Brazil Selects Kleber Mendonça Filho’s “Pictures of Ghosts” as its Best International Feature Film Entry at Oscars

Kleber Mendonça Filho’s latest project is Brazil’s best bet for an international film Oscar.

The South American country has selected the 54-year-old Brazilian film director and screenwriter’s documentary Pictures of Ghosts as its entry for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.

Kleber Mendonca Filho

Mixing archive and contemporary footage, the deeply personal work revisits the director’s hometown of Recife through the cinemas he once frequented.

The film world premiered as a Special Screening at Cannes Film Festival in May and had its North American premiere on September 9 in Toronto, before heading to New York.

Grasshopper Films acquired U.S. rights to the film this summer. Paris-based Urban Sales handles international sales.

The Brazilian Cinema Academy selected the film on Tuesday from a shortlist, which also included Guto Parente’s A Strange Path, Sergio de Carvalho’s Alien Nights, Eduardo Albergaria’s Nosso Sonho, Carolina Markowicz’s Toll and Claudio Borrelli’s Vultures.

The selection was made by a 23-member committee, chaired by distributor and exhibitor Ilda Santiago.

Mendonça Filho thanked the academy for selecting the film in a media post, re-enacting his taking the call on the phone as he stroked his cat.

First Look Trailer Released for Nathaly Garcia’s New Film “Gasoline Rainbow”

Nathaly Garcia is gassed up for her latest project…

The first trailer for Gasoline Rainbow, starring the Latina actress, has been released.

Gasoline RainbowThe first narrative feature from the acclaimed indie duo of Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross, which is soon to have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, is set to hit U.S. theaters via Mubi next year.

Gasoline Rainbow is a formally experimental work that’s reminiscent of Andrea Arnold’s Cannes Film Festival prize winner American Honey.

Written, produced, shot and directed by the Ross Brothers, it follows five teenagers from small-town Oregon who, with high school in the rearview, decide to embark on one last adventure. Piling into a van with a busted taillight, their mission is to make it to a place they’ve never been — the Pacific coast, five hundred miles away. Their plan, in full: “F**k it.”

By van, boat, train, and foot, their improvised odyssey takes them through desert wilderness, industrial backwaters, and city streets. Along the way, they encounter outsiders from the fringes of the American West and discover that the contours of their lives will be set by trails they blaze themselves. They are forgotten kids from a forgotten town, but they have their freedom and they have each other, hurtling toward an unknowable future — and The Party at the End of the World.

Starring Garcia and fellow newcomers Tony Abuerto, Micah Bunch, Nichole Dukes and Makai Garza, the film began percolating for the Rosses during Covid lockdown. Said the visionaries behind it in a statement setting up the clip, “This scene almost didn’t happen – chasing the sunset after a brutally long day of filming in the van, the sky went electric with color. Racing towards a vantage point, the kids jumped out of the van and ran into the open. We’d found ourselves on the exact same stretch of lonesome road that begins and ends My Own Private Idaho. It was magical. They stayed and pontificated until the light was gone, and then we left. One brief moment along the line.”

Added the duo with regard to their forthcoming premiere, “Venice is a new frontier for us, and we’re thrilled to make it our point of embarkation.”

Produced by the Department of Motion Pictures and Mubi, in association with XTRGasoline Rainbow is having international sales handled by The Match Factory.

Sony Pictures Classics to Release Pedro Almodóvar’s “Strange Way of Life” Short Film in U.S. Theaters

Pedro Almodóvar’s latest short film will be hitting theaters in the United States this fall.

The 73-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning filmmaker’s Strange Way of Life, which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the spring, will arrive in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles on October 4 thanks to Sony Pictures Classics.

Pedro AlmodovarThere will be an expansion nationwide on Oct. 6.

The short film, starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, will play in theaters alongside Almodóvar’s 2020 short film, The Human Voicestarring Tilda Swinton, which was also distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Together, the two shorts represent Almodóvar’s only English-language projects to date.

