Cara Santana to Star in “Daughter of the Bride”

Bride on, Cara Santana!

The 37-year-old Latina actress has signed on to star opposite Marcia Gay Harden, Halston Sage, Andrew Richardson and Aidan Quinn in Annette Haywood-Carter’s indie comedy Daughter of the Bride (w/t) for MarVista Entertainment and Particular Crowd.

Cara SantanaThe film currently in production centers on Diane (Harden) and Kate (Sage) — mother and daughter and inseparable friends, whose lives are turned upside down when mom announces her engagement to a mystery man (Quinn) that she’s been dating for only a few weeks. In a series of comical events, Kate must come to terms with letting her mother be happy with someone else while she navigates her own love life and career aspirations. Kate subconsciously tries to sabotage the wedding plans, despite officiating the ceremony, and unexpectedly meets a mystery man (Richardson) of her own that seems too good to be true.

Karen Bloch Morse wrote the script.

The film is being co-produced by MarVista and Particular Crowd, with MarVista’s Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, and Fernando Szew and Particular Crowd’s Mariana Sanjurjo, Peter Bevan and Tomás Yankelevich exec producing. Summer Crockett Moore, Cara Santana, Julie Yorn, and Patrick Walmsley will serve as executive producers.

Santana appeared on Starz’s drama series Vida, and on the Netflix comedy series Santa Clarita Diet, opposite Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant. She was also seen starring in Jimmy Tatro’s series The Real Bros of Simi Valley for Facebook Watch,  prior to that appearing in Malcolm Goodwin’s Be the Light and WGN’s Salem.

Tanya Saracho Developing Starz’s Half-Hour Drama “Lovesong”

Tanya Saracho is seeing Starz again…

The Mexican American screenwriter, who created the network’s acclaimed series Vida, is currently developing the half-hour drama Lovesong for Starz.

Tanya SarachoMusician and actor Johnny Flynn will co-executive produce the project and serve as composer.

Lovesong follows two Mexican American childhood friends living in London as they both become entangled in a torturous love triangle with the same captivating singer-songwriter. A love story born out of betrayal and paid for with the cost of friendship. Steeped in the East London music scene, the series embarks on a cinematic contemplation of love, sex, identity, purpose, and the price of happiness.

The announcement came ahead of Starz’ inaugural #TakeTheLead summit on Thursday that will feature Saracho’s participation in the “Power of Allyship” panel about fighting for representation.

“We are beyond thrilled to partner with Tanya to bring her bold and tantalizing love story to life,” said Kathryn Busby, President, Original Programming, Starz. “Throughout her career and from Vida to Lovesong on Starz, her dedication to Latine representation embodies the spirit of #TakeTheLead.”

Through her overall deal with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, Saracho will executive produce Lovesong, along with co-executive producer Christine Dávila, under her production banner Ojalá Productions.

“This story is very much a child of the pandemic, born from those times when we were yearning for love stories to soothe the soul and light the way through the dark times. This is also when the light of Johnny Flynn’s music found me and lit the way into the story. While I spent five months in London, Johnny was generous enough to lead me through his lived experience of the East London music scene, which now comprises the world of ‘Lovesong,’” said Saracho. “It’s wonderful to be coming home to Starz to conceive of my new story of love, a place that truly nurtured and supported me while I crafted the love story of the two Hernandez sisters in Vida, and I couldn’t be happier to return to bring this new narrative to life.”

Lovesong will be produced by UCP and Lionsgate Television for Starz.

Vida ran on Starz for three seasons.

Vico Ortiz Signs with Paradigm

Vico Ortiz has new representation.

The Latinx, non-binary and gender-fluid actor has signed with Paradigm.

Vico OrtizOrtiz is a known for their work in HBO Max’s Our Flag Means Death and The Sex Lives of College Girls, and Starz’s Vida.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Ortiz’s first breakthrough role was in Amazon Prime Video’s Transparent. They then appeared in recurring roles for Freeform’s The Fosters and Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, and Netflix’s Lucifer. They appeared in Starz’s Vida, where their drag king alter ego Vico Suave made their screen debut.

