Carla Simón Receives Spain’s National Cinematography Award

Carla Simón has received one of the highest honors bestowed by Spain’s Ministry of Culture.

The 36-year-old Spanish filmmaker, whose sophomore film Alcarràs clinched the 72md Berlinale Golden Bear last year, received the 2023 National Cinematography Award.

Carla SimonOn hand to present the award in a ceremony held at the San Sebastian Film Festival was Miguel Iceta, Spain’s Minister of Culture and Sports, who first addressed Simón in Catalan before switching to Spanish: “With only two feature films, you have left your mark on the recent history of cinema in our country: a short but undisputed trajectory in terms of its strength and personality, recognized both nationally and internationally. A career that is nothing but the promise of a much longer and fruitful one.”

“This award, if you’ll allow me the audacity, is also for all the women who accompany you, for all your professional colleagues and peers, for all those women who, with your example and your struggle, are making the world of cinema a more equal, diverse, and better place,” said Iceta, who as an aside, also pointed out that Spain’s women’s soccer team, recently crowned world champions, had just won in Sweden.

However, out of the more than 40 times the award has been given out, no more than 14 women in the film industry have received the award. “We have some way to go before we achieve gender parity,” he noted.

The prize, granted by the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), an organization affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, comes with a prize of €30,000 ($31,800).

Carla Simon“Finally, there are more women involved in filmmaking, and we are witnessing a timid democratization of our profession. There are ways of working that are already considered obsolete and stories that had never been told before. However, at the same time, films and works are still being censored for political reasons, or we self-censor to be politically correct,” Simón stated in a highly applauded speech where she thanked her family, friends and all that have supported her in her brief but brilliant career.

Only 36 years old, Simón quickly caught the film world’s attention in 2017 with her autobiographical debut feature, Summer 1993, sweeping Berlin’s First Feature Award and Generation Kplus Grand Prix.

It went on to be selected to represent Spain in the Oscars, beating Pablo Berger’s Abracadabra and Salvador Calvo’s 1898, Our Last Men in the Philippines for the honor.

In her speech, Simón stressed the need to safeguard independent cinema, which she described as having “heart and daring,” emphasizing that it necessitates “time, nurturing, contemplation and precision.” She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the female filmmakers who blazed a trail in the industry, including notable figures such as the Belgian icons Agnès Varda and Chantal Akerman, as well as their Spanish counterparts Josefina Molina, Pilar Miró, Icíar Bollaín and Isabel Coixet.

She is currently preparing to shoot Romería, the third part of the trilogy she begun with Summer 1993, by next summer. She is next planning a flamenco musical for her fourth feature.

Wagner Moura Signs with William Morris Endeavor (WME)

It’s a new endeavor for Wagner Moura

The 44-year-old Brazilian actor, filmmaker, musician and journalist has signed with William Morris Endeavor (WME).

Wagner Moura

Moura, a Golden Globe nominee for his role as Pablo Escobar in the Netflix acclaimed series Narcos, was previously represented by UTA.

He can currently be seen starring in two Netflix films; Sergio, which he also produced, and Wasp Network, opposite Penelope Cruz and Gael Garcia Bernal.

Wagner made his directorial debut with Marighella, which premiered at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival.

His other credits include Walter SallesBehind The Sun for Miramax, Sony’s Elysium, opposite Matt Damon, and Jose Padilha’s Elite Squad, which won the Golden Bear at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival.

Bérénice Bejo Named to Berlin International Film Festival Competition Jury

Bérénice Bejois reporting for jury dury…

The 70th Berlin International Film Festival has unveiled its juries, with the 43-year-old Argentine actress and Oscar nominee earning a spot.

Bérénice Bejo

In addition to Bejo, who earned an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in The Artist, producer Bettina Brokemper (Germany), director Annemarie Jacir(Palestine), playwright and director Kenneth Lonergan(USA), actor Luca Marinelli (Italy) and film critic and director Kleber Mendonça Filho(Brazil), will join president Jeremy Irons

They will award prizes including the Goldenand the Silver Bears to the 18 films in this year’s Competition line up.

