Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers” to Have Red-Carpet Premiere at This Year’s AFI Fest

Pedro Almodóvar is bringing his Mother(s) to this year’s AFI Fest.

After opening the Venice Film Festival and continuing on to the New York Film Festival, the 72-year-old Oscar-winning director’s latest film Parallel Mothers will have a red-carpet premiere at this year’s AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Saturday, November 13.

Pedro Almodovar

In the movie, two women, Janis and Ana, played by Penelope Cruz and Milena Smit, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and became pregnant by accident. Janis, middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two, which by chance develops and complicates, and changes their lives in a decisive way.

Penelope Cruz, Pedro Almodovar, Madres Paralelas

Cruz won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at Venice. Parallel Mothers to date is 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In total, AFI Fest counts 115 titles (48 Features, 1 Episodic, 49 Short Films and 17 Conservatory Showcase Shorts) of which 51% are directed by women, 40% directed by BIPOC filmmakers and 13% are directed by LGBTQIA+ filmmakers. This year’s program represents 50 countries and includes six World Premieres. The festival runs from November 10-14.

“We are excited to celebrate AFI Fest 2021 in person at the historic TCL Chinese theater and showcase both master filmmakers and emerging voices,” said Sarah Harris, Director of Programming, AFI Festivals. “In a time when we need movies more than ever, we look forward to audiences being inspired by the best films from around the world screening at this year’s AFI Fest.”

Returning filmmakers to AFI Fest are Hany Abu-Assad (Huda’s Salon), Andrea Arnold (Cow), Jacques Audiard (Paris, 13th District), Sean Baker (Red Rocket), Michel Franco (Sundown), Miguel Gomes (The Sugua Diaries), Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Lingui, The Sacret Bonds), Céline Sciamma (Petite Maman), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Memoria), and Zhang Yimou (One Second).

Pedro Almodovar’s “Parallel Mothers” Added to Spotlight Section at This Year’s Hamptons Film Festival

Pedro Almodovar is headed to the Hamptons…

The Hamptons Film Festival has finalized its 2021 slate, with the 71-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning director’s latest film making the list.

Penelope Cruz, Pedro Almodovar, Madres Paralelas

Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers, starring Penelope Cruz, has been added to the festival’s Spotlight section, alongside Cyrano, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog, joining C’mon C’mon and Jockey.

Parallel Mothers received a 5-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival as the fest’s opening night film. It earned Cruz the Volpi Cup for Best Actress during the festival’s closing ceremony.

Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, starring Tony Revolori, will be the closing-night film on October 13, while Pablo Larraín’s Spencer will be the Centerpiece Film in its East Coast premiere.

The festival is opening on October 7 with the world premiere of Matthew Heineman’s COVID-19 documentary The First Wave. The 29th edition of the fest will feature a lineup of films that are 53% female-directed and rep 34 countries.

The festival will run as a hybrid in-person/virtual event. Find more info here.

Penelope Cruz Wins Best Actress Prize at Venice Film Festival

Penelope Cruz’s latest performance is already earning her some hardware…

The 47-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress was awarded the Volpi Cup Best Actress prize at the Venice Film Festival.

Penelope Cruz

Cruz, in an upset for Spencer star Kristen Stewart, won the award for the performance in Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers.

In her acceptance, she said the honor was 100% his, saying, “thank you once again for your trust in me, for inspiring me every day with your search for truth inside and outside the set… you have created magic again.”

Cruz further dedicated the win to her husband Javier Bardem and their children as well as to Bardem’s recently deceased mother. Pilar Bardem “did so much for actors and actresses in our country and her love and passion for this wonderful profession was huge,” said Cruz, adding, “At the end of our last conversation she told me, ‘I love you.’ She was very fragile and I thought those were her last words to me, but then very quiet and very soft and with a smile on her face she said to me two more words ‘Coppa Volpi’… This is for all the mothers.”

Parallell Mothers centers on two single women, who meet in a hospital room where they are both going to give birth. One is middle aged and doesn’t regret it, while the other is adolescent and scared. The two women form a strong bond with one another as they both confront motherhood.

Chilean filmmakers Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña won the Best Short Film prize.

They took home the award for their film Los Huesos, a fictitious take on the world’s first animated film, which uses a three-person melodrama as a metaphor for Chile’s turbulent socio-political regime. Dated in 1901 and excavated in 2021 as Chile drafts a new constitution, the “found” footage shows a young girl performing a ritual with human body parts. The corpses are revealed as the bodies of Diego Portales and Jaime Guzmán, central figures in the construction of authoritarian and oligarchic Chile.

