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Former CinemaChile Head Constanza Arena Launches Agencia La Luz  (EXCLUSIVE)

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In a groundbreaking move, Constanza Arena, the former executive director of CinemaChile, has established Agencia La Luz, an agency and project incubator that will represent in international markets many of Chile’s foremost writing, directing and acting talents.

Many writers are connected to Chile’s fast-growing premium drama/audio scene. Julio Rojas, one Agencia La Luz client, created and wrote “Case 63,” Spotify’s most-listened-to scripted original podcast in Latin America, with an English-language version I the works starring Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac, and co-wrote Pablo Fendrik’s Latino sci-fi series ‘The Shelter,’ from Starzplay, Pantaya, Fabula, Fremantle. 

Enrique Videla and Paula del Fierro co-wrote Lucia Puenzo’s “La Jauría” for Fabula and Fremantle, while Videla, one of Chile’s biggest go-to scribes, co-wrote “Dignity” for Germany’s Joyn, “42 Days of Darkness” for Fabula and Netflix,  “The Shelter” and “The Cliff” for The Mediapro Studio. 

Agencia La Luz’s director lineup likewise takes in largely young on-the-rise talent which has broken out with early movies.  Actor-turned-director Manuela Martelli made an impressive feature debut as a helmer with “1976” which world premiered at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this year, scoring 100% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Julio Rojas, Paula del Fierro and Enrique Videla

Courtesy of Agencia de Luz

Theo Court’s second feature, “White on White,” won the Venice Horizons best director award, and was chosen as Chile Oscar entry.  

A brace of La Luz talents have been swooped on by  “Spencer” producer Fabula, Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín’s premium movie and series production powerhouse, to lead titles for major streamers.  

Pepa San Martin, who won the Berlin Festival’s Generation Kplus Grand Prix and San Sebastians Horizontes Latinos with her debut “Rara,” is now co-directing with Sergio Castro (“La Mujer de Barro”), another Luz client, “Llévame al cielo,” from Fábula and Disney+s first series to be shot entirely in Chile.   

Of actors, Paula Luchsinger headlines Pablo Larrain’s next movie “El Conde”; Renata Gonzalez Spraljic heads “Llévame al cielo.”

Further clients take in Alejandro Goic, a regular in the films of Fernando Guzzoni,  a Venice Horizons Award winner this month for “Blanquita”; Julio Jorquera, who has directed episodes of  “News of a Kidnapping,” produced for Prime Video by AGC Studios and Invercine&Wood; and Alondra Valenzuela and Sara Becker, stars of Lone Sherfig’s “La Contadora De Películas.”

Renata Gonzales. Alejandro Goic and Paula Luchsinger 

Courtesy of Agencia de Luz

Agencia La Luz will represent its clients on third-party productions but also help generate and package projects which it will take to the international market, Arena told Variety.

“We will represent talent inn front of and behind the camera,” Arena said. “We’re looking to export talents and internationalize careers, develop ideas and businesses, connect people and projects. We’ll accompany, orientate, advise and guide careers, ideas and works,” she added.

La Luz’s talent can benefit from Arena’s far-ranging network of contacts, one of the broadest of any executive in Latin America, run up from 2012 to this year through her work as executive director of CinemaChile, which she built up into one of Latin America’s most formidable international film-TV promotion orgs.  

Market factors also play in Agencia La Luz’s favor. Currently, there is a feeding frenzy in most major markets for top-class talent. For the last 15 years and more, Chile has punched way above its weight producing a long litany of major festival film winners and now producing artistically ambitious drama series for streamers and super-indies around the world. 

In a new streamer environment, the Spanish-speaking world is emerging as the biggest accesible language market on earth, accounting for nine of Netflix’s top 20 non-English series and movies. Most of La Luz’s talent list is still young or very young in professional terms and its ambitions, given the small size of Chile’s market, take in success abroad. 

Manuella Martelli, Theo Court and Pepa San Martin

Courtesy of SSIFF / Agencia de Luz



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Oprah Winfrey Shares the Greatest Lesson She Took From Her 25-Year Talk Show: ‘We Want to Know We Matter’

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Oprah Winfrey delivered an inspiring speech to close out Variety’s Power of Women dinner, presented by Lifetime. Winfrey was honored at the event alongside her “Queen Sugar” partner Ava DuVernay, both of whom turned the OWN series into a launching pad for female directors. Winfrey championed “Queen Sugar” for “defining the OWN network” and for “reflecting black families.”

“We are all looking for the same thing,” Winfrey said. “This is the one lesson I came away from doing ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ The common denominator of our experiences is that we all want to know that we matter and we want a show that reflects our values.”