The festival’s new competitive section Encounters will see Dominga Sotomayor(Chile), Eva Trobisch(Germany) and Shôzô Ichiyama(Japan) award three prizes: Best Film, Best Director and a Special Jury Award.

The youth-focused Generations strand has two juries. The Kplus section will be overseen by Abbas Amini (Iran), Jenna Bass (South Africa) and Rima Das. The 14plus competition will be overseen by Marine Atlan (France), María Novaro (Mexico) and Erik Schmitt (Germany).

The international short film jury will feature animation filmmaker Réka Bucsi (Hungary), curator Fatma Çolakoğlu (Turkey) and filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese.

The winner of the festival’s documentary prize, which encompasses the Competition, Berlinale Special, Encounters, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections, will be selected by Gerd Kroske (Germany), Marie Losier (France / USA), and Alanis Obomsawin (Canada).

Finally, the jury for the Best First Feature Award, which also encompasses multiple programs, will be Ognjen Glavonić(Serbia), Hala Lotfy(Egypt) and Gonzalo de Pedro Amatria(Spain).

The festival winners will be announced at the Berlinale Palaston February 29.

Sebastián Lelio to Serve on Berlin International Film Festival Competition Jury

Sebastián Leliois ready to judge…

The Berlin International Film Festival, which gets underway next week, has revealed the competition jury for its 2019 edition, with the 44-year-old Oscar-winning Chilean-Argentine director earning a spot on the panel.

Sebastián Lelio

Lelio, who won an Academy Awardfor Best Foreign Language Film for helming A Fantastic Woman, will be joioned by German actress Sandra Hüllerand producer-director Trudie Styler.

They’ll join jury president Juliette Binocheto decide winners of the Goldenand Silver Bear awards.

Rounding out the jury are LA Times critic Justin Chang and Rajendra Roy, the Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Filmat New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman premiered at the festival in 2017 on its way to winning the 2018 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Binoche is a Berlinaleregular, having appeared in several competition films, including Lasse Hallstrom’s Chocolat in 2001 and Isabel Coixet’s Endless Night, which opened the festival in 2015. 

Sebastián Lelio’s “A Fantastic Woman” Makes Oscars Shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film

Sebastián Lelio is one step closer to a special date with Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has whittled through 92 submissions to come up with its shortlist of nine titles to advance in the Best Foreign Language Film category this year, with the 43-year-old Argentinian-born Chilean filmmaker still in the running.

Sebastián Lelio

Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman, Chile’s pick to enter the race for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, joins other favorites like Ruben Ostlund’s The Square (Sweden) and Loveless from Russia’s Andrey Zvyagintsev in advancing to the next round.

Each of those was nominated for a Golden Globe earlier this week. As was Fatih Akin’s Germany terrorism drama In The Fade, which has seen its street cred solidified by the Academy with tonight’s shortlist inclusion.

The final five Academy Award nominations in the race will be announced along with the rest of the categories on January 23.

Films also making the cut include Berlinale Golden Bear winner On Body And Soul from resurgent Turkish director Ildikó Enyedi; and Venice favorites Foxtrot, from Israel’s Samuel Maoz, and The Insult by Franco-Lebanese helmer Ziad Doueiri.

The last Spanish-language film to earn a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category was Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent (representing Colombia) in 2015.

The Last Spanish-language film to win the Oscar in the category was Juan José Campanella’s The Secret in Their Eyes (representing Argentina) in 2009. 

In 2012, Chile earned its first and only Oscar nomination in the category with Pablo Larrain’s No, which starred Gael Garcia Bernal.

Here’s this year’s complete shortlist:

Chile, A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio, director;
Germany, In the Fade, Fatih Akin, director;
Hungary, On Body and Soul, Ildikó Enyedi, director;
Israel, Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz, director;
Lebanon, The Insult, Ziad Doueiri, dirctor;
Russia, Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, director;
Senegal, Félicité, Alain Gomis, director;
South Africa, The Wound, John Trengove, director;
Sweden, The Square, Ruben Östlund, director.

Luna to Serve on the Berlin Film Festival’s International Jury

Diego Luna is joining the judge’s panel… 

The 37-year-old Mexican actor, producer and director has been named to the Berlin Film Festival’s International Jury this year.

