Dascha Polanco to Star in the Superhero Thriller “Samaritan”

Dascha Polanco is a good Samaritan…

The 37-year-old Dominican actress is set to star in MGM’s superhero thriller movie Samaritan

Dascha Polanco

Polanco joins a cast that includes Javon ‘Wanna’ WaltonSylvester StalloneMartin StarrPilou Asbækand Moises Arias.

Walton will play a young boy who’s out to discover if a mythic superhero, who vanished 20 years earlier following a tragic event, is still alive.

Julius Avery is directing from a screenplay by Bragi F. Schut, with additional writing by Mark L. SmithZak Penn, and Chuck MacLean

The story is based on Schut’s original idea. 

The film is scheduled for release on December 11 via United Artists Releasingwith Universal handling foreign. 

Polanco portrayed Dayanara Diaz on Netflix’s Orange is the New Blackfor seven-seasons and starred in Ava DuVernay’s 2019 Netflix limited series When They See Us. She’ll soon be seen in her first lead film role in Adrian Martinez’s indie dark comedy iCreep, and Warner Brothers’ adaption of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heightsthis summer. Her additional credits include the FXanthology series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storyand films including JoyThe Perfect MatchThe Cobblerand Gimme Shelter

Arias first made a name for himself as series regular on the Disney Channel hit original series Hannah Montana, and has since gone on to appear in several Sundance films including Kings of Summer, The Land and Stanford Prison Experiment. Last year, he appeared in CBS Films’ Five Feet Apart as well as the Sundance World Dramatic Competition Special Jury Award winner Monos and the SXSW opening weekend film The Wall of Mexico

David Charles Rodrigues’ “Gay Chorus Deep South” Doc Wins Audience Award at Palm Springs Film Fest

David Charles Rodriguesis the audience’s choice…

The part-Brazilian filmmaker and equal rights activist’s latest film has picked up an audience award at this year’s Palm Springs Film Festival.

David Charles Rodrigues

Rodrigues’ Gay Chorus Deep Southtook home the Audience Award for Best Documentary.

The film centers on the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, who embarks on a tour of the American Deep Southin response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws and the divisive 2016 election.

Peruvian filmmaker Melina León took home the New Voices / New Visions Award for her film Song Without A Name.

Colombian-Ecuadorian filmmaker Alejandro Landes took home the Ibero-American Award for his acclaimed film Monos.

Mexican filmmaker David Zonanaearned a special mention for his latest project, Workforce.

This year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival ran from January 2-13, screening 192 films from 81 countries. 

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan)
Director Pawo Choyning Dorji

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Gay Chorus Deep South (USA)
Director David Charles Rodrigues

FIPRESCI Prize for Best International Feature Film of the Year
Beanpole (Russia)
Director Kantemir Balagov

FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor in an International Feature Film
Bartosz Bielenia Corpus Christi (Poland)

FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress in an International Feature Film
Helena Zengel System Crasher (Germany)

FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay
Parasite (South Korea)
Screenwriters Bong Joon-Ho and Han Jin-Won

Special Mention: Antigone (Canada), Screenwriter Sophie Deraspe

New Voices/New Visions Award
Song Without A Name (Peru/Spain/USA/Chile)
Director Melina León

The Documentary Award
Talking About Trees (France/Sudan/Germany/Chad/Qatar)
Director Suhaib Gasmelbari

Ibero-American Award
Monos (Colombia)
Director Alejandro Landes

Special Mention: Workforce (Mexico)
Director David Zonana

Local Jury Award
Adam (Morocco)
Director Maryam Touzani

Young Cineastes Award
Corpus Christi(Poland)
Director Jan Komasa

GoEnergistics (GoE) Bridging the Borders Award
Advocate (Israel/Canada/Switzerland)
Director Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaiche

Special Mention: The Australian Dream (Australia), Director Daniel Gordon

Pedro Almodovar Earns Four London Critics’ Circle Film Awards Nominations

Pedro Almodovar is feelin’ the love from Londontown…

Nominations for the 40th edition of the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards have been announced, with the 70-year-old Spanish filmmaker earning four nods.

