Fresh News 7/2/21

Posted by on July 02, 2021

Check out the story behind Janicza Bravo's Zola, Eva Longoria joins the Academy Museum's Board of Trustees, new projects in the works, and much more in this week's fresh news! 

With ‘Zola,’ Janicza Bravo Seeks Space in Comedy for Black Women Filmmakers with an ‘Unusual Lens’

Courtesy of A24

Writer/Director Janicza Bravo follows up her offbeat debut feature, Lemon, with a sensational cinematic rendering of A’Ziah “Zola” King’s now-iconic late 2015 Twitter thread detailing a wacky tale about how two Detroit exotic dancers make an impromptu “hoeism” trip to Florida that goes horribly awry. “It’s kind of long but full of suspense,” Zola cautioned her audience. And so began an odyssey, replete with segues into prostitution, murder, and attempted suicide, which quickly went viral, en route to becoming tragicomic fodder well-suited for a filmmaker who describes her lens as “a little bit unusual.”

A24 releases Zola in a limited theatrical release and VOD on Friday, June 30.


Academy Museum Elects Eva Longoria to Board of Trustees

Courtesy of Academy Museum

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures today announced the election of Eva Longoria to its Board of Trustees. An award-winning actress, director, producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist, Longoria has been leading the charge of diverse and female representation in Hollywood for over twenty years. As the governing body of the Academy Museum, the Board leads the museum toward a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies in addition to securing adequate resources to advance the museum’s mission. 


‘Shelter’: Lisa Vidal, Cam Gigandet, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Carlos Miranda & Sasha Merci To Star In Heist Pic

Lisa Vidal, Cam Gigandet, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Carlos Miranda & Sasha Merci

Natalie Malchev/AP Images/JeanPaul SanPedro/Ben Cope/Todd Rosenberg

Lisa Vidal (The Baker And The Beauty), Cam Gigandet (The O.C.), Jaina Lee Ortiz (Station 19), Carlos Miranda (Vida) and newcomer Sasha Merci (De Lo Mio) are attached to star in crime-action heist feature Shelter.

In pre-production, filming is scheduled to start shortly in Los Angeles on the movie about the head of a secret organization who assembles a crew to steal back artwork from a neo-Nazi billionaire oligarch who plundered it during World War II.

Grandave International is introducing the project to buyers at the 2021 Cannes virtual market and Marché.

Read more on Deadline.

Latino-Owned Fuse Media Launches New Streaming Service Fuse+ Aimed At Empowering Multicultural Millennials

Courtesy of Forbes


The company says the goal is to create a purpose-driven content platform aimed at empowering and inspiring its audience through solution-oriented entertainment. The new streaming platform will feature over 500 hours of original Fuse programming, including bingeable original series, docs and films with "new voices and colorful stories that celebrate, motivate and elevate," which unite the unique cultures that make up a blended America and can positively shift viewers’ perspectives.  


Puerto Rico Open for Business and Luring Big Shoots


Cine Condado Entertainment/Shoreline Entertainment

After swatting back the COVID-19 scourge to some extent, Puerto Rico opened its ports in June 2020. “Our vision at the Puerto Rico Film Commission is to continue to provide incentives that support a film-friendly entrepreneurial environment, for not only local, but also off-shore productions,” said film commissioner Rosi Acosta. Read more on Variety.

Animation's queer women, trans, and nonbinary creatives are pushing gender boundaries in kid's cartoons their counterparts couldn't — or wouldn't dare

LGBT kids show creators surrounded by images of characters from their shows on a green and pink gradient background.

Skye Gould/Insider 

The rise of gender-diverse representation isn't a coincidence. Shows created and run by queer women, trans, and nonbinary showrunners are largely responsible for the influx of nonbinary and trans characters in kids' animation.

Among the 10 animated kids series that feature the most LGBTQ characters, trans, nonbinary and queer creators account for 65% of that representation alone. 

Read more on LGBTQ+ representation in kid's shows here.

‘House Party’ Reboot Adds Melvin Gregg, Rotimi and Allen Maldonado

Courtesy of Variety

Melvin Gregg, Rotimi and Allen Maldonado are the latest stars to join New Line’s reimagining of the 1990 hit comedy House Party, produced by the SpringHill Company for HBO Max. The reimagining of the cult classic, which starred Christopher “Kid” Reid and Christopher “Play” Martin of the hip-hop group Kid ‘n Play, is set to be directed by award-winning music video helmer Calmatic in his feature directorial debut. The movie’s script comes from Emmy-nominated Atlanta duo Stephen Glover and Jamal Olori.


‘A Quiet Place Part II,’ ‘Ginny & Georgia’ Recognized for Disability Representation

Courtesy of Everett Collection

A Quiet Place Part II and Godzilla vs. Kong are among the latest recipients of the Ruderman Family Foundation’s Seal of Authentic Representation, which recognizes movies and television shows that feature actors with disabilities. “It is gratifying to see the two highest-grossing movies of 2021 making authentic representation a priority in their casting,” Jay Ruderman, president of the foundation, said in a statement. “It’s further testament that the entertainment industry is increasingly opening up to disability being an important facet of diversity.”


