Maite Alberdi to Receive Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award for Nonfiction

Maite Alberdi is leading the way in filmmaking… And, now she’s being recognized for it.

The 40-year-old Chilean film producer, director, documentarian, screenwriter and film critic will be honored by the Sundance Institute.

Maite Alberdi,Alberdi will receive the Vanguard Award during the institute’s opening-night gala that will kick off the Sundance Film Festival’s 40th edition on January 18.

The Vanguard Awards honor artists whose work highlights the art of storytelling and creative independence in both nonfiction and fiction.

The Vanguard Award for Nonfiction will go to Alberdi, who directed The Eternal Memory. The film follows the relationship of Chilean journalist Augusto Góngora and Chilean actress Paulina Urrutia. It premiered last year at Sundance and received the World Cinema Documentary Jury Prize.

She was the first Chilean woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for The Mole Agent, which premiered at Sundance 2020.

Alberdi has a long history with the festival: She received a Sundance Documentary Film Grant in 2013 and 2016 and served on the jury for the 2019 World Documentary Competition.

Other honorees include Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan, who will be honored with the first Sundance Institute Trailblazer Award, and Celine Song will also receive the Vanguard Award for Fiction.

The annual opening-night gala raises money for the nonprofit’s labs, grants and public programming. The Sundance Film Festival runs January 18-28 in Park City and Salt Lake City and online from January 25-28.

Tessa Thompson Joins Sundance Institute’s Board of Trustees

Tessa Thompson has joined the board…

The nonprofit Sundance Institute has announced four newly appointed additions to the Institute’s Board of Trustees, including the 40-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress.

Tessa Thompson,Thompson, Pete NicksNina Fialkow and Kimberly Steward have joined the leaders who guide the entire organization and also act in an advisory capacity.

They add to the Institute’s Board of values-based leaders, building an enduring, evolving community for storytellers. The distinguished new Trustees will work closely with Board Chair Ebs Burnough and CEO Joana Vicente and bring invaluable experience.

“As Sundance Institute continues to respond to the needs of independent artists, we welcome these new members of our Board, each of whom has an incredible commitment to independent film and a long history with the Institute,” said Burnough. “Together, the Board is poised to identify new and strengthened ways to uplift independent storytellers.”

“We are so pleased to have Tessa, Pete, Nina, and Kimberly join as Trustees on the Board of Sundance Institute. They bring expertise and valuable perspectives that will be meaningful as we continue to evolve as a cultural organization,” said Vicente.

Thompson is an award-winning actor and producer, Nicks is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Fialkow is an award-winning producer, and Steward is an Academy Award-nominated producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

“Both the Sundance Film Festival and the Institute have served as an artistic home for me throughout my career. I’m proud to expand this journey by joining the board to eagerly serve a community that has been so incredibly impactful to me and countless others,” said Thompson.

They join current members on the Institute’s Board: Robert Redford, President & Founder; Burnough, Chair; Sean Bailey, Vice Chair; Gigi Pritzker, Vice Chair; Jason Blum, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Philipp Engelhorn, Caterina Fake, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, Robert J. Frankenberg, Patrick Gaspard, Donna Gruneich, Cindy Harrell Horn, Uzodinma Iweala, Amanda Kelso, Charles D. King, Lyn Davis Lear, Ann Lewnes, Wonya Lucas, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Shripriya Mahesh, Pat Mitchell, Bill Plapinger, Amy Redford, Geoffrey K. Sands, Nadine Schiff-Rosen, Barry Tyerman and Lulu Wang.

Here are the bios for the new trustees:

NINA FIALKOW is an Oscar, BAFTA, and Emmy Award-winning producer and a member of Impact Partners, a New York-based film funding group focused on telling stories around social justice. She and her husband David Fialkow also have a production entity, New Lane Media.

Nina served as Chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council from 2016 until June 2023, an appointment by Governor Charlie Baker. Nina and her husband David have played a direct role in launching the Transmedia Storytelling Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which will teach media-based storytelling from film through augmented reality. In addition, she is on the International Council for The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She also serves on the National Committee for Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. where she sits on the Executive Committee.

PETE NICKS is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer, producer, and director known for his immersive cinema vérité Oakland trilogy. His critically acclaimed feature documentary The Waiting Room won an Independent Spirit Award and was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2012. The Force, the second in the trilogy explores the interconnected narratives of health care, criminal justice and education, and won the 2017 Sundance Directing Prize. Homeroom, the final film in the trilogy, won the inaugural Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. His most recent film, Stephen Curry: Underrated, about the rise of NBA superstar Stephen Curry, premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Nicks co-founded Proximity Media with Ryan Coogler and oversees the Nonfiction Division. He is the recipient of the SFFS/KRF screenwriting grant and a United States Artists Fellow. He received his B.A. from Howard University and his Masters from UC Berkeley.