Pedro Almodovar

Almodovar is nominated in the Film of the Year and Foreign Language Film of the Year categories for his latest project, Pain and Glory.

He’s also up for Director of the Year and Screenwriter of the Year for his work on his critically acclaimed film.

Antonio Banderas has picked up more acting recognition…

The 59-year-old Spanish actor, who earned Golden Globe nod recently, is nominated in the Actor of the Year category for starring in Almodovar’s Pain and Glory.

Jennifer Lopez is also in the running…

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican singer, who earned her first-ever SAG Awardsnod recently, is nominated in the Supporting Actress of the Year category for her stellar performance in Hustlers.

Alejandro Landes’ acclaimed film Monos has earned the 39-year-old Colombian-Ecuadorian film director a nod in the Foreign Language Film of the Year category.

Winners will be announced on January 30. 

Full list of nominations:

The Irishman
Knives Out
Marriage Story
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
The Souvenir

Happy as Lazzaro
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Amazing Grace
Apollo 11
The Cave
For Sama
Varda by Agnès

Pedro Almodóvar – Pain and Glory
Bong Joon Ho – Parasite
Sam Mendes – 1917
Céline Sciamma – Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

Pedro Almodóvar – Pain and Glory
Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Bong Joon Ho & Han Jin Wan – Parasite
Joanna Hogg – The Souvenir
Steven Zaillian – The Irishman

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
Florence Pugh – Midsommar
Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Renée Zellweger – Judy

Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory
Tom Burke – The Souvenir
Robert De Niro – The Irishman
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
Florence Pugh – Little Women
Margot Robbie – Bombshell
Tilda Swinton – The Souvenir

Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Shia LaBeouf – Honey Boy
Al Pacino – The Irishman
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

The Souvenir
Wild Rose

BRITISH/IRISH ACTRESS (for body of work)
Jessie Buckley – Wild Rose/Judy
Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
Lesley Manville – Ordinary Love/Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Florence Pugh – Fighting With My Family/Midsommar/Little Women
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

BRITISH/IRISH ACTOR (for body of work)
Tom Burke – The Souvenir
Taron Egerton – Rocketman
George MacKay – 1917/Where Hands Touch/Ophelia
Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse/High Life/The King
Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes

Raffey Cassidy – Vox Lux
Dean-Charles Chapman – 1917/The King/Blinded by the Light
Roman Griffin Davis – Jojo Rabbit
Noah Jupe – Honey Boy/Le Mans ’66
Honor Swinton Byrne – The Souvenir

Waad Al-Khateab & Edward Watts – For Sama
Richard Billingham – Ray & Liz
Mark Jenkin – Bait
Owen McCafferty – Ordinary Love
Nicole Taylor – Wild Rose

Beyond the North Winds: A Post-Nuclear Reverie
The Devil’s Harmony
Kingdom Come

Ad Astra – Allen Maris, visual effects
Apollo 11 – Todd Douglas Miller, film editing
Judy – Jeremy Woodhead, makeup and hair
Little Women – Jacqueline Durran, costumes
Motherless Brooklyn – Daniel Pemberton, music
Monos – Jasper Wolf, cinematography
1917 – Oliver Tarney, sound design
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood – Barbara Ling, production design
Parasite – Lee Ha Jun, production design
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon – Will Becher & Richard Phelan, animation

Sally Potter

Sandy Powell


Jayro Bustamante’s “La Llorona” Among Films In Competion at the BFI London Film Festival

Jayro Bustamante is ready to compete..

Jayro Bustamante

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival has unveiled the 10 films set to enter the Official Competition at the fest, with the 42-year-old Guatemalan film director and screenwriter’s La Llorona making the list.

La Llorona

Bustamante’s La Llorona, his third feature film, is hailed as a tale of horror and fantasy, ripe with suspense, and an urgent metaphor of recent Guatemalan history and the country’s unhealed political wounds.

The film stars María Mercedes CoroySabrina De La Hoz and Margarita Kenéfic.

In addition to La Llorona, the films in competition are Thomas Clay’s Fanny Lye Deliver’d, Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy, Isabel Sandoval’s Lingua FrancaOliver Hermanus’ Moffie, Alejandro Landes’ MonosMałgorzata Szumowska’s The Other LambHaifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect CandidateChristine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s Rose Plays Julie and Rose Glass’ Saint Maud.

