Gigi Saul Guerrero to Direct Biopic About the Late Jenni Rivera

Gigi Saul Guerrero is bringing a Mexican American icon’s life story to the big screen…

The 32-year-old Mexican Canadian filmmaker and actress will direct “Jenni,” a film about the life of the late Jenni Rivera.

Gigi Saul Guerrero The biopic, which is authorized by the late artist’s estate, will be produced by Los Angeles-based multimedia company Mucho Mas Media and De Line Pictures.

Developed by Guerrero and screenwriter Shane McKenzie, the movie follows Rivera’s rise as a Spanish singer who successfully crossed over to U.S. and global audiences, as well as her work as a women’s rights activist. She died in a plane crash in 2012 at age 43.

Rivera’s variety of banda, mariachi and norteño music made her one of the best-selling regional Mexican artists ever, with 15 gold and platinum records and top-drawing tours.

She produced multiple television series like “Chiquis & Raq-C” and “I Love Jenni,” and in 2012 she was named one of the top 25 most powerful women by People en Español. She also established charities like the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation, which supports single mothers and children who have been victims of domestic abuse.

Jenni will premiere on TelevisaUnivision’s premium streaming tier VIX+ and in select theaters throughout the U.S. and Mexico. A release date has not been announced yet.

Saul Guerrero was named by Variety in 2019 as a Latinx talent to watch. Since then, she signed a first-look deal with Blumhouse Productions after the debut of her first movie, Culture Shock.

On the acting front, she has voiced characters in “Supernatural Academy” and “Angry Birds: Summer Madness.”

Gurrero also created and directed the 2017 web horror series La Quinceañera and short film El Gigante, and she co-founded the Latin genre-focused company LuchaGore Productions.

McKenzie, a frequent collaborator of Saul Guerrero’s at LuchaGore Productions, wrote the screenplays for “El Gigante,” “La Quinceanera” and “Bingo Hell.”

Jenni Rivera Enterprises will executive produce.

“Gigi is so confident in her voice and storytelling and has an innate understanding of Jenni’s life.

Jennifer Lopez to Perform at Charity Gala for Ukraine Children & Families

Jennifer Lopez is helping to raise funds for the children of the Ukraine…

The 53-year-old Puerto Rican superstar is set to perform on the Italian island of Capri at a Ukraine-focused charity gala for UNICEF.

Jennifer LopezExpected guests at the exclusive event, which is called LuisaViaRoma for UNICEF, include Leonardo DiCaprio; Jamie Foxx; Elon Musk’s mother, the supermodel Maye Musk; Naomi Campbell, Jared Leto, and Vanessa Hudgens.

The intimate Capri charity event will take place in the island’s Certosa di San Giacomo, a 14th-century monastery with a large grassy cloister area and a stunning view of the Mediterranean.

Lopez will be the main musical act at the exclusive gala, where the hit-making DJ Diplo and singer/actress Sofia Carson, as well as Switzerland’s DJ Cruz, are among other artists that are expected to take the stage, Italy’s La Repubblica reported.

Past editions of the charity concert have been complemented with performances by the likes of John Legend, Katy Perry and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, as well as Rita Ora, Ricky Martin and Ellie Goulding, according to Variety sister publication Women’s Wear Daily, which broke the news in May that Lopez would headline the Capri gala.

After kicking off with musical entertainment, the event will be followed by a lavish dinner and charity auction.

The guest list also includes Dutch supermodel and actor Lara Stone; U.S. producer and director Tonya Lewis Lee; Saudi producer and philanthropist Mohammed Al Turki; and, from Italy, singer and songwriter Sangiovanni and actor Matilde Gioli, according to La Repubblica.

During the charity gala, UNICEF representatives based in Ukraine will join the soirée remotely. A documentary will also screen, detailing the work being done by UNICEF at the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan that welcome Syrian children and their families.

It’s Lopez’s first stage performance since marrying actor Ben Affleck earlier this month.

Vanessa Gonzalez Named to Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch List

Vanessa Gonzalez is a comedian to watch…

The Latina improviser/sketch comedy writer/comedian has been named to Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch list.

Vanessa GonzalezGonzalez and her fellow honorees will be feted at Just for Laughs Montreal. They’ll attend a special cocktail reception and panel discussion on July 29 before performing at a showcase on July 30.

Gonzalez participated in Chelsea Handler’s Vaccinated and Horny Tour.

