L.A Latino International Film Festival Announces Full Slate

The full lineup for this year’s Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF)  has been released. The festival is set to take place June 2 – 6 with both in-person and virtual screenings.

As previously announced, a Special Preview Screening of “In the Heights” will take place on June 4 at the TCL Chinese Theatre and the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood.

“As we begin to finally see some normalcy in our lives, we are thrilled to be able to commemorate our 20th anniversary by bringing Angelenos together, safely, to celebrate our community of talented storytellers that so need our support,” says Edward James Olmos. “This past year has been hard for everyone, and we are excited to continue to support and provide a platform to these creators that despite all odds, continued to create art.”

The program will open with the World Premiere of “7th & Union.” The film, a Broken English production, is directed by Anthony Nardolillo and features Mexican actor Omar Chaparro in the leading role. “7th and Union” tells the story of an unlikely ally, a broken promise and an improbable chance to inspire two men to use their old passions to pursue their dream of providing a brighter future for their family. Opening night will take place on June 2 and will screen at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

The film is financed by Ruben Islas’ Grandave Capital.

Lissette Feliciano’s directorial debut and coming-of-age drama, “Women is Losers,” set in working-class San Francisco of the 60’s, will close the festival on Sunday, June 6 and will screen at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. The film stars “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s” Lorenza Izzo and follows the story of a once-promising catholic schoolgirl who rises above the oppression of poverty and invests in a future for herself setting new precedents for the time. Simu Liu also stars in the film.

“Something Blue,” the debut feature by  Panamanian filmmaker Mariel García-Spooner,  “Papi” by Noelia Quintero (Dominican Republic), and the US premiere of the Colombian documentary “Between Fire & Water” by Viviana Gómez Echeverry will also feature as part of the lineup.

“After such a challenging year LALIFF comes stronger than ever, with a diverse program that is testament to the creativity and resilience of our artists. Our combination of in-person and virtual events is designed to enhance our viewership experience and to ensure that everyone can enjoy the rich offering of films, episodics, music and art that we have carefully curated,” said Diana Cadavid, LALIFF’s Artistic Director.

The LALIFF will launch its inaugural Animation Day, including its first-ever Animated Shorts Program. The program will be Presented by Cartoon Cartoons. Events kick off on June 3, with the debut and Q&A of Crypt TV’s first animated horror drama for Facebook Watch, “Woman in the Book.”

Diane Warren Documentary in the Works at XTR

XTR announced a new feature film documentary on songwriter Diane Warren is in the works.

The 12-time Oscar nominee whose work has featured in over 100 movies has collaborated with artists such as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, Snoop Dogg, Celine Dion and Aerosmith.

The feature film documentary will include never-before-seen archival footage and intimate interviews  with Warren for a firsthand insight into her career.

Bess Kargman, known for her Sports Emmy nominated, PGA Award winning documentary series :Defying Gravity: The Untold Story of Women’s Gymnastics,” is on board to direct. Bryn Mooser, Kathryn Everett and Justin Lacob for XTR, Todd Garner/Broken Road (“All My Life”)  and Risa Shapiro will executive produce.

“With the popularity of music documentaries exploding, it’s finally time to tell the story of this prolific and legendary songwriter who has powered many superstars to the top of the charts. Diane Warren is one of the most prodigious, accomplished songwriters of our time,” said Justin Lacob, Head of Development at XTR. “This documentary gives an intimate look at all aspects of her life and career to pay homage to an unparalleled talent in the music and entertainment industry.”

“Having worked with Diane on four of the movies of her Oscar nominated songs, I have such a deep appreciation and love of Diane and her unparalleled talent,” said Todd Garner, executive producer. “I am truly excited for the rest of the world to see not only her process, but to dig deeper into where these incredible songs come from.”

“Diane’s impact on our culture has been profound and transcends generations of music fans — I remember (with great fondness) singing her hit songs a cappella as a college student,” said Bess Kargman. “It is an honor to chronicle her inspiring story and document the life and career of the most prolific songwriter of our time for this film.”

“I know there are a lot of music documentaries, but this is the first one about me! I am looking forward to ‘turning back time’ (see what I did there) and sharing my story. There will be looking back and there will also be looking forward, which to me is always the most exciting part,” said Warren.

Laverne Cox Advocates for Helping LGBTQIA Homeless

Laverne Cox has been given the inaugural RAD Impact Award – which is funded by Luxury Stores at Amazon – and has chosen to share the prize with the non-profit organization APAIT.

Cox chose Kadence King as her Honoree. King is a Black trans woman who has benefitted from bridge housing provided by APAIT and is now “thriving not surviving” in Los Angeles. Their RAD Impact Award will provide a safe and loving home at Casa de Zulma for 32 LGBTQ homeless individuals in Los Angeles.

Cox who recently appeared in “Promising Young Woman” recalls, “I remember my dear friends asked me to do a video conversation for APAIT, an organization here in Los Angeles that services, the LGBTQ+ community, she wanted me to talk about mental health.”