Strange Way of Life follows two gunmen who reunite after many years. In the film, a man rides a horse across the desert that separates him from Bitter Creek. He comes to visit Sheriff Jake. Twenty-five years earlier, both the sheriff and Silva, the rancher who rides out to meet him, worked together as hired gunmen. Silva visits him with the excuse of reuniting with his friend from his youth, and they do indeed celebrate their meeting, but the next morning Sheriff Jake tells him that the reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their old friendship…

Pedro Pascal, Strange Way of LifeProduced by Almodóvar’s El Deseo and presented by Saint Laurent by Anthony VaccarelloStrange Way of Life, stars Pedro Casablanc, Manu Ríos, George Steane, José Condessa, Jason Fernández and Sara Sálamo. It is produced by Agustín Almodóvar, with Esther García as EP and Bárbara Peiró, Diego Pajuelo, and Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello as associate producers.

The score is composed by four-time Oscar nominee Alberto Iglesias, a regular Almodóvar collaborator who received his most recent Oscar nomination in 2022 for Almodóvar’s Paralell Mothers. All characters are costumed by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello.

SPC has long-teamed with Almodóvar on a majority of his films, including most recently Parallel Mothers in 2021 and Pain and Glory in 2019. Sony Pictures Classics, which received two Oscar nominations each.

Pablo Berger’s “Robot Dreams” Named Contrechamp Winner at Annecy Animation Festival

Pablo Berger is celebrating a special win…

The 60-year-old Spanish writer and director claimed the top honors for the Annecy Animation Festival’s parallel Contrechamp competition.

Pablo BergerBerger won for his Cannes Film Festival breakout film Robot Dreams, a bittersweet 2D tale of friendship between a robot and a dog in 1980s New York.

Adapted from a graphic novel by Sara Varon, the Spanish film swaps any-and-all spoken dialogue for some toe-tapping needle drops and silent comedy gags.

Robot DreamsNeon will release the film stateside later this year.

Here’s a look at all the winners:


Cristal for a Feature Film
“Chicken for Linda!” (Chiara Malta, Sebastien Laudenbach, France, Italy)

Jury Award
“Four Souls of Coyote” (Aron Gauder, Hungary)

Paul Grimault Award
“The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes” (Tomohisa Taguchi, Japan)

Gan Foundation Award for Distribution
“Chicken for Linda!” (Chiara Malta, Sebastien Laudenbach, France, Italy)

Contrechamp Grand Prix
“Robot Dreams” (Pablo Berger, Spain, France)

Contrechamp Jury Award
“Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light” (Filip Pošivač, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia)

Audience Award
“Sirocco and the Kingdom of Air Streams” (Benoit Chieux, Belgium, France)


Cristal for a Short Film
“27” (Flóra Anna Buda, France, Hungary)

Jury Award
“Drijf” (Levi Stoops, Belgium)

Alexeïeff – Parker Award  [ex mention du jury]
“Eeva” (Morten Tšinakov, Lucija Mrzljak  Estonia, Croatia)

Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a First Film
“Our Uniform” (Yegane Moghaddam, Iran)

Off-Limits Award
“Is Heaven Blue? #2” (Menno De Nooijer Paul De Nooijer Norway, Netherlands)

Audience Award
“Nun or Never!” (Heta Jäälinoja, Finland) 


Cristal for a TV Production
Pebble Hill (Marjolaine Perreten, Belgium, France, Switzerland)

First Jury Award for a TV Series
Shape Island “Square’s Big Prank”
(Drew Hodges, USA)

Second Jury Award for a TV Series
Scavengers Reign “The Wall
(Vincent Tsui, USA) 


Cristal for a Commissioned Film
November Ultra “Come Into My Arms” (Tamerlan Bekmurzayev, France)

Jury Award for a Commissioned Film
The Beatles “I’m Only Sleeping” (Em Cooper, UK)


Cristal for a Graduation Film
“La notte” (Martina Generali, Simone Pratola, Francesca Rosso, Italy)

Jury Award
“Harbourmaster” (Mia L. Henriksen, Konrad Hjemli, Norway)

Lotte Reiniger Award
“Mano” (Toke Madsen, Denmark)


Cristal for the Best VR Work
“Red Tail” (Fish Wang, Taiwan)

Neon Acquires North American Rights to Pablo Berger’s First Animated Feature “Robot Dreams”

Pablo Berger’s dreams will bring him stateside…

Neon has acquired the North American rights to Robot Dreams, the first animated feature from the 60-year-old Spanish Goya Award-winning filmmaker.