BeBe Zahara Benet, the First-Ever Winner of 'RuPaul’s Drag Race,' Gets an Adoring Close-Up in Emily Branham's Portrait, Being BeBe.

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

Emily Branham began work on the intimate documentary Being BeBe 15 years ago, before her fabulous subject, BeBe Zahara Benet, became the inaugural winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009. That development provides a compelling peg as we follow the ups and downs of an artist dedicated to promoting Queer Black Excellence through his elaborate shows while at the same time struggling with the nitty-gritty of how to translate a popular reality TV win into a viable entertainment career. By weaving in the conflicts of BeBe’s origins in homophobic Cameroon and the lives of other LGBTQ Africans still living there, the filmmaker tells a unique story.


Danny Ramirez, Dennis Haysbert Lead Ensemble for 20th Century Thriller No Exit

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier actor Danny Ramirez and Dennis Haysbert, perhaps best known for his work on the long-running series 24, lead the ensemble cast of No Exit, a thriller Damien Power is directing for 20th Century Studios. Ramirez co-starred opposite Anthony Mackie in Winter Soldier, Disney+’s Marvel series that is generating Emmy buzz, playing Marvel character Joaquin Torres. The actor, who appeared in Netflix’s well-regarded On My Block, will next appear with Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.


Netflix’s ‘Somos.’ Set to Tell Tragic Story of 2011 Massacre in Allende, Mexico

Courtesy of Netflix

Executive producer James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain) recruited a Latina-led team for the series, including screenplay and research assistant Maynné Cortés, co-writers/executive producers Monika Revilla and novelist Fernanda Melchor, co-director Marianna Chenillo, and executive producer Sandra Solares. The six-episode miniseries tells the stories of the people of Allende, Coahuila, a small ranching town in Mexico, whose lives were upended after a DEA operation went wrong and led to a massacre.

Somos. debuts on Netflix June 30. Four out of six episodes are directed by Alvaro Curiel. 


‘F9’ Pushes Total Weekend Domestic Box Office Closer To $100M, Repping Another Pandemic Record

Courtesy of Deadline

Even with close to 40% of the Canadian box office offline as Ontario remains closed until late July, and the Arclight/Pacific Theatres closed in L.A., the total weekend domestic box office came in at $98.08M per Comscore’s early Sunday AM estimate. Some distributors even have the weekend higher at $99.1M.

It’s a great indication that the domestic marketplace is close to normal pre-pandemic levels, even though 79% of 5,88K US and Canadian theaters are open. At the same time, 44 states are operating without any capacity restrictions.

The last time the weekend box office was this high during the pandemic was over the Friday-Sunday span of the 4-day Memorial Day weekend, which grossed $80.8M.

Read more on Deadline.

J.J. Abrams, Angela Robinson Bringing DC Comics’ ‘Madame X’ to TV at HBO Max

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

The project, which is in the early development stages, will be written and executive produced by Robinson (Professor Marston & the Wonder Women, The L Word).

Sources say Abrams and his Bad Robot partner/wife Katie McGrath personally recruited Robinson to Warner Bros. TV so she could write and supervise Madame X after the latter got to know Robinson through Time’s Up. 


Watch Openly Queer Texas State Rep. Jessica González Visit Latinx Art Space Mercado369 in PBS’s ‘Prideland’


Courtesy of PBS 

To celebrate Pride month, PBS premiered Prideland. a new one-hour special and short-form digital series following host and actor Dyllón Burnside (Pose) on a journey across the South seeing how the United States is changing for LGBTQ people from within. 

During his stop in Dallas, Burnside meets up with Texas State Representative Jessica González to discuss her political career, how she understands her own role as an out politician in the state of Texas and the progress that the LGBTQ caucus in the state can make.


 Black-Owned Media Collective Launches to Help Brands Meet New Ad Commitments


Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal 

Group Black Inc., a collective aimed at deepening the pipeline of Black-owned media companies, launched Tuesday with an ad-spending target of $75 million from a WPP PLC unit. The new collective and business accelerator seeks to attract ad spending from marketers that are trying to diversify where they advertise. The new collective also plans to invest a portion of its revenue to buy equity stakes in Black-owned media companies.


BET Awards: Megan Thee Stallion, Andra Day, Queen Latifah Among Winners as Show Celebrates ‘Year of the Black Woman’

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

The 2021 BET Awards were handed out Sunday night at a live, in-person show that felt like a return to pre-pandemic norms. 

The first winner announced on the telecast was Andra Day, named best actress for her role in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, which earned her an Oscar nom and a Golden Globe award earlier this year.  Queen Latifah was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award and the late Chadwick Boseman was named best actor, while Judas and the Black Messiah was named best movie.