KIMBERLY STEWARD is an Academy Award-nominated producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Steward produced the six-time Academy Award nominated Manchester By The Sea; Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria; The True Adventures Of Wolfboy; Topside which premiered at SXSW and the Venice Film Festival; Secret Life Of Bees (theatre); Sing Street (theatre); the Afro-centric documentaries Opposite Field and Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and The Emergence Of A People.

Most recently she produced The Accidental Getaway Driver, which won the US Dramatic Directing Award at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and The Vanishings at Caddo Lake, which was produced with M. Night Shyamalan.

In 2023, Kimberly and the K Period Media Foundation partnered with Blumhouse and collaborated with Sundance to launch the Screamwriters Fellowship. Kimberly proudly serves on the boards of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, One Community, Ava DuVernay’s Array Alliance, the Fresh Air Fund, and the Ubuntu Council of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project.

TESSA THOMPSON is an award-winning actor and producer. She most recently reprised her role as ‘Bianca’ in Creed III directed by Michael B. Jordan. In 2020, Thompson starred in Amazon Prime’s Sylvie’s Love, which she Executive Produced. In 2021, Thompson starred in the indie film, Passing, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and she also Executive Produced. Thompson’s past credits include Thor: Love and Thunder, Creed, Creed II, Men in Black: International, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, Little Woods, Annihilation, Sorry to Bother You, Selma, Dear White People, and Westworld.

In 2019, Thompson was featured on the cover of TIME magazine as a trailblazer and “Leader of the Next Generation.” Her upcoming project includes starring in the title role of ‘Hedda Gabler’ in Nia DaCosta’s film Hedda for MGM’s Orion Pictures and Plan B.

With these additions, the Sundance Institute board comprises 32 people, 14 of whom self-identify as BIPOC. The board is 44% men and 56% women.

Barbie Ferreira to Star in the Drag Comedy Feature “The Young King”

Barbie Ferreira has landed a royally exciting role…

The 25-year-old Brazilian American actress will star in the drag comedy feature The Young King.

Barbie FerrieraFerreira will star opposite Michael Shannon and Kiersey Clemons in the film.

Set in the 1990s drag king scene of 1990s Las Vegas, the feature from Mister Smith Entertainment is the directorial debut of Larin Sullivan.

Clemons stars as Jules, an aspiring drag king who comes to Las Vegas to reconnect with her estranged dad Mick (Shannon), a legendary gambler and part-time children’s party clown, and to make her debut performance in the U.S.’s biggest drag king revue. Mick is less than excited to see his daughter ‘Julia’ presenting as masculine, wearing suits and chasing after Ronnie (Ferreira), a no-nonsense dancer.

Sullivan wrote the script for the film, which Corporate Witchcraft’s Kim Bailey and Isabel Marden are producing alongside Clemons. Songwriter Justin Tranter, who has worked with Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and others, serves as Executive Music Producer and is creating original music for the film.

Production begins in Vegas in the first quarter of 2023.

The project has received support from GLAAD, Sundance Institute, IFP’s Project Forum, Tribeca Film Institute, and Inside Out Toronto.

Mister Smith Entertainment’s CEO David Garrett stated: “We are delighted to present Larin’s fresh twist on a classic Vegas story by shining a light on the drag king scene, which has rarely, if ever, been explored on the big screen. Led by our stellar cast, this is an incredibly emotional father-daughter story that will resonate with buyers and audiences.

Ferreira most recently appeared in the Jordan Peele thriller Nope. She’s best known for HBO’s Euphoria and previously appeared on the network in Sarah Jessica Parker-starring HBO series Divorce. She’s currently filming psychological drama House of Spoils, opposite Ariana DeBose.  She also starred in HBO Max’s film adaptation of Unpregnant.

Xochitl Gomez Signs with Hyperion Talent Agency

Xochitl Gomez is heading into hyper(ion) space..

The 15-year-old Mexican American actress has signed with Hyperion for representation in all areas.

Xochitl GomezGomez will next star opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which hits theaters May 6.

Gomez plays America Chavez in the film, a groundbreaking Marvel LGBTQ Latin American character who ultimately joins the Young Avengers. Chavez is known for her strength, and the power of flight, particularly exceeding the speed of light. She also has a talent for kicking open star-shaped holes in reality, allowing her and her teammates to travel through the multiverse.

Gomez previously starred as Dawn Schafer, the lead of the Netflix series The Baby-Sitters Club.

In 2020, she won a Young Artist Award for Supporting Teen Artist for her work in the film Shadow Wolves. That same year, her short film The Letter was licensed by HBO.

The actress is an alum of the Sundance Institute, where she was a feature actress in the Director’s Lab in 2018. Gomez won Best Child Actor at the London Independent Film Awards for her turn in Boob Sweat and also won Best Young Actress for the movie at the 2018 New York Film Awards.

Hayek’s “Beatriz at Dinner” to Open This Year’s Sundance Film Festival: London

Salma Hayek’s latest project is ready to see the Sun(dance) across the pond…

Miguel Arteta’s Beatriz at Dinner, starring the 50-year-old Mexican actress, will open this year’s Sundance Film Festival: London.