Casa de Zulma” is the first-ever publicly funded Enhanced Bridge Housing project for transgender women in Los Angeles County. Cox met the Trans women who lived there and says, “I was deeply moved by it. When RAD approached me, I said, ‘What can we do?’”

She knew the money from RAD could help Casa de Zulma with their efforts of even giving access to trans women who may need something as simple as a computer to apply for a job.

On the issue of homelessness and house, Cox says there is a bigger issue with house and property values. “There’s not an investment in affordable housing. When people try to build it in certain neighborhoods, there are huge protests because people don’t want their property values to disintegrate.” Adds Cox, “We have to get honest with ourselves about how we think about our property value, and in relationship to affordable housing, and trying to make our politicians accountable. Do we want affordable housing anywhere but in our neighborhood, or do we care about getting people off the street?”

To improve the housing situation and make affordable housing a reality, Cox says, “We have to do better.”

Learn More about RAD Advocacy on their website, and APAIT here.

Michelle Visage Documentary ‘Explant’ to Premiere at Tribeca at Home


World of Wonder

“Explant,” an eye-opening documentary about Michelle Visage and her experience with breast enlargement surgery will have its world premiere at Tribeca at Home in June.

Produced by World of Wonder (“RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures”) the documentary examines the #1 cosmetic surgery in the world today – breast enlargement.

Michelle Visage, who is a judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has had breast implants most of her adult life, believes they are making her sick – and she’s not alone. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of women have come forward with similar beliefs, clashing with the medical establishment’s claims that implants are completely safe.

The film follows  Visage on her personal journey to have her implants removed. It also takes a deep dive into the stranger-than-fiction history of the breast implant. From interviews with the first-ever recipient of the modern-day implant to a confession from a whistleblower, the film shows how complications and auto-immune issues have shadowed implants for decades – and why the medical establishment is reluctant to warn patients of these risks.

“Explant” is produced by World of Wonder co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey and directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Jeremy Simmons, with executive producers Michelle Visage and David Case.

 ‘The 355’ Moves Up Release Date, The Jessica Chastain Starrer Will Open a Week Early

Universal Pictures has announced “The 355” will open a week earlier, moving up a week to Jan 7, 2022. The film was originally slated for Jan. 14.

Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz and Bingnbing Fan star in the globe-trotting espionage drama. Simon Kinberg (writer-director-producer of “Dark Phoenix”) helms the film.  The screenplay is by Theresa Rebeck (“NBC’s Smash”) and Kinberg, from a story by Rebeck.

“The 355”  is produced by Chastain and Kelly Carmichael for Chastain’s Freckle Films and by Kinberg for his Kinberg Genre Films. The film is executive produced by Richard Hewitt, Esmond Ren and Wang Rui Huan.

The thriller also stars  Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, Édgar Ramirez and Sebastian Stan.

RLJE Films Acquires North American rights to Ted Bundy Thriller ‘No Man of God’

RLJE Films has acquired the North American rights to the Ted Bundy thriller “No Man of God.”

Based on real transcripts and conversations between serial killer  Bundy and FBI Agent Bill Hagmaier, the film explores Hagmaier’s interrogation of  Bundy.

Directed by Amber Sealey (“No Light”), Elijah Wood, Luke Kirby (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Aleksa Palladino (“The Irishman”) and Robert Patrick (“Terminator 2”) all star in the film. Kit Lesser pens the screenplays.

“‘No Man of God’ explores a familiar subject through a different lens. Through the brilliant direction of Amber Sealey, the film poses challenging questions about the dangers of our obsession with serial killers like Bundy,” Company X/SpectreVision CEO Lisa Whalen said. “RLJE Films immediately recognized what was special about this film. We’re thrilled to be working with them again.”

The film was produced by Wood, Daniel Noah, Lisa Whalen and Kim Sherman. Ward and Jess De Leo of RLJE Films negotiated the deal with Whalen and Stacy Jorgensen on behalf of Company X / SpectreVision and the filmmakers.

RJLE Films acquired the film ahead of its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. XYZ Films is handling international sales on the film.

Charli XCX Documentary to Close Inside Out Film Festival

Toronto’s 2021 Inside Out film festival will take place online from May 27 to June 6. The 2SLGBTQ+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) fest will open with Natalie Morales’ “Language Lessons,” which picked up the audience award at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Closing Inside Out will be the Charli XCX documentary “Alone Together.” A total of 143 films, including 33 features and five episodic series, fill the lineup for this year’s programming.

Other highlights include the Zachary Quinto-narrated “Yes, I Am: The Ric Weiland Story,” about queer computer programmer Rich Weiland, and “Drag Invasion,” a doc about an LGBTQ community in Peru that is inspired to mobilize while watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The Sundance Audience Award-winning “Ma Belle, My Beauty” will also be show,n as will the premiere of Wes Hurley’s autobiographical dark comedy “Potaro Dreams of America.”