It was late 2020 and Gonzalez was riding out the pandemic, wondering when — or even if — her next gig was going to materialize. Then Handler slid into her DMs. Recalls the Laredo, Texas, native: “I was like: Is this for real? And then I felt bad because I didn’t follow her. That was like, ‘Oh, this is awkward — she’s going to see me follow her right now.’”

Cut to August and Gonzalez found herself the opening act for Handler’s tour.

Originally booked for one show, Gonzalez has since appeared in “most of the tour,” including its May 5 stop at the Wiltern Theater in L.A. as part of the Netflix Is a Joke festival.

For Gonzalez, who, following graduation from Texas State University, spent six years as a preschool teacher in Austin — experience providing ample fodder for her stand-up routine, from bits about “muffins for moms day” to the “$10 an hour” paycheck — zig-zagging the country with Handler has been “really surreal.”

“Chelsea’s been so amazing and generous and she’s always encouraging me. She’ll sit and watch my set every night,” says Gonzalez. “When I get off stage she’s there high-fiving me and telling me how great I did.I’ve never felt so supported. It’s been overwhelming — her generosity, her love. She wants me to succeed. Usually with comics, there’s a weirdness. They’re threatened, there’s always a competition. And this is the first time where I actually feel lifted up by a comedian. And it’s so cool.”

With a recent guest spot on HBO Max’s freshman sitcom The Garcias to her credit, Gonzalez, based in Austin, is now setting her sights on landing an “hourlong comedy special.”

“It’s on my bucket list, it’s on my vision board,” she says. “I have the material for it. So, I’m ready, for whomever wants it.”

Camila Cabello to Perform at UEFA Champions League Opening Ceremony

Camila Cabello is in a (Champions) League of her own…

The 25-year-old Mexican and Cuban singer is set to headline the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 UEFA Champions League final.

Camila CabelloCabello announced the news with a colorful video in which she sings her 2017 smash “Havana” in a colorful, blossoming AI universe. In it, she struts across a stage before spinning around as her blue dress transforms into a flowing pink gown, and she transitions into her recent single “Bam Bam” as a virtual version of the champion’s cup floats high above her.

“I’m excited to announce that I’ll be performing at the UEFA @championsleague Final Opening Ceremony presented by @pepsiglobal #PepsiShow. I’ve got lots of surprises in store for you,” Cabello wrote in a message to fans. The showdown between Liverpool and Real Madrid will take place at Stade de France on May 28.

Marshmello headlined last year’s opening ceremony with a mind-bending six-minute virtual performance that was two years in the making.

On May 5, Cabello was honored at Variety’s Power of Women event for her work with the Movement Voter Fund to launch the Healing Justice Project, and used her time on the floor to discuss the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion that experts suspect could lead to an overturning of the seminal 1973 Roe v. Wade case that has guaranteed women the right to an abortion.

“It’s atrocious,” the 25-year-old singer said during her speech in which she also encouraged people to get involved by voting on the local level and donating to relevant causes. “Obviously it’s going to affect poor women the most, because women that have resources — even like me — will be able to handle things if if they’re needed. The idea of having one moment transform the course of a woman’s life is tragic. And it’s tragic [that] the people affected are not having a say.”

Camila Cabello to Be Honored During Variety’s “2022 Power of Women” Event

Camila Cabello has the power

The 25-year-old Cuban & Mexican singer and former Fifth Harmony member, who released her third solo studio album Familia earlier this month, will be among the honorees at Variety’s 2022 Power of Women: New York event.

Camila CabelloCabello is among a list of honorees that includes Drew BarrymoreKim Cattrall, Queen Latifah, Amanda Seyfried and Venus Williams.

Cabello, a three-time Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum, and chart-topping singer/songwriter, is being honored for her work with the The Healing Justice Project.

In January 2021, Cabello and Movement Voter Fund launched the initiative to provide direct funding to provide culturally relevant mental health and wellness resources to youth activists and grassroots organizations working at the intersection of racial and economic justice, electoral organizing, and other movements that propel this country forward.

The in-person event will take place at The Glasshouse on May 5. Presented in partnership with Lifetime, the event gathers an intimate group of philanthropic women who have been selected as Variety’s honorees, as well as the most powerful women working in media and entertainment.

Each of the six honorees will be featured on the cover of Variety’s Power of Women issue, available May 4.

The issue will include the annual Women’s Impact Report, which highlights the top 50 women working in media and entertainment who made an impact this year on the industry.

Daniella Pineda to Star in AMC’s “Tales of the Walking Dead”

Daniella Pineda has a new tale(s)

The 34-year-old Mexican American actress will star in AMC‘s anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead.