Pablo BergerThe film premiered in the Special Screenings section of the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, May 20th.

Robot DreamsBased on the award-winning graphic novel of the same name by Sara VaronRobot Dreams follows DOG, who lives in Manhattan and one day, tired of being alone, decides to build himself a robot, a companion. Their friendship blossoms, until they become inseparable, to the rhythm of ’80s NYC. One summer night, DOG, with great sadness, is forced to abandon ROBOT at the beach. Will they ever meet again?

Berger produced the film alongside Ibon Cormenzana, Ignasi Estapé, Sandra Tapia Diaz and Ángel Durández, with Jérôme Vidal, Sylvie Pialat and Benoit Quainon co-producing.

The acquisition, which is the first North American deal announced for a Cannes festival movie this edition, comes on the heels of Neon’s past triumphs at Cannes with three consecutive Palme d’Or winners: ParasiteTitane and Triangle of Sadness.

Berger’s previous projects include Torremolinos, Blancanieves and Abracadabra.

Lupa Filmes Releases First-Look Images of Cristian Ponce’s Survival Horror Film “A Mother’s Embrace”

Cristian Ponce is embracing the horror…

Brazil’s Lupa Filmes has released first-look images for the Argentine filmmaker’s upcoming survival horror A Mother’s Embrace ahead of its bow at the Cannes Film Festival’s Fantastic Pavilion, where genre industry professionals will also be treated to the sneak peak of the trailer.

Cristian PoncePreviously behind the animated web series The Kirlian Frequency, acquired by Netflix, in 2020 Ponce directed the big breakout film History of the Occult, which marked his feature debut.

The film was described as the highest-rated horror movie of 2021 on Letterboxd’s Year in Review roundup, as voted by users of the film rating social platform.

Cristian Ponce, A Mother's EmbraceSet in 1996, during one of the biggest storms to ever hit Rio de Janeiro, A Mother’s Embrace will see a team of firefighters trying to evacuate a nursing home at risk of collapsing. But its mysterious residents have other plans.

“Rio is known for its warm weather and beaches, but it also has this history of tropical storms and floods. When it rains, it pours,” says producer André Pereira. In 2017, he earned his horror stripes with The Trace We Leave Behind (O Rastro).

Cristian Ponce, A Mother's Embrace“We wanted this rain to feel different. Different from how it feels, say, in North American films. Here, rain is weird, it’s still hot and humid. For our makeup department, it meant a lot of sweat. Luckily, Cristian was always saying that he didn’t want these characters to be too pristine. In our film, rain is not soothing. It doesn’t make things better – it just makes them worse.”

“One of our biggest influences is John Carpenter, who always tells stories about people stuck in some places they cannot escape,” adds the director. Not just that – apart from the mayhem happening outside, his characters are trying to save strangers that don’t really want to be saved.

Cristian Ponce, A Mother's Embrace“We try to create our own mythology here. You could say that these people, who form a cult, are trying to live a ‘better’ life. But what it means can be very subjective.”

While not necessarily focusing on gore and favoring the growing sense of dread, as well as notions of paranoia, religion and existentialism, things will get dicey in the third act, he adds.

“There is mud… and eventually blood.”

The film, set over the course of one night – “Which translated to six weeks of night shoots. Our actors had to go through just about everything,” laughs Pereira – finished principal photography at the beginning of May. Marjorie Estiano, known for drama series Under Pressure and Locarno winner Good Manners, Chandelly Braz, Javier Drolas, Maria Volpe, Mel Nunes and Reynaldo Machado star.