Currently Ortiz is a series regular on Our Flag Means Death, appearing opposite stars Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby. They play Jim, the first non-binary pirate to exist in a period piece. Their additional credits include S.O.Z: Soldados o. Zombies, American Horror Story: 1984Criminal Minds9-1-1Ray Donovan and Jane The Virgin.

Beyond television, they were a co-lead in The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night, which premiered at TIFF in 2021. Ortiz also received a 2021 Queerties Award nomination for their performance in the buzzed about queer digital series, These Thems.

Beyond their on-screen work, Ortiz is an activist and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. They championed organizations including The Dru Project and the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center..

Ortiz is a known for their work in HBO Max’s Our Flag Means Death and The Sex Lives of College Girls, and Starz’s Vida.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Ortiz’s first breakthrough role was in Amazon Prime Video’s Transparent. They then appeared in recurring roles for Freeform’s The Fosters and Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, and Netflix’s Lucifer. They appeared in Starz’s Vida, where their drag king alter ego Vico Suave made their screen debut.

Currently Ortiz is a series regular on Our Flag Means Death, appearing opposite stars Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby. They play Jim, the first non-binary pirate to exist in a period piece. Their additional credits include S.O.Z: Soldados o. Zombies, American Horror Story: 1984Criminal Minds9-1-1Ray Donovan and Jane The Virgin.

Beyond television, they were a co-lead in The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night, which premiered at TIFF in 2021. Ortiz also received a 2021 Queerties Award nomination for their performance in the buzzed about queer digital series, These Thems.

Beyond their on-screen work, Ortiz is an activist and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. They championed organizations including The Dru Project and the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center.

Mishel Prada Starring in VH1’s Made-for-TV Holiday Movie “Let’s Get Merried”

Mishel Prada is getting merried

VH1 is launching its Naughty or Nice strand at the end of November through December with several made-for-television movies, including Let’s Get Merried starring the 31-year-old part-Puerto Rican, Dominican and Mexican American actress.

Mishel PradaExecutive produced by Eva Longoria, Adriana Martinez Barron and Ben Spector, the film was written by Sasha Perl-Raver and directed by Veronica Rodriguez.

Let’s Get Merried, which launches on December 13, centers around a bachelorette weekend at a Christmas-themed adventure park that gets all kinds of holly jolly when a hard-partying, down-on-her-luck, holiday-hater decides to get married. That day. To a man she has yet to meet.

In addition to Prada, the film also stars Xosha Roquemore, Tahj Mowry, Nicolette Pearse, Nicole Power and Savannah Basley.

Prada’s previous credits include Starz’s Vida and Fear the Walking Dead: Passage.

Annie Gonzalez to Star in George Lopez’s Drama Pilot “Once Upon a Time in Aztlan”

Annie Gonzalez’s Time card is filling up…

The Chicana actress will star in the drama pilot Once Upon a Time in Aztlan, a project from George Lopez for STXtelevision and Amazon Studios.

Annie Gonzalez

Gonzalez will star opposite her Flamin’ Hot co-star Jesse Garcia, as well as Lopez, in the pilot.

Gonzalez will portray Dolores “Lola” Duran, the youngest of Gervasio Duran’s (Lopez) children. She’s the heart of the family, a spitfire mother, and entrepreneur who runs a bar-cabaret with her ex. She is always game, at the party, and in the riot.

Garcia will portray the show’s hero, Arturo Duran. After 13 years in federal prison, Arturo has missed a lifetime’s worth of changes. His second chance at life will be born through his transcendental artistry, which will single-handedly take possession of how the world sees the Southern California Dream.

Written by Javier Rodriguez, the one-hour drama revolves around a Chicano family in the deep suburbs of Los Angeles as they come to terms with the falsehoods of the American dream, and their ability to defy expectations.

Rodriguez executive produces with photographer/director Estevan Oriol, LA-based artist Mister Cartoon, and Michael Connolly who put the Latinx package together under his STXtelevision-based Mad Hatter Entertainment banner.

Gonzalez is returning for Season 2 of Netflix’s Gentefied on November 10. Her previous credits include VidaShameless, and American Horror Story. She portrayed Garcia’s wife Judy Montanez in Flamin’ Hot.