Daniella Pineda  Pineda joins previously announced cast members Terry Crews, Parker Posey, Poppy Liu, Anthony Edwards, and Jillian Bell.

Details on the characters each will play in the series are being kept under wraps.

The six-episode episodic anthology series will feature both new and established characters from The Walking Dead universe.

Tales of the Walking Dead is scheduled to debut this summer on AMC and AMC Plus.

The show was first announced as being in development in September 2020 and ordered to series in October 2021. In an interview with Variety in 2020, then-AMC COO Ed Carroll said that “Tales” would serve as a “test kitchen” of sorts, meaning that if a particular episode is well received, it could lead to another spinoff.

Pineda most recently starred in the Netflix live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop in the role of Faye Valentine.

Her other television roles include What/If, The Detour, and The Originals.

In film, she appeared in the film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2018 and will reprise her role as Zia Rodriguez in the upcoming sequel Jurassic World Dominion. That film will debut in theaters on June 10.

She has also wrapped production on the feature The Plane starring Gerard Butler and Mike Colter for Lionsgate and Di Bonaventura Pictures.

Almudena Amor Named to Variety’s International Breakout Stars of 2021 List

Almudena Amor has had a break-out year… And, she’s being recognized for it.

The 27-year-old Spanish actress has been named to Variety’s International Breakout Stars of 2021 list.

Almudena AmorVariety’s international writers picked out a handful of global talents who had an incredible year, including Amor.

Amor had only appeared in a couple of shorts before this year, but 2021 saw the PR-grad-turned-actor cast by Spanish horror legend Paco Plaza as the lead in his San Sebastian competition film La Abuela.

Next, she was picked by Fernando León in what has proved to be her international break-out role, as a foil to Javier Bardem’s lead in the Spanish Oscar submission The Good Boss.

The role earned her a best new actress nomination at the Spanish Academy’s Goya Awards.

In November, she also starred in an entry of Amazon’s acclaimed Spanish horror anthology series reboot Stories to Stay Awake.

But Amor isn’t the only Latina to make the list…

Milena Smit is being celebrated for remarkable run the last two years.

The 35-year-old Spanish actress’ debut feature performance came just last year when she starred alongside Mario Casas, one of Spain’s most marketable leading men, in the award-winning thriller Cross the Line.

She was quickly picked out with a Goya nomination for best new actress. This year, Smit’s talents went global as she starred with Penelope Cruz in Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers, earning her another Goya nomination, this time for best supporting actress.

In 2022, she will feature in Netflix’s sci-fi horror series The Girl in the Mirror before returning to the big screen in Tin & Tina, one of Spain’s most promising indies of the coming year.

Here’s the complete list of global artists recognized:

Toheeb Jimoh (U.K.)
Keung To (Hong Kong)
Swamy Rotolo (Italy)
Ondina Quadri (Italy)
Almudena Amor (Spain)
Milena Smit (Spain)
Benjamin Voisin (France)
Don Lee (South Korea-U.S.)
Jung Ho Yeon (South Korea)
Adarsh Gourav (India)
Azmeri Haque Badhon (Bangladesh)

Tatiana Huezo Named to Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch List for 2022

All eyes are on Tatiana Huezo

The 49-year-old Mexican Salvadoran filmmaker has been named to Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch list for 2022.

Tatiana HuezoHuezo is a standout from the recent festival circuit. A documentary veteran, her powerful Prayers for the Stolen, about girls growing up in the shadow of an opium cartel, is representing Mexico in the Oscar international feature competition.

Aitch Alberto — the first trans director ever to make the list — is also guaranteed to surprise, with her sensitive and surreal adaptation of the beloved queer YA romance Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. She is directing the film, with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Eugenio Derbez producing.

Overall, it’s a decidedly forward-looking — and female-driven — group of visionaries for the upcoming year, spanning genres, languages and a wide variety of backgrounds.

The 10 Directors to Watch are:

Aitch Alberto (“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”)
Mariama Diallo (“Master”)
Audrey Diwan (“Happening”)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”)
Tatiana Huezo (“Prayers for the Stolen”)
Nikyatu Jusu (“Nanny”)
Megan Park (“The Fallout”)
Cooper Raiff (“Cha Cha Real Smooth”)
Goran Stolevski (“You Won’t Be Alone”)
Krystin Ver Linden (“Alice”)

The selection process relies on Variety editors screening dozens of new and upcoming features, and curating a mix of the most promising emerging talents from among those first and second films.