The Best Film winner will be chosen by the Official Competition Jury, the members of which will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director said, “Our Official Competition showcases the best in global filmmaking. These filmmakers each have unique and distinctive voices and their films by turns reveal truths about human existence; explore stories we haven’t seen before or examine familiar ones in new ways; address pressing social and political issues, and make audiences feel and think. It’s striking that so many of the filmmakers here are telling strongly political stories, but never dogmatically so. We have selected 11 directors in these ten films who invite viewers to probe and ponder, to be changed – either subconsciously or wildly and irrevocably – by their work.”

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival takes place from Wednesday October 2 to Sunday October 13 2019. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday August 29.

Full List:

FANNY LYE DELIVER’D (United Kingdom-Germany, dir-scr. Thomas Clay)
Maxine Peake delivers a powerhouse performance as the titular character in Thomas Clay’s intoxicating period drama Fanny Lye Deliver’d, a woman living a humble existence with her puritanical husband John (Charles Dance) and young son Arthur on an isolated Shropshire farm in the 17th Century. The daily routines of this God-fearing family are abruptly interrupted when they discover two strangers hiding in their barn, pleading for help. When the family agrees to take them in, it is not long before their progressive ways begin to cause tensions.

HONEY BOY (USA, dir. Alma Har’el)
Alma Har’el collaborates with gifted writer and performer Shia LaBeouf to impressive effect for her first dramatic feature Honey Boy, an artful and soul-baring examination of the lingering effects of emotional abuse. Lucas Hedges plays Otis, an alcoholic with a penchant for fiercely self-destructive behaviour who makes a living starring in action films. When an accident forces him into rehab, he begins to examine his troubled past with his unstable and often emotionally abusive father (LaBeouf, playing a version of his own real-life father).

LA LLORONA (Guatemala-France, dir. Jayro Bustamante)
Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante’s taut genre-bending thriller, La Llorona, sees elderly general Enrique Monteverde tried for a genocide he oversaw three decades earlier, who finds himself haunted by a spectre of his past; La Llorona, the spirit of a woman who has returned to seek justice for the dead. Guatemala’s lengthy Civil War and the mass murder of Mayan civilians provide a powerful historical framework for Bustamante’s third feature. This is a film about secrets and lies, rendered through a breathtaking visual language that melds horror, fantasy and courtroom drama to disarming effect.

LINGUA FRANCA (USA, dir-scr. Isabel Sandoval)
In Lingua Franca, Olivia is a Filipino transwoman and undocumented immigrant in Brooklyn, surreptitiously working as a caregiver for Olga, an elderly Russian woman in the early stages of dementia. She spends her time documenting a staged relationship with the man who has agreed to marry her so she can obtain legal status in the US. One day Olivia meets Olga’s grandson Alex, a despondent slaughterhouse worker battling his own inner demons and the pair develop a strong connection. A beautifully performed character study and an incisive critique on race and immigration in modern America, writer/director Isabel Sandoval (who also takes on the role of Olivia) has crafted a deeply moving work of great intimacy and insight.

MOFFIE (South Africa-United Kingdom, dir. Oliver Hermanus)
Oliver Hermanus follows The Endless River (LFF 2015) with Moffi, a haunting examination of the violent persecution of gay men under Apartheid.  Nicholas (Kai Luke Brummer) has long known he is different, that there is something in him that must stay hidden, denied even. But in South Africa in 1981, all white young men over 16 must serve two years of compulsory military service to defend the Apartheid regime and its culture of toxic racist machismo. When fear pushes Nicholas to accept unspeakable horrors in the hopes of staying invisible, a tender relationship with another recruit becomes as dangerous for them both as any enemy fire.

