Rondón’s “Pelo Malo” Chosen as Part of the Global Lens Films Series

Mariana Rondón is having a good (bad) hair day…

The Venezuelan cinema director, screenwriter and producer’s latest film.

Pero Malo

Pelo Malo (Bad Hair) has been chosen as one of the Global Film Initiative’s 10 films from around the world for its 2014 Global Lens Films Series, which is distributed by the New York-based FilmRise.

Rondón’s Pelo Malo, which she wrote and directed, is one of 10 titles being added to the 96-title GFI library, whose exclusive distribution rights FilmRise, headed by CEO Danny Fisher, acquired last year.

The dramatic film, which won the Golden Shell award at the 61st San Sebastian Film Festival, centers on a nine-year-old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair, eliciting a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother.

In addition to Pelo Malo, the lineup that includes Turkey’s 11’e 10 kala (10 to 11) and Babamin sesi (Voice of My Father), India’s Chitra Sutram (The Image Threads), Armenia’s Yerku ashkharhic i hishatak (From Two Worlds as a Keepsake), Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Halimin put (Halima’s Path), Rwanda’s Imbabazi (The Pardon), Morocco’s Wadaan Carmen (Adios Carmen), Cameroon’s Ninah’s Dowry and Egypt’s La Moakhza (Excuse My French).

Over the past 10 years, the Global Film Initiative has provided grants and distribution support for the Global Lens series, which supports filmmakers in the developing world by providing programming for festivals, libraries, cultural institutions, schools and art house cinemas throughout North America.

“We are excited to leverage our partnership with FilmRise as we continue our work to present the very best of world cinema as a means of promoting cross-cultural understanding,” Susan Weeks Coulter, founder and board chair of the Global Film Initiative, said

Bovaira Heading the Seven-Person Jury at This Year’s San Sebastian International Film Festival

Fernando Bovaira is the head of the class at one of Spain’s biggest film festivals…

The Spanish producer will head the seven-person jury that will select the winner of the top prize, the Golden Shell, at this year’s San Sebastian International Film Festival, which runs September 19-27.

Fernando Bovaira

One of Spain’s most international names, Bovaira has produced all of director Alejandro Amenabar’s films including The Others, The Sea Inside and the upcoming Regression — starring Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson — as well as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful, Julio Medem’s Sex and Lucia and Javier Fesser’s Mortadelo and Filemon, The Big Adventure.

Bovaira is joined by Venezuelan writer/director/producer Mariana Rondon, who returns to San Sebastian after winning last year’s Golden Shell with her acclaimed film Bad Hair, while Iranian born writer and director Marjane Satrapi will come to the seaside resort town in Spain’s northern Basque region after premiering her latest work, The Voices, starring Ryan Reynolds, at the Toronto Film Festival.

Singaporean director Eric Khoo, who heads Zhao Wei Films/Gorylah Pictures, will also join the panel. He has been credited with putting Singapore on the international film map with films like My Magic and animated Tatsumi.

Berlin-born actress Natassja Kinski, Germany director of photography Reinhold Vorschneider and Romanian character actor Vlad Ivanov, who won the L.A. Critics Award for his portrayal of an illegal abortion doctor in 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, round out the jury.

In addition to the seven official jurors, named Thursday, jailed Ukraine filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is an honorary jury member. The Federal Security State of the Russian Federation (FSB) arrested Sentsov on May 10 for backing the protests in Kiev and for his opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The festival said it took the step of officially naming Sentsov to the jury to defend freedom of expression and in response to an request by the European Film Academy.

Arvelo’s “The Liberator,” Starring Edgar Ramirez, Selected as Venezuela’s Oscar Submission for Foreign Language Film

Alberto Arvelo is one step closer to a possible Oscar nomination…

The Venezuelan filmmaker’s latest project The Liberator has been selected to be the country’s submission to the Foreign Language Film category for the next Academy Awards, according to the Venezuelan paper Ultimas Noticias.

The Liberator

The paper reports that a selection of Venezuelan film industry professionals voted on Arvelo’s film earlier this week.

The voting was reportedly divided between The Liberator and Mariana Rondon’s indie drama Bad Hair, winner of the Golden Shell at the San Sebastian Film Festival last year.

An absolute rarity for local standards in terms of production value, The Liberator is a $50 million co-production between Spain and Venezuela about military and political leader Simon Bolivar, who commanded an army that freed a great part of the region from Spanish colonialism back in the 19th century, and is regarded as a forefather of South America, together with Argentine Jose de San Martin.

The epic period piece stars Venezuela’s most high profile international actor Edgar Ramírez (Carlos, Zero Dark Thirty) as Bolivar, with a score by the L. A. Philharmonic’s music director Gustavo Dudamel, and a script by Timothy J. Sexton, who co-wrote Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men.

The film’s unusually international crew also features Spanish cinematographer Xavi Gimenez (The MachinistAgora), production designer Paul D. Austerberry (Twilight Saga: Eclipse), costume designer Sonia Grande (Midnight in Paris) and editor Tariq Anwar (American Beauty, The King’s Speech).

The Liberator opened in Venezuela on July 24, selling more than 500,000 tickets to date.

The film is scheduled for US release on October 3.

Autómata, Starring Banderas, to Compete at the San Sebastian International Film Festival

Antonio Banderas is heading to Northern Spain… 

Gabe Ibanez‘s latest project Autómata, starringthe 54-year-old Spanish actor, will compete at the 62nd San Sebastian International Film Festival.

Antonio Banderas in Automata

Banderas portrays Jacq Vaucan in Ibanez’s sci-fi thriller that’s being hailed as a cross between a western and a detective movie. It was co-written by Igor Legarreta and Javier Sánchez Donate.

Autómata also stars Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster and Tim McInnerny.

Other films added to the competition lineup include Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier’s latest drama, A Second Chance, Anahi Berneri’s Aire Libre, Maxime Giroux’s Felix and Meira, Cristian Jimenez‘s La Voz en Offand Cedric Kahn’s Wild Life.

The six films will all vie for the Golden Shell against others announced earlier this month.

San Sebastian, Spain’s A-level festival, runs Sept. 19- Sept. 27 in the northern Basque region.