Fresh News 2/3/2022

Posted by on January 31, 2022

FRESH News is here! Learn what trailblazing diverse creatives are up to in the industry!

Jorge Zamanillo Named First Director of the New Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino


Jorge Zamanillo, executive director and CEO of HistoryMiami Museum, has been named founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino. The new museum was established by Congress in December 2020. His appointment is effective May 2. Read more here.

Vadhir Derbez Signs First Look Deal With Pantaya


Vadhir Derbez (How To Be a Latin Lover, Sense8) has signed a multi-year first-look deal with Spanish-language streamer Pantaya.

Under the terms of the deal, the actor-producer will develop and executive produce a slate of original films and TV series for the company. Films developed as part of the deal will be produced in tandem with Pantelion Films, Pantaya’s partner company. Read more here.

Cinedigm Acquires Coming-Of-Age Drama ‘Coast’ Starring Fatima Ptacek, Melissa Leo, Cristela Alonzo, Ciara Bravo & More


Cinedigm has acquired North American rights to Coast, a coming-of-age drama starring Fatima Ptacek (Dora the Explorer), stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo (Cristela), Academy Award winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Ciara Bravo (Cherry), with plans to release it day-and-date in theaters and on VOD on April 8. VMI Worldwide, which is handling international sales and distribution, will rep the film at the Berlin Film Festival when it kicks off on February 10. Read more here

NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde to receive Radio Television Digital News Foundation's 2021 Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award


Cesar Conde, the Chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, will be honored at the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s 31st Annual First Amendment Awards on March 9, 2022. Cesar will receive the 2021 Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award. The award, which is named for the late Broadcasting & Cable senior correspondent, Leonard Zeidenberg, is presented to a radio or television journalist or news executive who has made a major contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms.


Cesar is the first Hispanic to lead a major English-language television news organization, and he is praised for steering, “the nation’s most viewed news organization through a global pandemic, an ensuing economic crisis and historic social unrest, which all unfolded against the backdrop of a complex election cycle.”


The full list of First Amendment Award honorees can be found here.

Univision And Televisa Close $4.8B Spanish-Language Media Merger


Mexico-based Grupo Televisa and Univision have closed their $4.8 billion merger, uniting their vast Spanish-language media and production holdings in the U.S. and Mexico.

The new entity, known as TelevisaUnivision Inc., builds on a previous production alliance created by the companies as they looked to fend off a rising number of rivals aiming at Hispanic viewers in the age of streaming. Read more here.

Hulu Orders ‘Up Here’ Musical Series From Steven Levenson, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Thomas Kail & ‘Frozen’ Duo


Hulu has given an eight-episode series order to Up Here, a musical romantic comedy from Tony-winning Dear Evan Hansen writer Steven Levenson, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (The Carmichael Show); Tony-winning Hamilton director Thomas Kail; and the Oscar, Emmy and Grammy-winning duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Frozen, WandaVision). 20th Television and Kail’s Old 320 Sycamore Productions co-produce the series, which is casting with production set to begin this summer in New York. Read more here.

‘Vida’ Development Alum Bianca Quesada Inks First-Look Deal With Telemundo for Tplus


When Telemundo comes to her mind, the first thing Bianca Quesada thinks about is her grandma’s television set and seeing telenovelas with the same soapy narratives that have been told by the genre for ages. Fast-forward to today, and the “Vida” development alum will be producing unscripted and scripted content for Telemundo that will expand the aperture of the medium, redefining what a telenovela can be. Read more here.

Luiz Guzmán Joins Cast Of Jacquelyn Quinones’ Indie ‘Miles Away’


Luis Guzmán (Boogie Nights, Code Black) has joined the cast of Miles Away, an upcoming indie from writer, director and producer Jacquelyn Quinones.

Miles Away is a dramedy produced by Quinones that explores a day in the life of a rideshare driver, with short vignettes of passengers all feeding into the story of the driver learning to deal with no money, a thankless job and a sister with mental illness. Read more here.

Pantaya, Mexico’s Corazon Films Seal Original Series Production Partnership (EXCLUSIVE)


Pantaya, the fast-growing premiere U.S. Hispanic/Latino SVOD service, has signed a multiyear production partnership with Mexico’s Corazón Films, producer and co-creator of smash hit “El Juego de las Llaves” and the anticipated “Mi Tío,” starring José Eduardo Dérbez and Ariadne Díaz.

Both these series were produced with Amazon and Pantaya. The new production partnership now builds on the Pantaya-Corazón Films relationship, seeing Corazón committing to produce premium original series exclusively for the streamer. Read more here.

Rita Moreno to Be Honored With Stanley Kramer Award at 2022 PGA Awards


Rita Moreno will receive the Stanley Kramer award at this year’s Producers Guild Awards. The Producers Guild of America announced the “West Side Story” star and executive producer as its 2022 honoree on Wednesday morning. Read more here.

Apple Animated Film ‘Luck’ Sets August Release Date, Adds Eva Noblezada and Simon Pegg to Voice Cast


“Luck,” an upcoming animated adventure film from Skydance Animation and Apple Original Films, will premiere on Apple TV Plus on Aug. 5. The studios announced the release date on Wednesday morning, alongside additions to the film’s voice cast.

Directed by Peggy Holmes, “Luck” follows the story of Sam Greenfield, ostensibly the unluckiest person alive. After aging out of foster care, Greenfield embarks on a journey to the Land of Luck, working with a group of magical creatures to change the course of her life. Read more here.

John Leguizamo Says He Avoided the Sun ‘For Years’ to Stay Light-Skinned for Hollywood Roles


John Leguizamo revealed in a conversation with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that he made a deliberate choice in his career to stay out of the sun in order to continue booking roles as a light-skinned Latino actor. The actor said he has long “benefitted from being light-skinned” in Hollywood and addressed issues of colorism within Hollywood and within Latin culture. Read more here.

Fernanda Urrejola, Julio Cesar Cedillo Join Josh Lucas Survival Thriller ‘The Black Demon’ (EXCLUSIVE)


Fernanda Urrejola and Julio Cesar Cedillo will star alongside Josh Lucas in “The Black Demon.” The survival thriller is the latest film from Adrian Grünberg, the director of “Rambo: Last Blood” and “Get the Gringo.” Read more here.

‘Promised Land’ Creator Matt Lopez Talks Bringing the Richness of the Latino Experience to ABC


"Promised Land" creator Matt Lopez sat down with Variety to discuss how the representation of Latinidad and Hispanic heritage on “Promised Land” is like an aromatic glass of the Sandoval vineyard’s wine — rich, complex and nuanced — and the pressures of making sure those notes translate tastefully and authentically on-screen. Read more here.

J Balvin to Lead Docuseries on Mental Wellness for Tplus, Telemundo’s New Content Brand on Peacock


When J Balvin isn’t coming up with clever rhymes or dominating stages across the globe, the Colombian reggaeton sensation is taking care of his mental health. The award-winning worldwide Latino music icon will share revelations about his journey toward mental wellness in a six-part docuseries, produced by Exile Content Studio and NBC News Studios for Tplus, Telemundo’s new content brand on Peacock. Read more here.