MONOS (Colombia-Argentina-Netherlands-Germany-Sweden-Uruguay-USA, dir. Alejandro Landes)
Alejandro Landes delivers one of the most talked-about films of the year in Monos: a hallucinogenic, intoxicating thriller about child soldiers that has inspired feverish buzz and earned comparisons to Apocalypse Now and Lord of the Flies. High in the mountains of South America, above the billowing clouds but with gunshots heard in the distance, a motley group of child and teenage soldiers train and wait for instruction while in the presence of their American hostage, the Doctora. Despite wearing its influences on its sleeve, the film is a wildly original vision from Landes and screenwriter Alexis dos Santos; the camera prowling over mud and organic decay, cutting swathes through the jungle, all to the strains of Mica Levi’s visceral score.

THE OTHER LAMB (Ireland-Belgium-USA, dir. Małgorzata Szumowska)
Małgorzata Szumowska’s (Berlin Jury Prize-winner Mug and LFF 2015’s Body) English-language debut The Other Lamb is a beguiling, genre-tinged examination of life in an otherworldly cult. Selah was born into The Flock, a community of women and girls ruled over by Shepherd, the only male, and a seemingly benevolent but undisputed leader of the strictly regimented and isolated woodland settlement. Selah appears the most perfect of the faithful flock, until unsettling revelations see her devotion shaken. Szumowska offers an eerie ethereal vision that compellingly recalls a range of references, from David Koresh’s Waco, Texas cult to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian science fiction.

THE PERFECT CANDIDATE (Germany-Saudi Arabia, dir. Haifaa Al Mansour)
Celebrated Saudi director Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate is an inspiring drama about Maryam, a highly competent young doctor whose road is paved with compromises and complications – quite literally in the case of a flooded path leading to her clinic, the dangers of which are not taken seriously by local officials. When her attempt to drive to a medical conference is stymied by not having the right papers, she finds her only solution is to sign up to be an electoral candidate, allowing her easy access through road blocks. However, when the responsibility of local politics dawns on her, she ropes in her sisters to challenge Saudi Arabia’s strict social codes and what is expected of a young woman in the country.

ROSE PLAYS JULIE (Ireland-United Kingdom, dir-scr. Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor)
Rose Plays Julie is a frank, immersive and gripping feminist drama from Irish directing duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, also known as Desperate Optimists. During a term studying animal euthanasia, veterinary student Rose (Ann Skelly) decides to contact Julie (Orla Brady), the birth mother who gave her up for adoption. But Julie, who is now a successful London-based actress, doesn’t want to know. Undeterred, Rose will not be ignored and curiosity leads her to discoveries that shake the fragile identity she has built for herself. Molloy and Lawlor build a sense of dread inside an exquisite world of immaculate architecture, rendered through an icy performance style and enveloped by a claustrophobic soundtrack.

SAINT MAUD (United Kingdom, dir-scr. Rose Glass)
A mysterious nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient in director Rose Glass’ divine debut feature, Saint Maud. Having recently found God, self-effacing young nurse Maud, arrives at a plush home to care for Amanda, a hedonistic dancer left frail from a chronic illness. When a chance encounter with a former colleague throws up hints of a dark past, it becomes clear there is more to sweet Maud than meets the eye. Glass’s gothic-tinged psychological drama is by turns insidiously creepy, darkly humorous and heartbreakingly sad; with Jennifer Ehle’s beautifully nuanced performance proving the perfect complement to Morfydd Clark’s star-making turn as the unsaintly Maud.

Colombia Selects Alejandro Landes’ “Monos” as Its Pick for the Oscar’s International Feature Film Race

Alejandro Landes is representing Colombia…

The 39-year-old Brazil-born Colombian-Ecuadorian film director’s latest project, the Spanish-language survival thriller Monos, has been selected as Colombia’s selection for the International Feature Film race at the 92nd Academy Awards.

Alejandro Landes

The film centers on a young group of soldiers and rebels training on a remote mountain in Latin America with an American hostage (Julianne Nicholson).

Moisés AriasSofia BuenaventuraDeiby RuedaKaren Quintero and Laura Castrillón star in the film, which Landes co-wrote with Alexis Dos Santos.


The film won a World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Awardat this year’s Sundance Film Festivalin Park City, Utah. 

The news comes as Neon and co-distributor Participant Media prepare to release the film theatrically in the U.S. on September 13.

Colombia has only seen one film nominated in what was formerly known as the Best Foreign Language Film category. That was Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent in 2015, the year Hungary’s Son of Saulwon the Oscar.