“Having pulled off the 30th anniversary COVID Edition in October 2020, our team has worked tirelessly to bring us a stellar festival line-up and return to our sweet spot on the May calendar,” Inside Out executive director Lauren Howes said in a statement. Director of programming Andrew Murphy added, “This past year hasn’t been easy. We miss you, and we miss our filmmaking family around the world. That’s why we set out to curate a festival to help us all feel something, and maybe feel a little less alone.”


2G Digital Post Expands Localization Business

2G Digital Post has acquired the operating assets and intellectual property of Sub-Techs, a premier localization company; and its launch of a new, wholly-owned localization subsidiary in India called 2G Localization.

This latest expansion will add over 500 contract translators in more than 25 countries, capable of working in 40 languages and dialects to the 2G family. Sub-Techs has been an operating partner of 2G for nearly three years.

“We are delighted to announce the further expansion of our localization business,” says 2G President and CEO Jordan Jacobs. “These steps will enable us to further expand our capabilities in foreign language translation, subtitling, voice dubbing and metadata localization. It will allow us to provide a truly end-to-end service offering to our clients, something that we recognize is becoming an increasingly critical component to their operational success in the global distribution of their content.”

“We are also passionate about the security of our client’s content,” Jacobs adds. “We are working diligently to ensure that the highest standard of security protocols, which we’ve instituted in our other services over the years, get equally applied here, while taking into account and addressing the unique challenges that a distributed localization workforce brings.”

Casting Society of America Announces “Closer To Equity: Deconstructing The Asian Narrative” Initiative

The Casting Society of America today announced their initiative “Closer To Equity: Deconstructing The Asian Narrative,” which includes two virtual Town Halls with round table conversations and events as part of CSA’s Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative.

The events will take place throughout Asian Pacific American Heritage Month beginning May 10 through May 28.

“The Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative follows the huge success of CSA’s Equity In Entertainment Initiatives for Black, Trans & Non-binary actors; Performers with Disabilities, Seniors, NAIA (Native American and Indigenous Actors) and MENASA (Middle Eastern, North African & South Asian) actors, offering an opportunity for these underrepresented actors to be seen, as well as a chance for our global CSA membership to become more familiar with their work,” says Russell Boast, CSA, Co-President. “Empowering Casting Directors by giving them the tools to cast authentically will create a ripple effect through the industry that will result in more opportunities for underrepresented actors and filmmakers in front of and behind the camera.”

Asian Visibility through An Industry Lens and The Groundwork will center around conversations with industry creatives around visibility.

“Being half Asian, I felt I half belonged – not quite fitting the narrative wherever I went. The principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and the processes and framework supporting the present systems need to continue to be examined if we want to create a world where underrepresented groups feel they belong. Speaking candidly from a place of vulnerability, and listening from a place of openness, with a strong desire to “do better” in action is how we expedite the change we need to achieve a more equitable industry where we all belong,” said Caroline Liem, CSA, VP of Advocacy.

“As part of the national reckoning on racial justice, the entertainment industry must continue to have honest and candid conversations on racial and gender bias, as well as be willing to admit that it CAN do better. I am honored and excited to help guide this critical conversation during AAPI Heritage Month,” Lee Ann Kim, former TV news anchor and reporter, founder of Pacific Arts Movement added.

Derek Cianfrance Boards ‘His Name Is Ray’ as Executive Producer

Writer and director, Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine”) has jumped on board as Executive Producer on a new feature documentary “His Name Is Ray” directed by Michael Del Monte, award-winning filmmaker of “Transformer.”

“His Name is Ray” sprang from an impulse by Del Monte who repeatedly encountered the same homeless person for the duration of a traffic light. He was lean and amiable and often clearly suffering.

“I always prayed the light would turn green so I wouldn’t have to confront him,” filmmaker Del Monte says. “But one day, I felt compelled to get out of the car and talk to him. He told me his name was Ray. After getting to know each other, he invited me to follow him on his journey to get off the streets and one day return to the water. He used to be a sailor. I followed Ray single-handedly for eight months. We’re often bombarded with stats on the homeless/opioid crisis. But before understanding the problem, we have to understand the people. The film begs the audience to have the courage to look “Ray” in the eye and see our shared human experience. We all have addictions and we all have dreams.

“This film doesn’t present easy answers, rather it asks huge questions,” says Cianfrance. “There’s a scene near the end of the film where Ray walks through a crowd of people who are going to a concert. Ray wonders who they are going to see, and so he starts asking people, “who’s playing?”, and just about everybody ignores him. He has truly become an invisible man. As I was watching I was screaming at the screen – “look at him!” – maybe I was saying this to myself as well…. and this sums up why I love and believe in this film so much. It’s because Michael looked at him. And because of his courage, it allows us all as viewers to have that courage too. And to have empathy for others. And isn’t that what the world needs now more than anything?”


“His Name is Ray” is currently being offered as a Special Presentation screening, digitally available across Canada via Hot Docs Cinema and to their members, until May 27.