The directors selected for this year’s list will be honored in person at a brunch event on January 7 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which resumes in-person screenings, panels and parties in early January, following a COVID-19-impacted virtual edition in 2020.

“We’re very excited to continue our partnership with Variety to co-host the ’10 Directors to Watch’ brunch at the Festival,” said PSIFF artistic director Lili Rodriguez. “This year’s directors are an exceptionally gifted group of emerging talents, and we congratulate all of them for being selected on this distinguished list.”

The Class of 2022 will be profiled in full with Variety’s first print edition of the new year.

Previous directors to make the “watch” list include Cary Joji Fukunaga, Wes Anderson, Sean Baker, David Lowery, Julia Ducournau and Mia Hansen-Løve.

Kali Uchis to Receive Crossover Award at Variety’s ‘Hitmakers’ Celebration

Kali Uchis is officially a hitmaker

The 27-year-old Colombian American singer, who won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording for her feature on Kaytranada‘s single “10%,” is among the honorees for Variety’s fifth annual Hitmakers celebration.

Kali Uchis

The December 2 issue recognizes the writers, producers, publishers, managers and executives who helped make — and break — the 25 most consumed songs of the year.

Uchis will receive the Crossover Award for her dreamy pop hit “Telepatía,” which has helped expand the reach of Latin music globally. Already a Grammy winner, 2021 has proven to be Uchis’ year as she positions herself among the biggest players in pop.

Hitmakers culminates in an invitation-only brunch held on Saturday, December 4.

Amazon Music will host the red carpet pre-show and awards presentation with Variety, and present the Rising Star of the Year Award which recognizes Polo G.

The 2021 Hitmakers program includes the following awards selected by Variety’s editorial team:

BTS’ “Butter” – Record of the Year: The song “Butter” blasted out to the world in May, becoming a record smashing single for BTS. The writers and producers, including multi-hyphenate creatives/executives Jenna Andrews and Ron Perry, the K-Pop group’s own RM, Stephen Kirk, Alex Bilowitz and Rob Grimaldi, crafted the perfect hit that just won’t quit. BTS prepared a special video for the Variety Record of the Year honor.

City Girls – The Future Is Female Award: The duo who prompted the world to “Act Up,” Miami’s City Girls have quickly risen to be one of the most promising acts in hip-hop, a genre typically dominated by male performers. Closing out 2021 with a bang — JT is featured on Summer Walker’s “Ex for a Reason” and Yung Miami just released a solo single, “Rap Freaks” — City Girls are helping ensure that the Future Is Female as they pave the way for more female artists, writers and producers.

Columbia Records – Label of the Year: With a string of multi-format and -platform hits including “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” by Lil Nas X, “Mood” by 24kGoldn ft. Iann Dior and “Stay” by the Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber — and a new album by Adele — Columbia Records artists have owned the charts for much of 2021.

Mike Dean – Producer of the Year: From Kanye West to Lana Del Rey to Don Toliver, six-time Grammy-winning producer Mike Dean has had a fruitful 2021 on top of his long-term collaborations with Travis Scott, Kid Cudi and Madonna.

Lana Del Rey – Decade Award: In October 2011, Lana Del Rey released her first single, “Video Games,” and a star was born. A decade later, she is regarded as one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the 21st century thanks to Grammy nominations and critical acclaim for her albums “Norman Fucking Rockwell,” “Born to Die,” and in the last year, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” and “Blue Bannisters.”

Billie Eilish & Finneas – Film Song of the Year: In co-writing the Grammy-winning and critically acclaimed “No Time to Die,” Billie Eilish and Finneas have entered the iconic James Bond canon, helping the MGM film, released this year, become a box office smash that’s grossed over $700 million worldwide.

Glass Animals – Group of the Year: After a lot of “rock is back” stories that didn’t pan out in recent years, Glass Animals proved that it really is still possible to break an actual band in a big way, and now the U.K. band’s sleeper hit “Heat Waves” has become a top 10 pop hit after a year of the group being the new face of rock.

Wendy Goldstein – A&R Award: Republic Records president of West Coast creative Wendy Goldstein receives Variety’s inaugural A&R Award for her work crafting hits for the Weeknd and Ariana Grande in 2021, and a career that spans three decades.

Jack Harlow – Hitmaker of Tomorrow: From his Grammy-nominated hit “Whats Poppin” to his smash collaboration with Lil Nas X, “Industry Baby,” Jack Harlow has become one of music’s most talked-about artists. Looking ahead, the Louisville, KY rapper is poised for an even bigger 2022, making him Variety’s Hitmaker of Tomorrow.

