired the North American rights to Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco’s latest feature New Order, starring the 29-year-old Mexican singer and actor.

Diego Boneta

The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize.

Conceived six years ago, Franco’s timely class conflict drama sees a high-society wedding interrupted by the arrival of unwelcome guests as protests rage on the streets..

Neon intends a theatrical release that’ll be announced at a later date. The film will next play at BFI London Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival. It also played at San Sebastian Film Festival and made its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Written, produced and directed by Franco, the film features an ensemble cast comprised of Boneta, Naian González Norvind, Darío Yazbek BernalLisa OwenFernando CuautleMónica Del CarmenEligio MeléndezPatricia Bernal, Roberto Medina, Enrique Singer and Gustavo Sánchez Parra. 



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.

Jayro Bustamante’s “La Llorona” Among Films In Competion at the BFI London Film Festival

Jayro Bustamante is ready to compete..

Jayro Bustamante

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival has unveiled the 10 films set to enter the Official Competition at the fest, with the 42-year-old Guatemalan film director and screenwriter’s La Llorona making the list.

La Llorona

Bustamante’s La Llorona, his third feature film, is hailed as a tale of horror and fantasy, ripe with suspense, and an urgent metaphor of recent Guatemalan history and the country’s unhealed political wounds.

The film stars María Mercedes CoroySabrina De La Hoz and Margarita Kenéfic.

In addition to La Llorona, the films in competition are Thomas Clay’s Fanny Lye Deliver’d, Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy, Isabel Sandoval’s Lingua FrancaOliver Hermanus’ Moffie, Alejandro Landes’ MonosMałgorzata Szumowska’s The Other LambHaifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect CandidateChristine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s Rose Plays Julie and Rose Glass’ Saint Maud.

The Best Film winner will be chosen by the Official Competition Jury, the members of which will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director said, “Our Official Competition showcases the best in global filmmaking. These filmmakers each have unique and distinctive voices and their films by turns reveal truths about human existence; explore stories we haven’t seen before or examine familiar ones in new ways; address pressing social and political issues, and make audiences feel and think. It’s striking that so many of the filmmakers here are telling strongly political stories, but never dogmatically so. We have selected 11 directors in these ten films who invite viewers to probe and ponder, to be changed – either subconsciously or wildly and irrevocably – by their work.”

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival takes place from Wednesday October 2 to Sunday October 13 2019. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday August 29.

Full List:

FANNY LYE DELIVER’D (United Kingdom-Germany, dir-scr. Thomas Clay)
Maxine Peake delivers a powerhouse performance as the titular character in Thomas Clay’s intoxicating period drama Fanny Lye Deliver’d, a woman living a humble existence with her puritanical husband John (Charles Dance) and young son Arthur on an isolated Shropshire farm in the 17th Century. The daily routines of this God-fearing family are abruptly interrupted when they discover two strangers hiding in their barn, pleading for help. When the family agrees to take them in, it is not long before their progressive ways begin to cause tensions.

HONEY BOY (USA, dir. Alma Har’el)
Alma Har’el collaborates with gifted writer and performer Shia LaBeouf to impressive effect for her first dramatic feature Honey Boy, an artful and soul-baring examination of the lingering effects of emotional abuse. Lucas Hedges plays Otis, an alcoholic with a penchant for fiercely self-destructive behaviour who makes a living starring in action films. When an accident forces him into rehab, he begins to examine his troubled past with his unstable and often emotionally abusive father (LaBeouf, playing a version of his own real-life father).

LA LLORONA (Guatemala-France, dir. Jayro Bustamante)
Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante’s taut genre-bending thriller, La Llorona, sees elderly general Enrique Monteverde tried for a genocide he oversaw three decades earlier, who finds himself haunted by a spectre of his past; La Llorona, the spirit of a woman who has returned to seek justice for the dead. Guatemala’s lengthy Civil War and the mass murder of Mayan civilians provide a powerful historical framework for Bustamante’s third feature. This is a film about secrets and lies, rendered through a breathtaking visual language that melds horror, fantasy and courtroom drama to disarming effect.

LINGUA FRANCA (USA, dir-scr. Isabel Sandoval)
In Lingua Franca, Olivia is a Filipino transwoman and undocumented immigrant in Brooklyn, surreptitiously working as a caregiver for Olga, an elderly Russian woman in the early stages of dementia. She spends her time documenting a staged relationship with the man who has agreed to marry her so she can obtain legal status in the US. One day Olivia meets Olga’s grandson Alex, a despondent slaughterhouse worker battling his own inner demons and the pair develop a strong connection. A beautifully performed character study and an incisive critique on race and immigration in modern America, writer/director Isabel Sandoval (who also takes on the role of Olivia) has crafted a deeply moving work of great intimacy and insight.

MOFFIE (South Africa-United Kingdom, dir. Oliver Hermanus)
Oliver Hermanus follows The Endless River (LFF 2015) with Moffi, a haunting examination of the violent persecution of gay men under Apartheid.  Nicholas (Kai Luke Brummer) has long known he is different, that there is something in him that must stay hidden, denied even. But in South Africa in 1981, all white young men over 16 must serve two years of compulsory military service to defend the Apartheid regime and its culture of toxic racist machismo. When fear pushes Nicholas to accept unspeakable horrors in the hopes of staying invisible, a tender relationship with another recruit becomes as dangerous for them both as any enemy fire.