French-Lebanese filmmaker Audrey Diwan won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion, for her 1963-set abortion drama L’Evénement (Happening).

Here’s the list of the award winners:

VENICE 78

Golden Lion
L’Evénement, dir: Audrey Diwan

Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize
The Hand Of God, dir: Paolo Sorrentino

Silver Lion, Best Director
Jane Campion, The Power Of The Dog

Volpi Cup Best Actress
Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Volpi Cup Best Actor
John Arcilla, On The Job: The Missing 8

Best Screenplay
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter

Special Jury Prize
Il Buco, dir: Michelangelo Frammartino

Marcello Mastroianni Award for for Best New Young Actor or Actress
Filippo Scotti, The Hand Of God

HORIZONS

Best Film
Pilgrims, dir: Laurynas Bareisa

Best Director
Eric Gravel, A Plein Temps

Special Jury Prize
El Gran Movimiento, dir: Kiro Russo

Best Actress
Laure Calamy, A Plein Temps

Best Actor
Piseth Chhun, White Building

Best Screenplay
Ivan Ostrochovský, Peter Kerekes: 107 Mothers

Best Short Film
Los Huesos, dirs: Cristóbal León, Joaquín Cociña

Lion of the Future – Luigi De Laurentiis Award For A Debut Film
Imaculat, dirs: Monica Stan, George Chiper Lillemark

VENICE VR EXPANDED

Grand Jury Prize for Best VR
Goliath: Playing With Reality, dirs: Barry Gene Murphy, May Abdalla

Best VR Experience
Le Bal De Paris De Blanca Li, dir: Blanca Li

Best VR Story
End of Night, dir: David Adler

HORIZONS EXTRA

Audience Award
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic, dir: Teemu Nikki

Penelope Cruz’s “Official Competition” Acquired for UK Distribution by Protagonist Pictures

Penelope Cruz’s latest project is headed to theaters in United Kingdom…

The 47-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress’ Spanish-language comedy Official Competition, co-starring Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez, has been acquired for UK distribution by Protagonist Pictures.

Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Official Competition

The announcement came ahead of the film’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

In Official Competition, Oscar winner Cruz plays renowned filmmaker Lola Cuevas, who is recruited by a billionaire entrepreneur who impulsively decides to create an iconic movie. Banderas stars as Hollywood heartthrob Félix Rivero, and joining them is Argentinian actor Oscar Martínez (The Distinguished Citizen), who plays radical theatre actor Iván Torres.

The Spanish-language comedy, directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat from a script they wrote with Andrés Duprat, will also screen in the Special Presentations section of the Toronto International Film Festival and will open this year’s Perlak Section at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Produced by The Mediapro Studio, the film has already sold to a string of international indie buyers.

“We are incredibly excited to work with such a talented cast and such lauded directors. We’re thrilled to bring this hilarious and witty film to UK audiences at a time when it is much needed,” said Curzon officials.

Protagonist CCO George Hamilton added: “Our friends at Curzon have a prodigious record in delivering high-quality films to discerning UK audiences, making them the perfect partners to distribute this whip-smart comedy, led by A-list talent at the top of their game, and helmed by some of Spain’s most fiercely talented filmmakers. We know Official Competition is in the best hands possible.”

Pedro Almodovar’s “Madres Paralelas,” Starring Penelope Cruz, to Open Venice Film Festival

Penelope Cruz is ready for a big debut…

The 78th Venice Film Festival will open with Pedro Almodovar’s Madres Paralelas, starring the 47-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress.

Penelope Cruz, Pedro Almodovar, Madres Paralelas

The film will play in Competition and will open the fest on September 1. It also stars Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Julieta Serrano and Rossy De Palma.

The story follows two women, Janis and Ana, who coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single and got pregnant by accident.

Janis, middle-aged, doesn’t regret it and she is exultant. The other, Ana, an adolescent, is scared, repentant and traumatized. Janis tries to encourage her while they move like sleepwalkers along the hospital corridors. The few words they exchange in these hours will create a very close link between the two, which chance will undertake to develop and complicate in such a decisive way that it will change the lives of both.

The film is produced by El Deseo and will be distributed in Italy by Warner Bros. Pictures. Almodóvar received Venice’s 2019 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

“I was born as a film director in 1983 in Venice,” commented Almodóvar, “In the Mezzogiorno Mezzanotte section. Thirty-eight years later I am called to open the festival. I cannot explain the joy and the honor, and how much this means to me without falling into complacency. I am very grateful to the festival for this recognition and hope to be up to it”.