Garcia most recently appeared in Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico as DEA agent Sal Orozco. Up next, he will appear in the films Ambulance opposite Jake Gyllenhaal; Netflix’s The Mother with Jennifer Lopez; and the Richard Montanez biopic from Eva LongoriaFlamin’ Hot in the role of Montanez.

 

STXfilms Acquires Worldwide Rights to Melissa Barrera-Starrer “Bed Rest”

Melissa Barrera’s latest project is going global…

STXfilms has acquired the worldwide rights to Bed Rest, a supernatural thriller to star the 31-year-old Mexican actress/singer and In The Heights star.

Melissa Barrera

Writer-director Lori Evans Taylor will make her directorial debut on the project.

After years of struggling to start a family, Julie Rivers (Barrera) is pregnant again and moving into a new home with her husband as they embrace a fresh start. Upon being ordered to mandatory bed rest, Julie begins to slowly unravel as she suffers through the monotony and anxiety of her new constraints. Soon, terrifying ghostly experiences in the home begin to close in on Julie, stirring up her past demons and causing others to question her mental stability. Trapped and forced to face her past and the supernatural, Julie fights to protect herself and her unborn baby.

Bed Rest is being produced by William Sherak, James Vanderbilt, and Paul Neinstein through their Project X banner, along with Evans Taylor and Barrera. Cameras roll next month in Winnipeg.

STXfilms will release Bed Rest directly in the US, UK and Ireland, and in the rest of the world through its network of foreign distribution partners.

Bed Rest is a chilling supernatural cinematic thriller,” said Adam Fogelson, chairman, STXfilms Motion Picture Group. “Lori Evans Taylor’s script was on the Black List for a reason: her compelling writing comes from a personal point of view we haven’t often seen on the big screen, and that will elevate the material. We’re also big believers in Melissa Barrera’s talent as an actress to bring this character to life. Horror has been a consistently successful genre for us at STX, and as a studio with a strong track record supporting female filmmakers, we are proud to be releasing Lori’s directorial debut. We’re also thrilled to be in business with William, James, Paul and the Team at Project X on a movie that will keep audiences riveted.”

Project X partners Sherak, Vanderbilt and Neinstein added, “We have known Lori both personally and professionally for years and have always been huge fans of her writing. This screenplay was so unnerving and deeply felt, we knew she was the right director to bring this to the screen. We had just worked with Melissa on Scream, where we saw her incredible talent first hand. We’re thrilled to have put them together, and that our longtime friends at STX will be our partners on this project. Their success with low and mid budget films and their commitment to female and diverse talent, both in front of and behind the camera, make them the ideal home for this film.”

In addition to In the Heights, and the upcoming Scream from Spyglass Media and Paramount, Barrera starred in the musical Carmen, and the Netflix series Breathe. She previously starred in the Starz series Vida and the independent film All The World Is Sleeping, which recently premiered at the New York Latino Film Festival. She was recently announced as Clinique’s new Global Ambassador.

Mishel Prada to Star in Starz’s “The Continental,” A Prequel TV Series to Keanu Reeves’ “John Wick” Films

Mishel Prada is headed to The Continental

The 31-year-old Dominican, Mexican and Puerto Rican American actress and former Vida star has been cast as a lead opposite Colin Woodell and Mel Gibson in Starz’s The Continental.

Mishel Prada 

The project is heralded as the prequel to the Keanu Reeves film series John Wick.

The Continental will be presented as a three-night special-event television series, produced for Starz by Lionsgate Television.

Other cast newcomers include Hubert Point-Du JourJessica AllainNhung Kate and Ben Robson.

The Continental will explore the origin behind the hotel-for-assassins, which increasingly has become the centerpiece of the John Wick universe. This will be accomplished through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott (Woodell), who is dragged into the Hell-scape of a 1975 New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind. Winston charts a deadly course through New York’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the iconic hotel, which serves as the meeting point for the world’s most dangerous criminals.

Prada will play KD. Gibson will play a character named Cormac.

Executive producers Greg Coolidge and Kirk Ward are writing the event series and serve as showrunners.