Salma Hayek in Beatriz at Dinner

The film, which had its world premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, will be introduced to London audiences by Arteta, Hayek and screenwriter Mike White in the capital city’s Picturehouse Central cinema on June 1.

In the critically acclaimed film, Hayek plays Beatriz, an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, who has drawn on her innate kindness to build a career as a health practitioner in Southern California. Don Strutt is a real estate developer whose cutthroat tactics have made him a self-made, self-satisfied billionaire. When the two polar opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither is ever the same.

The dark comedy also stars Connie Britton, Chloe Sevigny and Jay Duplass.

Roadside Attractions is set to release the title in the United States on June 9.

“We look forward to launching our fifth festival in London with Beatriz at Dinner, a masterful dramedy of errors from director Miguel Arteta and screenwriter Mike White and starring Salma Hayek,” said Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper. “This was a standout at our Utah Festival in January and is a wonderful example of the continued innovation and creativity of our independent filmmakers that we’ll showcase in London again this year.”

The full program for the fifth edition of Sundance’s London edition is expected to be announced soon. It will feature international and UK premieres of films from films that were featured in Sundance in January.

Sundance Institute will also be launching a festival in Hong Kong in September.

Sundance Film Festival: London will take place from June 1-4.

Mandoki to Direct Crime Thriller “Tesoro”

Luis Mandoki has discovered a new treasure…

The 62-year-old Mexican filmmaker is set to direct the crime thriller Tesoro, written by actress and producer Sandy Baumann.

Luis Mandoki

Tesoro is the touching story of a Mexican woman who risks her life to cross the U.S. border so she can earn enough money to afford a life-saving operation for her father and then finds her path home blocked by a deadly crime family.

The script was selected as one of 10 nationwide for the Latino Producers Academy and also advanced to the second level of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, as well as the Women in Film with Sundance Institute Film Intensive.

The cast will be announced next week.

Mandoki’s film credits include 2001’s Angel Eyes, starring Jennifer LopezWhen a Man Loves a Woman, with Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia; and Trapped.

He has Dancing with Sancho Panza in pre-production.

Luna to Star Opposite Elle Fanning in the Sci-Fi Film “IO”

Diego Luna has landed an out of this world role…

The 35-year-old Mexican actor has been cast opposite Elle Fanning in Clay Jeter’s sci-fi pic IO, a project that was developed at the Sundance Institute’s Writers Lab and Sundance Catalyst Forum.

Diego Luna

Jeter, who made the 2011 Sundance Film Festival pic Jess + Moss, wrote the script with Will Basanta and Charles Spano.

The character-driven IO, which is slated to begin production later this year, tells the story of a girl’s coming of age while examining the dangers of humanity’s current relationship with the planet.

Fanning will play the teen surviving as one of the last people on an abandoned post-cataclysmic Earth, who is racing to find a cure for her poisoned home world before the last shuttle off the planet to the distant human space colony leaves her stranded.

Luna, who rose to acclaim after starring in Y tu mamá también, will play a complicated and mysterious refugee on his way to the shuttle launch who makes her question whether she can really alter Earth’s fate.

“We are so excited for Elle to bring her charisma and fearlessness to the demanding role of the tragically obsessed idealist Sam,” said Jeter. “And Diego’s chameleon-like versatility makes him a perfect choice for the secretive and enigmatic Micah. I’m really looking forward to a creative collaboration with these incredibly talented and committed actors to bring the characters of IO to life.”

Luna’s film credits include roles in Rudo y Cursi, The Terminal, Elysium and Milk.

Calleros to Participate in Fox’s Writers Intensive Program

Sal Calleros’ professional life is about to get intensive…

The Latino writer, who was most recently a story editor on ABC’s Private Practice, has been selected as one of the 10 finalists to participate in the Fox network’s Fox Writers Intensive, an advanced writers program for experienced writers from diverse backgrounds.

Sal Calleros

The finalists were chosen from more than 400 nominations and submissions by talent representation and arts organizations, including the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Sundance Institute, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Outfest, Film Independent, the NAACP, Women in Film LA and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment and Visual Communications.

Calleros, who graduated from the ABC Writing Fellowship in 2006, says his first true writing gig was for the domestic violence clinic in the San Fernando courthouse, drafting restraining orders to prevent harassment, molestation and abuse. He also worked three years in Family Law, and as a court interpreter, giving him a wealth of legal and life experience, perspective and stories.

Calleros and his fellow finalists will spend the next 13 weeks attending seminars and workshops with executives, writers and showrunners. At the conclusion of the intensive, Fox will select one finalist as the Fox Writers Intensive Fellow, whose submitted original script will be purchased and developed jointly by Fox Broadcasting Co., 20th Century Fox Television and FX. The Fox Writers Intensive Fellow will be announced across all Fox entertainment businesses and will receive one-on-one meetings with network and studio heads, as well as priority staffing efforts across Fox properties.