Venice director Alberto Barbera added: “I am grateful to Pedro Almodóvar for having given us the privilege of opening the film festival with his new movie, an intense and sensitive portrait of two women as they contend with a pregnancy with unpredictable consequences, women’s solidarity, and sexuality that is experienced in full freedom and without hypocrisy, all against the backdrop of a reflection on the ineluctable need for truth that is to be unwaveringly pursued. This is a very welcome return to Venice in Competition for the recipient of our 2019 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, many years after the success of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown the movie that marked his definitive triumph on the international scene.”

Universal to Release Penelope Cruz’s Highly Anticipated Femme Action Feature “The 355”

Penelope Cruz is heading to the 355 a week earlier…

Simon Kinberg’s femme action feature The 355, starring the 47-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress, will be released a week earlier, on January 7, 2022.

Penelope Cruz

The film was original scheduled to be released over MLK Weekend.

In the film, five women band together to stop a global organization from acquiring a weapon that could thrust the teetering world into total chaos.

The film was bought by Universal for domestic distribution at the Cannes Film Festival back in 2018 for a reported $20M.

The foreign partners, arranged through FilmNation, are hoping for a global launch for what they hope will be another Bourne Identitylike franchise, this one led by an all female lead cast including Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, Cruz and Fan Bingbing, with Édgar Ramirez and Sebastian Stan also appearing.

The 355 is directed by Kinberg. He co-wrote the screenplay with Theresa Rebeck.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Rights to Penelope Cruz-Starrer “Madres Paralelas” from Pedro Almodovar

Penelope Cruz’s latest film is going global…

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all rights in North America, Australia and New Zealand to Parallel Mothers (Madres Paralelas), starring the 46-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress.

Penelope Cruz

It’s the 13th collaboration between the distributor and director/producer Pedro Almodóvar’s production company El Deseo.

Production began in Madrid last month on the film, which reunites the Spanish filmmaker with longtime collaborators Cruz, Julieta Serrano and Rossy de Palma.

Parallel Mothers is a drama that centers on three mothers, portrayed by Cruz, Aitana Sánchez Gijón and Milena Smit.

The film expands Almodóvar’s previous depictions of womanhood by turning his focus on imperfect mothers, in a departure from his prior work exploring mothers and motherhood.

Written by Almodóvar, the film also stars Israel Elejalde.

The film is produced by Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García through El Deseo.

Sony Pictures Classics recently released Almodóvar’s short film The Human Voice, starring Tilda Swinton, in theaters alongside a digitally restored re-issue of Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It will be available to stream on HBO Max starting on April 30.

Almodóvar won two Oscars for best foreign language film for All About My Mother and original screenplay for his 2002 title Talk to Her (Hable con Ella).

Cruz has starred in several of Almodovar’s films, including All About My Mother, I’m So Excited!, Volver, Broken Embraces, and Pain and Glory.

Pilar Palomero’s “The Girls” Wins Big at the Goya Awards

Pilar Palomero is celebrating a Girls night like no other…

The 40-year-old Spanish film director and screenwriter’s coming-of-age story The Girls has taken home the top prizes, including best picture, at the 35th annual Goya Awards.

Pilar Palomero

The annual Spain awards show, hosted by Antonio Banderas, also saw Palomero’s drama win the prizes for new director, original screenplay and cinematography.

The 35th Goya Awards adopted a hybrid format due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and featured talent presenting and receiving awards virtually or on-site at an audience-less Teatro del Soho CaixaBank.

Pilar Palomero, The Girls

Among the Hollywood names presenting the event’s various awards were Pedro Almódovar, Penélope Cruz, J.A. Bayona, Alejandro Amenábar and Paz Vega.

The ceremony also featured pre-recorded messages from a number of Hollywood names including Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern and Charlize Theron.

1492: Conquest of Paradise and Broken Embraces actress Angelina Molina took home the ceremony’s Honorary Goya award.