The John Wick trilogy has grossed almost $600 million worldwide. The films have been scripted by Derek Kolstad and directed by Chad Stahelski, and John Wick: Chapter Four is currently shooting in Germany, France and Japan with Reeves reprising his assassin character.

Tanya Saracho Teams Up with America Ferrera & Gloria Calderón Kellett to Launch DEAR Hollywood to Bring Greater Representation of Latinx Voices

There’s a new project near and DEAR to Tanya Saracho’s heart…

The Mexican-American actress, playwright, dramaturge and screenwriter has teamed up with America Ferrera and Gloria Calderón Kellett joined the Untitled Latinx Project and HARNESS that they respectively co-founded to create DEAR Hollywood.

Tanya Saracho

Saracho, Ferrera and Calderon Kellet, three of the most dynamic creators in Hollywood, brought together two of the most preeminent advocacy organizations to further advance Latinx representation and equity in the industry.

With the acronym standing for Demanding Equal Access and Representation, DEAR Hollywood aims to bring greater representation of Latinx voices, stories, talent and creativity on both sides of the camera and on set and in the corner offices in the film and TV industry.

Planting the flags of equity and education, and set for a soft launch this month, the newly minted organization today unveiled its self-declared, and what should be self-evident, “five pillars”:

  1. No stories about us without us
    2.Greenlight our projects
    3. Represent all aspects of our lives and culture
    4. Put a limit on repeating levels
    5. Hire us for non-Latinx projects

To reach those more than reasonable goals, the plan is that over the next year, DEAR Hollywood will liaison with at least five studios and networks, which means streamers too, to secure a commitment to the pillars above as a pathway to systemic and evolutionary shift in the way the industry sees, treats and works with the Latinx community. A varied community, who, it might be noted, make up a not insignificant portion of the U.S. population, and hence significant consumers of the media industry.

“The entertainment industry has admired the problem of Latinx exclusion for long enough,” Ferrera told Deadline of the impetus behind DEAR Hollywood with the Vida and One Day At a Time EPs. “It is time for all of us to turn our good intentions into real action and build true solutions that empower and resource Latinx storytellers,” the Superstore star added on the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month.

A long-time activist, Ferrera co-founded HARNESS in 2016 with Wilmer Valderrama, and Ryan Piers Williams with the goal of using the power and platform of the big and small screen to foster a more just world.

“The rich talent and multi-dimensional experiences within our community are more than worthy of being reflected in their authenticity and full humanity,” Ferrera noted of the goals of the new group. “There is great opportunity for our entire industry in the genuine empowerment of Latinx creators. I am thrilled and honored that Harness is partnering with Untitled Latinx Project to incubate and launch this incredible creator-led initiative to uplift Latinx communities in the stories we see on screen and hire more Latinx talent throughout the entire film and TV industry.”

“It has been one year since we wrote the letter to Hollywood to kick off this initiative and frankly, we haven’t seen the type of response we had hoped for,” exclaimed ULP leaders Saracho and Calderón Kellett bluntly Friday.

“While announcements of diversity, inclusion and equity programs abound, without intentionality and clearly defined action steps, they have little value,” the showrunning duo added. “We are thrilled to work with Harness and eager to collaborate with industry leaders and partners, so we can all move the needle towards Latine inclusion and representation together.”

As well as Saracho and Calderón Kellett, the 2019 formed ULP’s high profile membership includes Leah Benavides-Rodriguez, Tawnya Benavides-Bhattacharya, Linda Yvette Chávez, Valentina Garza, Jenniffer Gómez, Julia Ahumada Grob, Silvia Olivas, Evangeline Ordaz, Sierra Teller Ornelas, Carolina Paiz, Ilana Peña, Dailyn Rodriguez, Gladys Rodriguez, Lindsey Villarreal, Debby Wolfe and Michal Zebede.

Michael Cimino Wins First-Ever Imagen Awards Prize for “Love, Victor”

Michael Cimino is celebrating a special first…

The 2021 Imagen Awards have been announced, with the 21-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor earning the first of his career.