Ponce and Pereira – who both co-wrote the script with Gabriela Capello – underline that the film represents a “true collaboration in Latin American genre.” Mexican Morbido Group’s Pablo Guisa Koestinger is also on board as co-producer.

“This week, you can see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in every country in Latin America. If we want to find an audience for our local films too, it’s easier to form an alliance,” notes Ponce.

“It’s a good strategy, but what we also got out of it was this sense of brotherhood. Argentina and Brazil, we actually have a lot in common and we didn’t know that before we started to collaborate.”

Pereira agrees: “It’s time to break these borders because ultimately, we are so similar. At first, we were looking at each other, also with [executive producer] Mariana Muniz, thinking: ‘Is this going to work?’ Soon, our official language on set was Portuñol,” he says.

“It was a privilege to have this exchange and we want to do even more in the future. For us, the whole point of making horror films in Latin America is about bringing these different points of view and cultural heritage into our stories.”

Mía Maestro to Star in the Drama “Beneath the Grass”

Mía Maestro is ready to kick some grass

The 44-year-old Argentine actress and singer will star in Beneath the Grass, a drama about the criminal justice system and marijuana incarceration rates.

Mia MaestroMaestro will star opposite Quincy Isaiah and Jeff Kober in the film, which will hit the market at the Cannes Film Festival next week.

The film will begin production next month in New Jersey. Paradigm is representing worldwide sales for the film.

Beneath the Grass is set in 2008, capturing both the economic recession and the “Yes We Can” summer, and follows a single Latina mother whose illegal marijuana business is jeopardized when her young son befriends the new neighbors, a young white boy and his police officer grandfather.

According to production research, in 2008, Latino people were four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, while Black people were seven times more likely. Despite marijuana legalization in several states in the years since, the research explains, arrest rates have risen with racial disparities still prevalent.

The film marks the directorial debuts of William Bermudez and Sam Friedman, who wrote the screenplay, with a story by Bermudez, Friedman and others.

Following roles in The Motorcycle Diaries, Frida and the Twilight franchise, Maestro recently appeared in the Apple TV+ series Extrapolations and The Cow That Sang a Song Into the Future, which debuted at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

She will next star in Jose Rivera’s Alina of Cuba, a biopic about Fidel Castro’s exiled daughter Alina Fernandez, directed by Miguel Bardem.

The cast also includes Rachel Ticotin, Rachel Stubington and newcomer Elizabeth Cuzzupoli.

First Trailer Released for Rodrigo Moreno’s Heist Comedy-Drama “The Delinquents”

Rodrigo Moreno is delinquent

The first official trailer has been released for the Argentinian filmmaker’s The Delinquents, as he returns to feature filmmaking.

Rodrigo MorenoThe heist comedy-drama is set to debut at Cannes Film Festival.

Billed as an “existential probe” into the work-life balance and what happens when it’s shattered and replaced with something radical and new, the film follows Morán, a bank employee in Buenos Aires who dreams up a risky plan to liberate himself and his co-worker Román from the shackles of working life: Morán will steal enough cash from the bank to fund their retirement if Román hides the money for him after he confesses and serves prison time; in three years’ time, they’ll reunite, split the cash, and never have to work again. Departing to the countryside to fulfill his side of the deal, the less adventurous Román finds himself transformed by Morán’s idyllic vision of economic liberation far from the rigors of urban life. But what is the true cost of freedom?

The film will debut in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. Magnolia Pictures International is selling worldwide rights, including the US.

The film stars Argentinian actors Esteban Bigliardi, Daniel Elías, Margarita Molfino, Laura Paredes, Cecilia Rainero and Germán De Silva.

“Modern society has led us to live lives that we don’t want to live: there are so many obligations that strip our freedoms. The decision taken in my film invites us to escape this fate. The Delinquents is conceived as a film with light and humor,” Moreno said. “The story offers glimpses of life and not, as it could be expected from a film that takes on these issues, violence or darkness. These glimpses converge in fleeting romance, with poetry, in the enjoyment of rural life, in the establishment of a complicity between the protagonists.”

Moreno is best known for his 2012 feature The Custodian, which debuted at Berlin, played San Sebastian, and was nominated for three Argentinian Academy awards.