MONOS (Colombia-Argentina-Netherlands-Germany-Sweden-Uruguay-USA, dir. Alejandro Landes)
Alejandro Landes delivers one of the most talked-about films of the year in Monos: a hallucinogenic, intoxicating thriller about child soldiers that has inspired feverish buzz and earned comparisons to Apocalypse Now and Lord of the Flies. High in the mountains of South America, above the billowing clouds but with gunshots heard in the distance, a motley group of child and teenage soldiers train and wait for instruction while in the presence of their American hostage, the Doctora. Despite wearing its influences on its sleeve, the film is a wildly original vision from Landes and screenwriter Alexis dos Santos; the camera prowling over mud and organic decay, cutting swathes through the jungle, all to the strains of Mica Levi’s visceral score.

THE OTHER LAMB (Ireland-Belgium-USA, dir. Małgorzata Szumowska)
Małgorzata Szumowska’s (Berlin Jury Prize-winner Mug and LFF 2015’s Body) English-language debut The Other Lamb is a beguiling, genre-tinged examination of life in an otherworldly cult. Selah was born into The Flock, a community of women and girls ruled over by Shepherd, the only male, and a seemingly benevolent but undisputed leader of the strictly regimented and isolated woodland settlement. Selah appears the most perfect of the faithful flock, until unsettling revelations see her devotion shaken. Szumowska offers an eerie ethereal vision that compellingly recalls a range of references, from David Koresh’s Waco, Texas cult to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian science fiction.

THE PERFECT CANDIDATE (Germany-Saudi Arabia, dir. Haifaa Al Mansour)
Celebrated Saudi director Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate is an inspiring drama about Maryam, a highly competent young doctor whose road is paved with compromises and complications – quite literally in the case of a flooded path leading to her clinic, the dangers of which are not taken seriously by local officials. When her attempt to drive to a medical conference is stymied by not having the right papers, she finds her only solution is to sign up to be an electoral candidate, allowing her easy access through road blocks. However, when the responsibility of local politics dawns on her, she ropes in her sisters to challenge Saudi Arabia’s strict social codes and what is expected of a young woman in the country.

ROSE PLAYS JULIE (Ireland-United Kingdom, dir-scr. Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor)
Rose Plays Julie is a frank, immersive and gripping feminist drama from Irish directing duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, also known as Desperate Optimists. During a term studying animal euthanasia, veterinary student Rose (Ann Skelly) decides to contact Julie (Orla Brady), the birth mother who gave her up for adoption. But Julie, who is now a successful London-based actress, doesn’t want to know. Undeterred, Rose will not be ignored and curiosity leads her to discoveries that shake the fragile identity she has built for herself. Molloy and Lawlor build a sense of dread inside an exquisite world of immaculate architecture, rendered through an icy performance style and enveloped by a claustrophobic soundtrack.

SAINT MAUD (United Kingdom, dir-scr. Rose Glass)
A mysterious nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient in director Rose Glass’ divine debut feature, Saint Maud. Having recently found God, self-effacing young nurse Maud, arrives at a plush home to care for Amanda, a hedonistic dancer left frail from a chronic illness. When a chance encounter with a former colleague throws up hints of a dark past, it becomes clear there is more to sweet Maud than meets the eye. Glass’s gothic-tinged psychological drama is by turns insidiously creepy, darkly humorous and heartbreakingly sad; with Jennifer Ehle’s beautifully nuanced performance proving the perfect complement to Morfydd Clark’s star-making turn as the unsaintly Maud.

“Fury,” Starring Brad Pitt & Michael Peña, to Premiere at the BFI London Film Festival

Michael Peña is bringing a little Fury to Londontown…

The tank drama Fury, starring Brad Pitt and the 38-year-old Mexican American actor, will rumble into the United Kingdom on October 19 for its European premiere as the closing film at the BFI London Film Festival.

Michael Peña in Fury

No word on whether Peña will attend the festivities. But Pitt and the film’s writer and director David Ayer have been confirmed to attend the closing night gala at London’s Leicester Square, with simultaneous screenings taking place in cinemas across the UK.

“Fury is a resounding cinematic achievement,” said BFI London Film Festival Director Clare Stewart. “Rarely is a film so successful at balancing the human drama o war with such thrilling action sequences. We looking forward to welcoming LFF alumni David Ayer and Brad Pitt to London as we draw the 58th BFI London Film Festival to a monumental close.”

Ayer, whose End of Watch, which also starred Peña, screened at the festival in 2012, said it was a “great honor” to be chosen for the closing night.

“It’s a true pleasure to be returning to England, where we shot the film – the fields of Oxfordshire and Bovingdon Airfield in Hertfordshire were our home for 12 weeks last year, so it’s something of a homecoming for us to present the movie at its European premiere,” he said. “I’m thrilled that festival audiences will be among the first in Europe to see it.”

Fury sees Pitt play a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy, in command of a U.S. Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a mission behind enemy lines as the allies make their final push against Germany in 1945.

In addition to Pitt and Peña, the film also stars Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood.

It is due for release in the U.S. on October 17, having recently been moved by Sony Pictures from a November 14 slot.