Chavarria to Star in the Naval Action Thriller “Hunter Killer”

Gabriel Chavarria is in the Navy

The 27-year-old Honduran American actor has joined Millennium Films’ naval action thriller Hunter Killer.

Gabriel Chavarria

Chavarria will star in a key role, joining Gerard Butler, Common and Gary Oldman in the story of an American submarine commander deployed to Russian waters in order to save the elected Russian president from a military coup.

Chavarria will portray a Navy SEAL aboard the American submarine.

Chavarria recently wrapped filming on 20th Century Fox’s War for the Planet of the Apes in which he plays one of the two human leads alongside Woody Harrelson, set for release July 14, 2017.

His credits include the Los Angeles Film Festival pic Lowriders, from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions, and his Hulu series East Los High that premieres its fourth season July 15.

Donovan Marsh is directing Hunter Killer from a script by Peter Craig and Jamie Moss based on the George Wallace and Don Keith novel Firing Point

Hunter Killer is set to begin filming in London on July 25.

Cuarón’s “Desierto” Selected as the LA Film Fest’s Closing Night Film

Jonás Cuarón’s award-winning film is headed to Los Angeles…

The Mexican filmmaker’s thriller Desierto will be the closing night film of the Los Angeles Film Festival on June. 9.

Jonás Cuarón

Cuarón co-wrote and directed the film which centers on Mexican migrant workers looking to seek a better life by crossing the US border. Their journey quickly becomes a fight for survival, when the unarmed men and women are chased across the desert terrain by a merciless rifle-toting vigilante.

Desierto stars Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hidalgo and Diego Cataño.

It was previously shown at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for Special Presentations.

The LA Film Fest runs from June 1 through June 9.

Longoria’s “Lowriders” to Open This Year’s Los Angeles Film Festival

This year’s Los Angeles Film Festival will be a low point for Eva Longoria

Ricardo de Montreuil’s Lowriders, starring the 41-year-old Mexican American actress and former Desperate Housewives star, will open the 2016 LA Film Festival, which will take place June 1-9 at ArcLight Cinemas. It will serve as the world premiere of the film.

Eva Longoria in Lowriders

Set against the backdrop of East LA’s car culture, the film centers on Danny (Gabriel Chavarria), a talented young street artist caught between the lowrider world inhabited by his old-school father and ex-con brother, and the adrenaline-fueled outlet that defines his self-expression.

Along with Longoria and Chavarria, the film also stars Demián Bichir, Melissa Benoist, Theo Rossi and Tony Revolori.

“We are thrilled to open with Lowriders, a culturally vibrant film that explores familial relationships within a second-generation Mexican family in East LA. Made by filmmakers of color, Lowriders embodies our mission of shining the light on unique voices,” said festival director Stephanie Allain.

Festival passes are on sale to members of organizer Film Independent starting today, and will be available to the general public on April 12.

The full lineup will be announced on April 26.

Abramovich’s Documentary “The Queen” Wins Big at the Los Angeles Film Festival

Manuel Abramovich’s documentary film is a royal winner at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

The Argentinean filmmaker’s The Queen has picked up the award for Best Documentray Short Film at the festival.

The Queen

The documentary film centers on Memi, an 11-year-old Argentinean beauty pageant competitor as she prepares to be Queen of the Carnival, a dazzling honor accompanied by costumes, sequins and a magnificent headdress.

“The crown is huge, weighs four kilos, studded with rhinestones and amethysts,” Memi’s mother proudly explains in the film.

While the mother and her girlfriends are lost in the excitement, Memi’s head is reeling from the tension. The camera watches the young girl in close-up. She is stoic – regal, even – as she suffers the attentions of the adults who are always offscreen.

Abramovich’s award comed with a $5,000 prize from the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)Man From Reno, directed by Dave Boyle

Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)Stray Dog, directed by Debra Granik

LA Muse AwardLos Ángeles, directed by Damian John Harper

Best Performance in the Narrative Competition
The Ensemble Cast of Recommended by Enrique, directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel García

Audience Award for Best Narrative FeatureThe Young Kieslowski, directed by Kerem Sanga

Audience Award for Best Documentary FeatureMeet the Patels, directed by Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel

Audience Award for Best International FeatureSomeone You Love, directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen
Country: Denmark

Award for Best Narrative Short FilmThe Runaway, directed by Jean-Bernard Marlin. France.

Award for Best Documentary Short FilmThe Queen, directed by Manuel Abramovich. Argentina.

Award for Best Animated/Experimental Short FilmButter Lamp, directed by Hu Wei. China/France.