Walker Hayes – Sync of the Year: The country singer’s “Fancy Like” was an inescapable, TikTok-driven crossover hit that got major play on Top 40 and AC stations, even before the release of a remix version with Kesha. Its mention of a “fancy” night out at Applebee’s was just a lyrical detail, not intended as a sync — but of course the restaurant chain had to have it for a TV ad campaign once they heard it.

Lil Nas X – Innovator of the Year: With the release of his debut album, “Montero,” Lil Nas X has proven to be a musical trailblazer and visual innovator whose arrival has changed the course of culture. That thanks in part to his provocative videos — on full display in 2021’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and “Industry Baby” — in which the artist demonstrates a singular point-of-view and an ever-evolving fashion-forward style.

Max Lousada – Executive of the Year: As CEO for Warner Recorded Music — home to iconic labels Atlantic, Warner and Elektra, among others — Max has steered a roster that includes music giants Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, David Guetta, and Coldplay, and many of 2021’s biggest songs, among them Dua Lipa’s “Levitating,” Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open,” Cardi B’s “Up” and Masked Wolf’s “Astronaut in the Ocean.”

Normani – Collaborator of the Year: Features on hit songs by Sam Smith (“Dancing With a Stranger”) and Khalid (“Love Lies”) led Normani to cameo alongside Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion in the video to “WAP.” Cardi returned the favor in 2021 on “Wild Side,” a No. 1 radio hit for Normani and the latest feather in her collaboration cap.

Polo G – Rising Star Award: Polo G’s “Rapstar” was all over playlists and radio in 2021, the result of a year-long journey for the Chicago rapper, who took the song from a short YouTube video to a TikTok phenomenon to a No. 1 single. The future looks bright for the 22-year-old newcomer, who receives Variety’s Rising Star award.

Olivia Rodrigo – Songwriter of the Year: With her debut album “Sour” released months after turning 18, Olivia Rodrigo has solidified her place as one of the most important voices of her generation. Variety celebrates her string of 2021 hits, including “Drivers License,” “Good 4 uU” “Deja Vu” and “Traitor.” 

Austin Rosen – Manager of the Year: With a client roster that includes Post Malone, 24kGoldn and Iann Dior, as well as hitmakers Louis Bell, Carter Lang and Blake Slatkin, Austin Rosen’s Electric Feel Entertainment has become a powerhouse in music management that helped shape the sound of 2021.

Kali Uchis – Crossover Award: The dreamy pop hit “Telepatía” has helped Crossover Award honoree Kali Uchis expand the reach of Latin music. Already a Grammy winner, 2021 has proven to be Kali’s year as she positions herself among the biggest players in pop.

Steven Victor – Hitbreaker of the Year: The posthumous success of Pop Smoke, whose “What You Know Bout Love” and “For the Night” are among the 25 most-consumed songs of 2021, is due in part to the vision and conviction of industry veteran and philanthropist Steven Victor, founder of Victor Victor Worldwide.

Variety’s Hitmakers issue tells the definitive story of the year in music while recognizing those who played a hands-on role in making and breaking the biggest hits of 2021,” said Shirley Halperin, Variety’s executive editor of music. “On the heels of the 2022 Grammy Award nominations, and in tandem with our own Music for Screens Summit (December 1-3), Variety has the industry covered top to bottom. We look forward to toasting the successes of 2021 and the people who really move the needle in this business we all love.”

Victoria Alonso to Speak at NALIP Media Summit

There’s a little moderation in Victoria Alonso’s future…

The three-day 2021 virtual edition of the NALIP Media Summit will feature a conversation with the 55-year-old  Marvel Studios’ executive producer moderated by Variety’s Marc Malkin.

Victoria Alonso

The three-day event will feature diverse creative leaders from the Latinx community that will connect with attendees through a series of sessions, workshops, exclusive screenings and mentorship opportunities.

The 22nd annual event will be held July 19-21. Additional speakers and sessions will be announced soon.

Alonso has been working in the industry for over 25 years. She began her career working in visual effects and quickly rose as an award-winning VFX producer at Digital Domain. After joining Marvel as EVP of visual effects and post-production in 2005, she worked as a co-producer on the studio’s early hits such as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

Assuming her current position in 2015, she has served as an executive on every Marvel Cinematic Universe film and television show since 2012’s The Avengers.

Alonso’s talk will stream live on July 20 followed by a signature conversation with Starz president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch. Other speakers include actors Isabela Merced and Frankie Rodriguez.