Pedro Pascal in Final Negotiations to Star in Paramount’s Untitled “Gladiator” Sequel

Pedro Pascal is ready to Rome

The 48-year-old Chilean actor is thisclose to joining the cast of the untitled Gladiator sequel for Paramount.

Pascal would join Paul Mescal, who will star as Lucius, as well as Barry Keoghan, Joseph Quinn, Connie Nielsen and Denzel Washington.

Ridley Scott is returning to direct.

Pascal’s role is unknown.

The new film follows the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator, which earned more than $460 million in worldwide box office and was nominated for 12 Oscars, winning five including Best Picture.

The role of Maximus, the Roman general-turned-gladiator, was a career-changer for Russell Crowe, not only delivering him the Best Actor Oscar but also launching him to the top of every leading-man list. Once it was made clear last year that the sequel would be Scott’s next movie, every male actor in town that fit the profile began chasing the part.

David Scarpa penned the script.

Also returning from the original film are John Mathieson (director of photography), Arthur Max (production designer) and Janty Yates (costume designer).

Paramount Pictures has dated the film for November 22, 2024.

The first film was co-production between Universal and DreamWorks, and while DreamWorks will not be involved in the sequel, Universal has the right to partner again when the project is packaged.

Pascal has been a major player following his scene-stealing role in his one season on Game of Thronesbut his star has blasted off following The Last of Uswhich has become one of the most popular shows in HBO’s history. While HBO is looking to get the show up and going next year, Pascal had been weighing a number of options to shoot before jumping back in to that and the opportunity on this film was too hard to pass up.

Besides The Last of Us, which will certainly have him in award season chatter this Emmy season, he also reprised his role on the Disney+ series The Mandalorianwhich just had its Season 3 finale last week.

Pascal can next be seen starring alongside Ethan Hawke in Pedro Almodovar’s short film Strange Way of Life, which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and will be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics this fall.

Additionally, Pascal is in Ethan Coen’s film Drive-Away Dolls, distributed by Focus Features and releasing in September. Pascal also stars in Anna Boden’s Freaky Tales, which is likely to come out later this year.

He also hosted Saturday Night Live earlier this year, earning rave reviews, and is also in contention for some Emmy love this awards season.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Worldwide Rights to Pedro Almodovar’s “Strange Way of Life,” Starring Pedro Pascal

Pedro Pascal’s strange way of life will be on full display globally…

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the worldwide rights (outside of the UK, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Latin America) to Strange Way of Life, the buzzy short film starring the Chilean actor.

Pedro Pascal, Strange Way of LifeThe film, from Pedro Almodóvar, also stars Ethan Hawke.

The short will premiere as an official selection of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

The film, acquired at the pre-production phase, is slated for release this fall and will almost certainly be positioned for awards consideration, given the caliber of talent behind it.

Following two gunmen who reunite after 25 years, Strange Way of Life marks the latest in a long line of collaborations between Almodóvar and SPC, coming on the heels of the filmmaker’s first English-language project The Human Voice — a short also distributed by SPC, which starred Tilda Swinton.

Almodóvar describes the plot as follows: “A man rides a horse across the desert that separates him from Bitter Creek. He comes to visit Sheriff Jake. Twenty-five years earlier, both the sheriff and Silva, the rancher who rides out to meet him, worked together as hired gunmen. Silva visits him with the excuse of reuniting with his friend from his youth, and they do indeed celebrate their meeting, but the next morning Sheriff Jake tells him that the reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their old friendship…”

Produced by Almodóvar’s El Deseo and presented by Saint Laurent by Anthony VaccarelloStrange Way of Life also stars Pedro Casablanc, Manu Ríos, George Steane, José Condessa, Jason Fernández and Sara Sálamo.

Agustín Almodóvar produced, with Esther García as executive producer, and Bárbara Peiró, Diego Pajuelo and Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello as associate producers.

Four-time Oscar nom and regular Almodóvar collaborator Alberto Iglesias penned the score, with Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello handling the costumes.