Audience Award for Best Short FilmThe Gunfighter, directed by Eric Kissack

Audience Award for Best Music Video
“Turn Down For What”, Lil Jon and DJ Snake; directed by Daniels
Music: Lil Jon & DJ Snake

Almodóvar’s “I’m So Excited” to Premiere in Mexico at ES.CINE Festival

Pedro Almodóvar’s new film project will be flying high into Mexico…

I’m So Excited, the latest film from the 63-year-old Spanish director, will be screened at Mexico’s ES.CINE, according to organizers of the festival, which celebrates Spanish and Ibero-American films.

I'm So Excited Poster

I’m So Excited, known as Los amantes pasajeros in Spanish, debuted in Spain three months ago.

It will have its Mexican premiere at the July 5-11 festival, which will feature a total of 13 films from Spain and Latin America.

ES.CINE will also pay homage to Spanish filmmaker Jose Juan Bigas Luna, who died in April at the age of 67, with screenings of four of his most important movies: Las edades de Lulu, Jamon, jamon, Huevos de oro and La teta y la luna.

Bigas Luna helped launched the careers of future international stars like Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Ariadna Gil and Jordi Molla.

Es.Cine plans to reconvene in October to present the Luis Buñuel awards, created to recognize iconic figures in Ibero-American cinema.

I’m So Excited had its U.S. premiere in LA earlier this month at the Los Angeles Film Festival. It opened in New York and LA this weekend.

Almodóvar’s “I’m So Excited” to Premiere in North America at the Los Angeles Film Festival

Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film will be taking flight in Los Angeles this June…

The 63-year-old Spanish filmmaker’s “light, very light comedy” I’m So Excited, which will open in New York and LA in late June, will have it’s North American premiere on opening night of the 19th annual Los Angeles Film Festival on June 13.

Pedro Almodovar

The film’s debut will come nearly two weeks before the Spanish-language comedy’s U.S. platform release on June 28 via Sony Pictures Classics.

I’m So Excited opened in Spain on March 8 and is currently opening throughout Europe.

I'm So Excited Poster

Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas are among the ensemble cast of the comedy, which is set on an airplane flight where nothing seems to be going right.

The film festival, produced by Film Independent, teamed with Sony Pictures Classics last year to premiere the Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man.

The LAFF will run through June 23 and spotlight more than 200 feature films, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 30 countries.

Velasco Selected for Film Independent’s Directing Lab

The future looks bright for Aldo Velasco

The Mexican filmmaker and playwright has been selected by Film Independent as one of the participants for  its 12th annual Directing Lab.

Aldo Velasco

The annual program is designed to assist promising directors develop new narrative feature films, improve their craft and advance their filmmaking careers in a nurturing yet challenging environment. The selected filmmakers are provided digital camera and sound packages and a cash stipend to shoot scenes, as well as access to a variety of production resources.

Velasco, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, has seen his short films screened at the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and Los Angeles Film Festival, among others. In 2009, he received a grant from ITVS (Independent Television Service) to write and direct the short film Tent City for the first season of the online Futurestates series. Aldo is also an editor of feature films. Recently, he edited Chittagong the epic Indian historical drama directed by Bedabrata Pain. He also edited Grace Leeʼs political mock documentary Janeane From Des Moines, which recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.

Velasco will work on his project, God Love Stu, true story of Stu Rasmussen, who convinced his conservative hometown in Oregon to elect him as the first transgender mayor in history.

But Velasco isn’t the only Latino selected to the Film Independent’s Directing Lab.

Brazilian-American filmmaker Alex Moratto will take part in the lab. He’s a graduate of the UNC School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking where he was a Kenan Scholar and studied film directing under Peter Bogdanovich. His thesis film The Other Side won the 2010 Jury Award from the Directors Guild of America for Latino filmmaker. Moratto attended Werner Herzogʼs 2010 Rogue Film School Seminar and was the recipient of the 2012 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship for Screenwriting.

Moratto’s project is the Untitled Amazon Project. When armed loggers threaten to evict their family from their rural home in the Amazon, two brothers smuggle rare lumber in hopes of selling it on the black market for money to save their land.

The lab, which began this week, runs through mid-April.

Cruz Dazzles at “To Rome with Love” Premiere…

Following their Oscar-luring partnership in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Penelope Cruz and Woody Allen are back with the director’s latest Europe-based drama To Rome with Love.

The 37-year-old Spanish actress and Allen appeared at the film’s premiere on Friday night at Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica.

Penelope Cruz

Much like she did at this year’s Oscars, Cruz stole the spotlight in her glamorous floor-length lace Dolce & Gabbana dress, which she paired with a Roger Vivier miniaudiere and Chopard jewelry.

Allen’s To Rome with Love unfolds in four vignettes. It’s a story about a number of people in Italy, some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors, and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into. Cruz plays a prostitute named Anna in the film.

Following its Rome premiere, the dramedy will have its first North American screening at the 18th annual Los Angeles Film Festival on Thursday, June 14.

To Rome with Love will open nationwide on June 22.