Kino Lorber Acquires North American Rights to Luis Guzman’s Indie Drama “Story Ave”

Luis Guzman’s story is headed to U.S. theaters…

Kino Lorber has acquired the North American rights to the indie drama Story Ave, starring the 66-year-old Puerto Rican actor and Asante Blackk.

Luis GuzmánKino Lorber is slating the film for release in theaters in October, with an on digital and home video debut to follow.

Marking the feature debut of well-known music video director Aristotle Torres, the film tells the story of Kadir (Blackk), a South Bronx teen and gifted visual artist who loses his way following the death of his younger brother. Overcome with grief and struggling with school and family, he escapes into the creative yet dangerous world of graffiti gangs. To prove himself and join his neighborhood’s ruling gang, Kadir attempts to rob MTA conductor Luis (Guzmán) on the Story Ave subway platform, only to be caught off guard when Luis agrees to give Kadir the cash if he’ll sit down to a meal with him. Following their conversation and the delicate friendship that grows out of it, Kadir sees for the first time how his artistic talent could lead to a better life.

A FirstGen Content and Foxxhole Entertainment Production, in association with Mero Mero Production, The Space Program and Dark Rabbit ProductionsStory Ave won a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at SXSW upon its world premiere at the Austin, TX festival. Torres and Bonsu Thompson wrote the film also starring Melvin Gregg (Snowfall), Alex R. Hibbert (Moonlight) and Coral Peña (For All Mankind).

Said Kino Lorber’s SVP of Theatrical Distribution and Acquisitions, Wendy Lidell, “Story Ave is a New York story unlike any we’ve seen before. Aristotle Torres shines an authentic light on the South Bronx, its beauty never eclipsed by its hardships, and offers audiences the true gift of a complex and worthy role for the immensely talented Luis Guzmán.”

Added Torres in his statement, “I am incredibly honored that my first film has been acquired by Kino Lorber. This partnership with such a renowned distributor is a dream come true, and I am grateful for their recognition of my work.”

Continued the filmmaker, “The team and I invested our hearts and souls into this project, and I am thrilled to see it find a home with such a prestigious brand. I am excited to collaborate with Kino Lorber to bring my film to audiences on a wider scale and share the unique vision we’ve created. This is just the beginning of an exciting journey, and I can’t wait to continue creating meaningful stories that resonate with audiences everywhere.”

First U.S. Trailer Released for Fernanda Valadez’s Spanish-Language Drama “Identifying Features”

Here’s your first look at Fernanda Valadez’s latest film…

Kino Lorber has released the U.S. trailer for the Mexican filmmaker’s latest project, the Spanish-language drama Identifying Features.

Fernanda Valadez

The film was well-received the Sundance Film festival.

It centers on a mother (Mercedes Hernandez) who travels across Mexico in search of her son who authorities say died while trying to cross the boarder into the U.S.

Valadez’s film picked up two prizes at Sundance and will open in theaters and virtual cinemas in January 2021 after its New York premiere as an official selection at New Directors/New Films festival.

The film was recently nominated for a Gotham Award for Best International Feature, and previously played festivals including San Sebastian, Zurich, Morelia, and Thessaloniki.

At Sundance, the film won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award and the same category’s Best Screenplay prize. Avanti Pictures and Corpulenta Producciones produce.

Sol y Luna Acquires Rights to Lucha Libre Documentary “Lucha Mexico,” feat. Shocker

José Luis Jair Sori is ready for a batalla in north of the border…

Sol y Luna, the new Spanish-language label of Kino Lorber, has acquired the North American rights to Lucha Mexico, a documentary about the world of lucha libre wrestling featuring the 44-year-old Mexican professional wrestler, who wrestles under the name Shocker.

Shocker (aka 1000% Guapo)

Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz’s film will get a day-and-date release on July 15.

Shot during the course of four years, the film focuses on acrobatic and usually masked luchadores including Shocker (aka 1000% Guapo), Jon “Strongman” Andersen, Blue Demon Jr., Fabian El Gitano and El Hijo del Perro Aguayo.

Kino Lorber Acquires North American Rights to Mascaro’s “Neon Bull”

Gabriel Mascaro’s latest project is headed north…

Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to Neon Bull, The 31-year-old writer-director’s film that won a Special Jury Prize this month at the Venice Film Festival and played the Platform section at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Gabriel Mascaro

Mascaro’s second film centers on a son of a motley, makeshift traveling rodeo family in the northeast of Brazil who dreams of becoming a fashion designer along their journey through one of the country’s most culturally rich and yet, economically forsaken areas.

Juliano Cazarré plays the young man, and Carlos Pessoa and Maeve Jinkings co-star.

The foreign-film distribution specialist is a theatrical run in the first half of 2016, with a VOD and home media release toward the end of next year after more festival runs.

Neon Bull is a stunning work by an up-and-coming filmmaker we’ve been tracking for a while now,” Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber said. “We believe Gabriel Mascaro has not only made a film that will continue to impress critics worldwide, but will also become an audience favorite in the upcoming months, as we take it to cinema screens all over North America. This is just terrific filmmaking that demands to be seen on the big screen, and that’s exactly our plan for the film.”

Kino Lorber Acquires North American Distribution Rights to Ruiz Palacios’ “Güeros”

Alonso Ruiz Palacios’ latest project is headed north of the border…

Kino Lorber has picked up North American distribution rights to the Mexican filmmaker’s Güeros.

Alonso Ruiz Palacios

The comedy, set in 1999, centers on three teens who, during a student strike, kill time searching for folk-rocker Epigmenio Cruz on the streets of Mexico City.

Written, directed and produced by Ruiz Palacios, the black-and-white feature took the best first film award at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival.

Gueros also won three awards at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival including Best New Narrative Director.

More recently Gueros garnered a dozen Ariel Award nominations.

Ruiz Palacios’ 2010 short El último canto del pájaro cú  won an Ariel for Best Short Fiction Film.

Kino Lorber will debut the movie at New York’s Film Forum on May 20, with additional key markets and digital platforms to follow.

Parra Biopic “Violeta Went To Heaven” to Be Released in the US

The story of Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval—the woman who ushered in la Nueva Canción chilena, a renewal and a reinvention of Chilean folk-inspired music and socially committed music—will soon be making its way to the big screen in the United States.

Kino Lorber has acquired all North American rights to Violeta Went To Heaven, Andrés Wood’s biopic of the Chilean composer, songwriter, folklorist, ethnomusicologist and visual artist, who died in 1967 at the age of 49.

Violeta Parra

Winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Wood’s film was recently screened in New York City, as part of the Latinbeat series organized by The Film Society of Lincoln Center and programmed by Richard Peña and Marcela Goglio.

The film, which was awarded the World Cinema Jury Prize (Dramatic) at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a portrait of famed Chilean singer and folklorist Violeta Parra filled with her musical work, her memories, her loves and her hopes.

The film’s cast: Francisca Gavilán, Thomas Durand, Luis Machín, Gabriela Aguilera and Roberto Farías.

Kino Lorber plans release the film nationally in November or December of this year, then offer Violeta Went To Heaven via video on demand.