Here’s the full list of winners at the 35th annual Goya Awards:

FILM
The Girls (Pilar Palomero)

DIRECTOR
Salvador Calvo (Adú)

NEW DIRECTOR
Pilar Palomero (The Girls)

ACTRESS
Patricia López Arnaiz (Ane)

ACTOR
Mario Casas (No matarás)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nathalie Poza (Rosa’s Wedding)

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alberto San Juan (Sentimental)

NEW ACTRESS
Jone Laspiur (Ane)

NEW ACTOR
Adam Nourou (Adú)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Pilar Palomero (The Girls)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
David Pérez Sañudo, Marina Parés Pulido (Ane)

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Ana Parra, Luis Fernández Lago (Adú)

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Daniela Cajías (The Girls)

EDITING
Sergio Jiménez (The Year of the Discovery)

ART DIRECTION
Mikel Serrano (Akelarre)

COSTUME DESIGN
Nerea Torrijos (Akelarre)

MAKEUP AND HAIR DESIGN
Beata Wotjowicz, Ricardo Molina (Akelarre)

SOUND
Eduardo Esquide, Jamaica Ruíz García, Juan Ferro, Nicolas de Poulpiquet (Adú)

SPECIAL EFFECTS
Mariano García Marty, Ana Rubio, (Akelarre)

ORIGINAL MUSIC
Aránzazu Calleja, Maite Arroitajauregi (Akelarre)

ORIGINAL SONG
“Que no, que no,” (María Rozalén for Rosa’s Wedding)

ANIMATED FEATURE
Turu, the Wacky Hen (Eduardo Gondell, Víctor Monigote)

DOCUMENTARY
The Year of the Discovery (Luis López Carrasco)

IBERO-AMERICAN FILM
Forgotten We’ll Be (Fernando Trueba, Colombia)

EUROPEAN PICTURE
The Father (Florian Zeller, U.K., France)

LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
A la cara (Javier Marco)

DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Biography of a Woman’s Corpse (Mabel Lozano)

ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Blue & Malone: Casos imposibles (Abraham López Guerrero)

HONORARY GOYA
Angela Molina

Pedro Almodovar to Begin Filming Latest Project “Parallel Mothers” Next Month

Pedro Almodovar is thisclose to starting work on his next film…

The 71-year-old Oscar-winning Spanish filmmaker is preparing to head into production on his next movie Parallel Mothers (Madres Paralelas).

Pedro Almodovar

The film will star Penelope Cruz alongside the newly-announced Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Israel Elejalde and Milena Smit.

The film is scheduled to begin filming by the end of March in Spain. Almodovar’s El Deseo is producing.

Almodovar said of the project:

“With Parallel Mothers I return to the female universe, to motherhood, to family. I speak of the importance of ancestors and descendants. The inevitable presence of memory. There are many mothers in my filmography, the ones that are part of this story are very different.

“As a storyteller, imperfect mothers inspire me most at this time. Penélope Cruz, Aitana Sánchez Gijón and the young Milena Smit will play the three mothers in the film, accompanied by Israel Elejalde in the main male character. I also have the collaboration of my beloved Julieta Serrano and Rossy de PalmaParallel Mothers will be an intense drama. Or so I hope.”

This will be Cruz’s seventh film with Almodovar. She first appeared in Live Flesh in 1997. Her other Almodovar credits include All About My Mother, Volver, Broken Embraces, I’m So Excited and Pain and Glory.

Sánchez-Gijón’s previous credits include A Walk in the Clouds and The Machinist.

Universal Pictures Releases First Trailer for Penelope Cruz’s Female-Fronted Espionage Thriller “The 355”

Penélope Cruz is ready to demonstrate her intelligence

Universal Pictures has released the official trailer for the espionage thriller The 355, starring the 46-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress..

Penelope Cruz

In addition to Cruz, the female-fronted globetrotting actioner stars Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, Fan Bingbing, Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramírez.

Universal still has plans to release the film on January 15 in the United States.

Simon Kinberg directs the story that kicks off when a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands. Wild card CIA agent Mason “Mace” Brown (Chastain) will need to join forces with rival badass German agent Marie (Kruger), former MI6 ally and cutting-edge computer specialist Khadijah (Nyong’o) and skilled Colombian psychologist Graciela (Cruz) on a lethal, breakneck mission to retrieve it, while also staying one-step ahead of a mysterious woman, Lin Mi Sheng (Fan) who is tracking their every move.

The action-packed trailer sees Chastain recruit her team of international special agents, who must bond against a common enemy. If they don’t stop them, “they’ll start World War III,” says Chastain’s Mace.

The picture came together during the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, where it was the hottest project in the market. The hope is to launch a franchise based on an idea by Chastain of a Bourne Identity-like thriller revolving around female spies from agencies around the world.

Shooting took place last summer in locations like Paris, London and Morocco — each of which figures lushly in the trailer above.

Theresa Rebeck and Kinberg wrote the script.