Diego Luna

Maggie Gyllenhaal, German actress Julia Jentsch, Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha, Iceland’s Olafur Eliasson and Chinese writer-director Wang Quan’an will join Luna to round out the jury that will decide who will receive the Golden and Silver Bears at Berlinale next month.

Dutch helmer-writer Paul Verhoeven will lead the jury as President.

Luna’s breakthrough role come with Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También and he’s recently stared in Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and has had roles in ContrabandMilk and The Terminal. His directorial debut Abel premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

The Berlin Film Festival takes place February 9-19.

Brühl In Talks to Star in Jose Padilha’s “Entebbe”

Daniel Brühl is thisclose to lift off…

The 38-year-old half-Spanish actor is in talks to star opposite Rosamund Pike and Vincent Cassel in Jose Padilha’s Entebbe for Working Title.

Daniel Brühl

Participant is also on board as producer and in negotiations to fully finance the film, which was penned by Greg Burke, who wrote Yann Demange’s brilliant71.

It’s the 1976 true story, when four hijackers — two Palestinian, two German — took a plane hostage and diverted it to land in Entebbe, Uganda, while they demanded the release of dozens of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian prisoners.

The ticking-clock thriller follows the hijackers, hostages, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and future PM Shimon Peres trying to decide whether to negotiate or launch a raid to free the hostages, as well as the French crew led by the pilot who refused to leave when they could with the other French hostages.

Given Europe’s own summer of terror, with the wave of attacks in France and Germany — not to mention devastating attacks in Iraq, Turkey, Orlando and elsewhere — the picture is likely to have strong contemporary relevance even with its historical setting.

Padilha, who shot to prominence with his gritty police crime tale Elite Squad — which won Berlin’s Golden Bear in 2007 — will bring his research-based documentary background to bear as he did so successfully in both Elite Squad films, his searing documentary Bus 174 and, of course his brilliant Pablo Escobar Netflix drama Narcos. Padilha will examine the story from multiple points of view – the German and Palestinian hijackers, the Israeli (and other nationalities) hostages, as well as Israeli officials like Peres and Rabin.

The story of the Entebbe raid and hijackings has been told before on TV and in numerous docus. Peter Finch and Charles Bronson starred in the 1976 NBC movie of the week Raid On Entebbe directed by Irvin Kershner, while a rival TV movie Victory At Entebbe was produced the same year at ABC starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster.

The latest project reps the first time the story will be told for the big screen by a filmmaking team at the absolute top of its game.

Brühl has The Zookeeper’s Wife opposite Jessica Chastain in post and is also set to star in the JJ Abrams-produced God Particle alongside Elizabeth Debicki, John Krasinski and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Padilha to Co-Write and Direct “Mindcorp” for Warner Bros.

Jose Padilha isn’t about to mind his own business…

Warner Bros. has purchased Mindcorp, a science fiction thriller based on a short story by the 47-year-old Brazilian film director, producer and screenwriter that he’ll direct.

Jose Padilha

Dwain Worrell has been set to write the script with Padilha. It’s the second studio gig for Padilha after his Robocop remake.

The studio is keeping the logline under wraps, but in broad strokes it’s a high-concept intense thriller involving next-generation mind-body experimentation and a priest who becomes responsible for the survival of humanity.

Padilha won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for Elite Squad in 2008.

Almodóvar’s “The Skin I Live In” Scores a BAFTA Upset

Pedro Almodóvar has claimed his fifth BAFTA award, and he scored an upset in the process…

The 62-year-old Spanish director won the British film industry’s BAFTA award for Best Film Not in the English Language for his critically acclaimed film The Skin I Live In, which stars Antonio Banderas.

Pedro Almodovar

Almodóvar beat out the night’s favorite in the category, Iran’s The Separation.

This is Almodóvar’s third win for best film in a language other than English. He’d previousaly claimed the prize for All About My Mother in 2000 and Talk to Her in 2003.

The Skin I Live In Poster
Almodovar didn’t attend the ceremony on Sunday evening at London’s Royal Opera. Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor accepted the prize on his behalf, reading a gracious thank-you and acceptance message from the director.

The favorite in the best foreign language film category had been The Separation, which one the Golden Bear award in Berlin and a Golden Globe.