Saldaña Producing Documentary “Gone Missing”

Zoe Saldaña is shining a spotlight on an epidemic affecting indigenous women in Canada…

Zoe Saldaña

The 37-year-old half-Dominican/half-Puerto Rican American actress and her sisters’ production company, Cinestar Pictures, is partnering with producer-director Leslie Owen and her Owen Media Group to produce Gone Missing, a documentary that will explore the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls of Canada.

Owen says there are more than 4,000 documented cases of women and girls who’ve disappeared or have been murdered across Canada during the past three decades.

The documentary will ask why this happens and what is being done to investigate and prevent the crimes.

It’ll follow three key stories and feature voices of family members of the missing and murdered along with politicians and community leaders.

Cinestar is in the second year of a first-look deal with South Shore Television and Pantelion Films, the U.S. joint ventures of Grupo Televisa and Lionsgate.


The pic is currently in production.

Televisa USA to Adapt Spain’s Hit Drama Series “Gran Hotel” in English

Spain’s Downton Abbey is getting an English makeover…

Televisa USA is breaking ground on Gran Hotel, an English-language adaptation of the popular Spanish series.

Gran Hotel

Stephen Kronish, the executive producer of 24 and The Kennedys, will pen the project, which will move the setting for the mystery drama from 1905 Spain to pre-Castro Havanam Cuba.

In the new version, following his sister’s disappearance, Julio is led on a dangerous journey that takes him to the opulent Gran Hotel, a frequent getaway for the rich, powerful, famous and infamous and into the arms of the sexy daughter of the hotel’s wealthy owner.

“It was a time when mobsters, politicians and celebrities flocked to Havana, the world’s most exotic and permissive playground,” said Chris Philip, head of Production and Distribution at Televisa USA. “Setting Gran Hotel in a sexy, sinful atmosphere offers up a rich fusion of glamour and intrigue deeply rooted in an exceptional murder mystery format with a proven global footprint.”

Televisa USA, a subsidiary of the Mexican media company Grupo Televisa, is teaming up with Lantica Media for the series, which will be shot at Lantica’s Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios.

It’s one of several projects planned for Lantica to co-develop and co-finance with Televisa.

Televisa USA plans to shop the series to U.S. and international buyers.

The original Gran Hotel was created and produced by Bambu Producciones and ran on Spain’s Antena 3 for three seasons, with its first season reaching a 18.5% share.

Dubbed “a Spanish Downton Abbey,” the original series has been a top international seller for Beta Films, which is co-producing an Italian version airing on RAI. As a finished series, Gran Hotel has been sold to networks in France, the UK and Russia.

Derbez Developing a Remake of the French Film “The Valet”

Eugenio Derbez is ready for a makeover…

The 53-year-old Mexican comedian, actor, writer and filmmaker, who recently inked a first look deal with Pantelion Films, is developing a remake of the French film The Valet.

Eugenio Derbez

The film, written and directed by Francis Veber, was released in 2006 and grossed $29 million worldwide.

The story centers on a parking valet and a top model who have to pretend to be a couple in order to salvage a CEO’s marriage.

The Valet is the first project under his new agreement with Pantelion Films, a deal that underscores the high stakes of reaching the coveted Hispanic moviegoing audience — a fast-growing demographic at the box office.

Derbez starred in and directed Pantelion’s hit Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. at $44 million. The film grossed another $55 million outside the U.S.

“Pantelion and Televisa can reach my core fan base better than anyone and, with the distribution expertise and brand recognition of Lionsgate, I know we can build on the crossover audience that we began to reach with Instructions,” said Derbez.

Derbez also starred in 2007’s Under the Same Moon, which took in about half of its $23 million worldwide in the U.S.

Pantelion, a partnership between Lionsgate and Mexican media conglom Grupo Televisa, made the deal with Derbez’s newly-launched 3Pas Studios production company. 3Pas, a partnership with former Pantelion President of Production Benjamin Odell, will focus on Spanish and English-language films targeting Latino and crossover audiences in the U.S.

Derbez Signs Exclusive First-Look Deal with Pantelion Films

Eugenio Derbez is ready to make more crossover films… And, he now has the support to produce them.

The 53-year-old Mexican writer, director and star of the hit Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included, has signed an exclusive first-look deal with Lionsgate/Grupo Televisa’s Pantelion Films.

Eugenio Derbez

The pact keeps Derbez in business with the label that released his record-setting Spanish-language film last year.

The deal was made via Derbez’s newly launched 3PasStudios, a partnership with former Pantelion president of production Benjamin Odell. 3Pas will focus on Spanish- and English-language films targeted at Latino and crossover audiences in the U.S.