Michael Cimino

The Imagen Awards recognize Latinas and Latinos in the entertainment industry who work both in front of and behind the camera.

Cimino was named Best Actor – Television (Comedy) for his performance on Hulu’s Love, Victor, which was named Best Primetime Program – Comedy.

Mj Rodriguez took home the Best Actress – Television (Drama) award.

The 30-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer won for her performance on FX’s Pose, which was named Best Primetime Program – Drama.

The Best Young Actor – Television award went to Madison Reyes for her work on Netflix’s Julie and the Phantoms, which was named Best Young Adult Programming.

Justina Machado was named Best Voice-Over Actor – Television for PopTV’s One Day at a Time – Animated Special, which was named Best Primetime Program – Special or Movie.

Tanya Saracho took home the Best Director – Television prize for her work on Vida; she also was presented with the The Norman Lear Writer’s Award.

Other winners in the television categories include JD Pardo (Best Actor – Television (Drama)) for his work on Mayans M.C.; Barbie Ferreira (Best Actress – Television (Comedy) for her work on Unpregnant; Colman Domingo (Best Supporting Actor – Television (Drama)) for his work on Euphoria Special: Part 1 Rue; Morena Baccarin (Best Supporting Actress – Television (Drama)) for her work on The Twilight Zone; Harvey Guillén (Best Supporting Actor – Television (Comedy)) for his work on What We Do In The Shadows; and Diana Maria Riva Best Supporting Actress – Television (Comedy)) for her performance on Dead to Me.

Netflix’s Ya No Estoy Aquí was named Best Feature Film, with the film’s helmer Fernando Frías De La Parra taking home the Best Director – Feature Film prize.

Hosted by Aida Rodriguez, Chuey Martinez, Isabella Gomez and Karrie Martin Lachney, the Imagen Awards were announced last night during a live-streamed ceremony.

The 36th annual awards winners were determined by an independent panel of entertainment industry executives and Latina and Latino community leaders.

The theme of this year’s Imagen Awards was “A Celebration of Our Community: Diverse, Talented, and United.” Each year the Awards recognize an array of Latino talent by honoring and celebrating ground-breaking performances, storytelling, and powerful diverse programs.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

FEATURE FILM

Best Feature Film: Ya No Estoy Aquí / I’m No Longer Here (Netflix; Panorama Global for Netflix)

Best Director – Feature Film: Fernando Frías De La Parra, Ya No Estoy Aquí / I’m No Longer Here (Netflix; Panorama Global for Netflix)

Best Actor – Feature Film: Demián Bichir, Land (Focus Features / a Big Beach Production / Flashlight Films)

Best Actress – Feature Film: Aubrey Plaza, Black Bear (Momentum Pictures, an Entertainment One Company; Tandem Pictures, Oakhurst Entertainment & Blue Creek Pictures, in association with Productivity Media and Radiant Films International)

TELEVISION

Best Primetime Program – Drama: Pose (FX; 20th Television)

Best Primetime Program – Comedy: Love, Victor (Hulu; Hulu, 20th Television, Temple Hill)

Best Primetime Program – Special or Movie: One Day at a Time – Animated Special (PopTV; Sony Pictures Television, Act III, Snowpants Productions, GloNation)

Best Director – Television: Tanya Saracho, Vida (STARZ; Big Beach and Chingona Productions in association with Starz Originals)

Best Actor – Television (Drama): JD Pardo, Mayans M.C. (FX Networks; 20th Television and FX Productions)

Best Actress – Television (Drama): Mj Rodriguez, Pose (FX; 20th Television)

Best Actor – Television (Comedy): Michael Cimino, Love, Victor (Hulu; Hulu, 20th Television, Temple Hill)

Best Actress – Television (Comedy): Barbie Ferreira, Unpregnant (HBO Max; HBO Max presents a WarnerMax / PictureStart / Berlanti / Schechter Films production)

Best Supporting Actor – Television (Drama): Colman Domingo, Euphoria Special: Part 1 Rue: “Trouble Don’t Last Always” (HBO; HBO in association with Reasonable Bunch, A24, Little Lamb, Dreamcrew, ADD Content Agency | HOT | Tedy Productions)

