Film News Roundup: ‘The Two Popes’ Wins Audience Award at Miami Festival

In today’s film news roundup, “The Two Popes” wins an audience award, “A Night with Janis Joplin” and “Fittest in Dubai” get releases, Artists First reorganizes, SAG-AFTRA expands its headquarters and Film Fest 919 announces its winners.


Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes” has won the audience award at the Miami Gems Film Festival.

Inspired by a true story, “The Two Popes” stars Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce as the future Pope Francis in a verbal battle of wits over the future direction of the Catholic Church. The film is produced by Netflix, which has scheduled a limited theatrical release on Nov. 27 in the U.S. prior to its release on streaming on Dec. 20.

Festival audiences also chose Bong Joon ho’s dark comedy “Parasite” as first runner-up, with Alma Har’el’s “Honey Boy” and Craig Brewer’s “Dolemite Is my Name” tying for second runner-up. Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” won the Audience last year and went on to receive an Academy Award nomination in the recently re-named Best International Feature Film category.


Popular on Variety

CineLife Entertainment has set a the theatrical release of the Broadway musical, “A Night With Janis Joplin” in U.S. theaters beginning Nov. 5.

“A Night With Janis Joplin” follows the singer’s rise to fame and pays tribute to some of her biggest musical influences including Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith.

The BroadwayHD production is produced by Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley and is directed by David Horn. Mary Bridget Davies, Broadway’s original Janis, stars.


Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights to “Fittest in Dubai,” a documentary produced by Dubai Film and directed by Gerry Blaksley.

The film will be available in theaters and on demand on Nov. 5. It follows athletes as they compete in the Dubai CrossFit Championship. The documentary stars athletes Mat Fraser, Samantha Briggs, Sara Sigmundsdóttir, Laura Horvath, and Jamie Greene.

Tony Piantedosi of Gravitas negotiated the deal with Irene Proimos on behalf of the producers.


E. Brian Dobbins and David Gardner have been named co-presidents of the Artists First management company.

Peter Principato remains CEO of Artists First, which Dobbins has also been a part of for 19 years since its inception. His client list includes Anthony Anderson, Kenya Barris, Tracee Ellis Ross, Niecy Nash, Jon M Chu, Tracy Oliver, Romany Malco and Andre Braugher.

Gardner has been with the company for 16 years and represents Judy Greer, Paulo Costanzo, Ken Marino, Tyler Labine, Diedrich Bader, Stella Maeve, Eriq La Salle, Malina Weissman, Sara Rue and Alyson Hannigan. Artists First is in a partnership and a part of Ben Silvermans and Howard Owens Propagate.


SAG-AFTRA has finalized planning for its new digital media facilities and on-camera lab located at the national headquarters office at SAG-AFTRA Plaza in Los Angeles.

The facilities will include additional classrooms equipped for web streaming, livestreaming and distance learning; an audio-visual recording and training studio for the production of SAG-AFTRA educational videos, podcasts and member on-camera work; conference, screening and meeting facilities; the launch of a series of informational talks on technology innovation; and the creation of a dedicated member on-camera lab to be administered by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “This is a meaningful moment for SAG-AFTRA and our members. We are creating a facility on our new second floor that is dedicated to serving our members in the Los Angeles Local and nationwide. It is being built with the understanding that our industry is evolving and we must be ready – with vision, innovation, imagination and preparation.”


Film Fest 919 has selected Bong Joon Ho’s dark comedy “Parasite” as its audience award winner in its second year.

“Parasite,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, is Korea’s entry for the Academy Awards’ Best International Feature category. The first runner up award went to Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Just Mercy” and second runner up went to Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes.” The festival is held in Chapel Hill, N.C., and founded by industry veterans Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall, along with Program Director Claudia Puig.

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