Instructions Not Included became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. when it opened last year. Pantelion also is behind biopic Cantinflas which has pulled in $3.6M since it opened last weekend in 382 theaters.

Derbez’s film credits include Under The Same Moon, also among the highest-grossing Spanish language films released in the U.S.

He and Odell first worked together on Sangre de Mi Sangre in 2006, starring Derbez, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and for which Odell was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Odell also produced Pantelion’s 2012 release Girl In Progress, starring Eva Mendes, Cierra Ramirez, Patricia Arquette and Derbez, and he is producing Pantelion’s upcoming drama Spare Parts, starring Marisa Tomei, Jamie Lee Curtis and George Lopez, scheduled for release on January 16, 2015.

Higareda Signs on for Televisa USA’s Scripted Action Drama Series “Coma”

Martha Higareda is preparing for double-duty on Televisa USA’s new project.

The 30-year-old Mexican actress will executive produce and star in Televisa USA’s scripted action drama series Coma.

Martha Higareda

Described as an hourlong action drama with sci-fi elements, Coma focuses on 10,000 comatose patients around the world who in the course of three days suddenly wake up fighting for their lives. Inexplicably, they all have the same message: Stop Ian Wallace, the man they say will be responsible for starting World War III.

Higareda will portray Dr. Victoria Neves in the pilot.

The division of Televisa, a subsidiary of Spanish-language producer-distributor Grupo Televisa, acquired the spec series written by Francesco Papini and Noé Santillán López.

Televisa USA will shop the series to broadcast, cable and digital outlets including Netflix and Amazon.

The deal comes as Televisa USA continues its push into original scripted fare. The banner co-produces ABC Family‘s Chasing Lifeas well as Lifetime‘s Devious Maids.

Mendiola Named President of mun2

Ruben Mendiola is taking the helm at mun2

The Latino business executive has been named president of NBCUniversal’s cable network aimed at a young Latino audience.

Ruben Mendiola

Mun2 is the first cable network for young Latinos with shows and music videos in Spanish and English, including I Love Jenni, Welcome to Los Vargas, Combate Americas and Reventón.

Mendiola will report to Joe Uva, chairman of Hispanic Enterprises and Content at NBCUniversal.

Mun2 had been without its top executive since EVP and general manager Diana Mogollon departed at the end of February.

Mendiola comes from Comcast Cable where he was SVP and general manager of Multicultural Services.

Before that, he served as the general manager of Latino Programming and Spanish Business Development at Dish Network, VP of Programming and Operations at Fox Sports Latin America and programming director for Pay TV at Grupo Televisa.

Mendiola is a graduate of Universidad Iberoamericana A.C. in Mexico City where he earned his degree in Corporate Law.

Azcárraga Jean to Receive NATPE’s Tartikoff Legacy Award

Emilio Azcárraga Jean is being heralded for his impact in the world of television…

The 45-year-old Mexican businessman, the head of Grupo Televisa, has been named one of the recipients of the 11th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award.

Emilio Azcárraga Jean

Other honorees include veteran producer James L. Brooks, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and NBCUniversal exec Lauren Zalaznick.

“We are honored to celebrate this extraordinary group of talented people who have made such remarkable contributions to the world of media,” said NATPE President & CEO Rod Perth in a statement. “We’ve chosen each of them because they’ve raised the bar of achievement, and are some of the absolute best in their fields of our business.”

The Tartikoff Award is intended to recognize television professionals “who exhibit extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision in the process of creating television programming.”

He became the CEO of Grupo Televisa at the age of 29, after the death of his father. He’s widely credited from turning Televisa from a near-bankrupt business into the prosperous company it is today

Azcárraga Jean, ranked as the seventh richest in Mexico with a fortune estimated at $2.3 billion as of March 2011m is also a Board Member of Teléfonos de Mexico, Univision and Banamex.

He’ll receive the award at next year’s NATPE  Television Market and Conference, taking place on January 27-29 at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach.

Saldaña Inks Deal with Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films

Zoë Saldaña could be producing more Latino projects in the near future…

The 35-year-old Puerto Rican/Dominican-American has inked a deal with Lionsgate, the independent film and television distribution company, to develop further content for the Hispanic market.

Zoe Saldana

Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films studio will start producing film and television projects with Saldaña Productions, a company run by Zoe and her sister Cisely, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“We look forward to a fruitful and productive relationship with Pantelion,” the Avatar star said in a statement.

Pantelion Films, the first major Latino-focused Hollywood studio, was launched in 2010 in partnership with Mexico’s Grupo Televisa. Two years later it teamed up with Televisa to create English-language TV content with Latina flair.

Last December, Saldaña’s production company teamed up with producers Jane Startz and Aida Bernal to option Joy Castro’s mystery thriller Hell or High Water.