Best Supporting Actress – Television (Drama): Morena Baccarin, The Twilight Zone (Paramount+; CBS Studios in association with Monkeypaw Productions and Genre Films)

Best Supporting Actor – Television (Comedy): Harvey Guillén, What We Do In The Shadows (FX; FX Productions)

Best Supporting Actress – Television (Comedy): Diana Maria Riva, Dead to Me (Netflix; CBS Television Studios for Netflix)

Best Young Actor – Television: Madison Reyes, Julie and the Phantoms (Netflix)

Best Voice-Over Actor – Television: Justina Machado, One Day at a Time – Animated Special (PopTV; Sony Pictures Television, Act III, Snowpants Productions, GloNation)

Best Variety or Reality Show: TIE

A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt at The Soraya (PBS; KCET and The Soraya)

Shine True (Fuse; Vice Studios, OUTtv Canada, Fuse Media)

Best Young Adult Programming: Julie and the Phantoms (Netflix)

Best Youth Programming: The Casagrandes (Nickelodeon)

Best Music Composition for Film or Television: Cristobal Tapia de Veer, The Third Day (HBO; HBO in association with Sky Studios, Plan B, and Punchdrunk)

Best Music Supervision for Film or Television: Joe Rodríguez & Javier Nuño, Ya No Estoy Aquí / I’m No Longer Here (Netflix; Panorama Global for Netflix)

Best Documentary: TIE

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado (Netflix; A Netflix Original Documentary / A Muck Media Production in Association with Key Rat, Inc. & Topic Studios)

POV: The Infiltrators (PBS; American Documentary | POV, Pueblo Sight & Sound, Chicago Media Project, Naked Edge Film, 3DMC, Baked Studios, The National Day Laborer Organizing Network)

Best Informational Program: Street Food: Latin America (Netflix; Boardwalk Pictures for Netflix)

Best Short Film: UNLADYLIKE2020: Jovita Idar (PBS American Masters; Unladylike Productions LLC in association with The WNET Group’s American Masters.)

Best Commercial Advertisement or Social Awareness Campaign: Latinos Are Essential (Latino Public Broadcasting; PBS)

The Norman Lear Writer’s Award was presented to playwright and television writer Tanya Saracho. Saracho is the creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series on Starz, Vida.

Tanya Saracho to Make Film Directorial Debut with Adaptation of Her Off Broadway Play “Mala Hierba”

Tanya Saracho is in the (bad) weeds…

The Mexican-American actress, playwright, dramaturge, screenwriter and Vida creator is bringing her 2014 Off Broadway play Mala Hierba to the big screen, and she’ll be directing the film adaptation of her acclaimed project.

Tanya Saracho

In her film directorial debut, Saracho has teamed up with Anonymous Content to adapt the Texas border town set drama.

The film version of Mala Hierba  will be produced by AC Studios, with Dawn Olmstead, David Levine, and Whitney Dibo overseeing the project for outfit.

Former Vida EP Stephanie Langhoff, and Christine Davila, head of development and production at Saracho’s Ojala Productions, will serve as producers on Mala Hierba.

Originally opening at Second Stage Uptown nearly six years ago, the play unravels the coiffured life of a Lone Star State trophy wife who begins to see the cracks in her life of wealth and privilege as her first and perhaps true love reappears. The possibility of a renewed life together for the two women forces the Liliana character to make a searing decision about what she wants and who she is.

The stage production of Mala Hierba was directed by Jerry Ruiz and starred Marta Milans, Sandra Marquez, and Ana Nogueira in the primary roles.

The union with Anonymous comes just over a couple of weeks after the active Saracho launched the Ojalá Ignition Lab in conjunction with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Part of the acclaimed playwright and filmmaker’s 2020 inked development deal with the studio, the incubator program for Latinx voices will provide five writers and their own proposed projects with mentoring from experienced showrunners and EPs, including self-described “den mother” Saracho and an extended network to draw on for the future.

Since Vida, which won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, finished its three-season stint on Starz in May 2020, Saracho stayed in Britain during the pandemic to work with musician and Lovesick actor Johnny Flynn for an upcoming project.