Winfrey was introduced by DuVernay, who spoke about their experience creating the OWN drama series “Queen Sugar,” which made history with the duo’s decision to exclusively hire women to direct the series’ 7-season, 88-episode run. The show employed 42 women directors, seven of whom — Shaz Bennett, Kat Candler, Patricia Cardoso, DeMane Davis, Aurora Guerrero, Stacey Muhammad and Victoria Mahoney — walked the red carpet in solidarity with Winfrey and DuVernay and still more “Queen Sugar” helmers took the stage before Winfrey gave her rousing speech.

“It’s groundbreaking what they’ve done,” Winfrey said of the show’s directors. “When I came back from opening my school, I was sitting with Maya Angelou and I said, ‘Maya, oh my God, you should have been there for the opening of the school because that school is going to be my greatest legacy.’ She said, ‘You have no idea what your legacy is going to be.’ I said, ‘Oh no, I think it’s really gonna be those girls.’ And she said, ‘I said, ‘You have no idea what your legacy is going to be because your legacy is never one thing. Your legacy is every life you touch.’ And so I think of every story, every show, every life that has been touched because of the idea that [Ava] had [to hire women directors].”

In their Power of Women cover story, Winfrey and DuVernay discussed the origins of their daring “Queen Sugar” mandate.

“I remember getting the call from Ava saying, ‘I have this idea: What if we just have all women directors?’” Winfrey said. “I go, ‘All women directors? Can we do that?’ Ava goes, ‘Yeah, we can do that.’”

DuVernay chimed in, “Because you own the network.”

In DuVernay’s estimation, Winfrey’s OWN was key to making this work. 

“These were all real things that we heard: ‘It won’t last.’ ‘There aren’t enough women directors to do it.’ ‘This is just a fluke,’” DuVernay recalled. “But seven seasons later, this has become a real movement in episodic directing that will reverberate through our industry for many years to come.”

With the seventh and final season of “Queen Sugar” underway on OWN, the pair also examined the show’s legacy.

“The fact that this is the longest-running dramatic television series that centers a Black family really says something about the state of American television over the history of the medium,” DuVernay shared.

Noting the dearth of these dramas, she added: “We have to ask: ‘Why has this not happened? Why has this not been launched and nurtured? Why has it not been seen and celebrated?’ These are all questions that I think our industry should be looking at. As ‘Queen Sugar’ goes away, what’s in its place?”



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10 Best Movies for New Couples To Watch Together

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Movies are a great way for couples to strengthen a budding relationship with their partner, whether it’s a horror film like Jordan Peele’s Nope or a heartwarming animated adventure like Pixar’s Lightyear. Through movies, new couples can spend some good quality time together while watching interesting characters discover themselves, go on exciting adventures, and find true love.


From the romantic comedy film Begin Again to the jukebox musical movie Mamma Mia!, there are some movies that are best enjoyed by couples who have just started their romantic journey together.

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Begin Again (2013)

Stream On Netflix

There’s a harmonious balance between music and drama in the 2013 film Begin Again. In the movie, Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo), a successful record label executive who is way past his prime, tries to sign a budding songwriter from England named Gretta James (Keira Knightley).

The movie has won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for Lost Stars, which is arguably one of the most romantic songs in film history. Even though the film does not feature a romantic relationship between its two leads, new couples will surely relate to the dynamic of the main characters who try their best to help each other with their personal woes.

The Notebook (2004)

Stream On Netflix & HBO Max

Based on a novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook is a movie about a couple who lose touch early in their relationship but later again to continue their romance. The movie’s lead roles are played by Hollywood icons Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

The movie might have been riddled with melodramatic clichés, but there’s no doubt that the film will surely make new couples feel warm inside. The two stars give an astounding and inspiring performance as a couple to boot. In fact, some movie buffs consider Gosling and McAdams’ pairing as one of the best examples of effective on-screen chemistry in film.

Happy Death Day (2017)

Stream On FuboTV & FXNow

Jessica Rothe and Ruby Modine in Happy Death Day

Slasher films are a great movie genre for couples who like a little thrill in their lives. In Happy Death Day, a college student named Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) finds out that she’s stuck in a time loop that resets whenever she dies. Unfortunately for her, she’s stuck with a murderer hiding behind a baby mask in the time loop.

Happy Death Day attempts to shake up the slasher genre by putting a fun sci-fi spin on its story, which will surprise couples who want to see a thrilling flick together. Couples who want to find out what happens to Tree after the events of the movie can also watch its sequel together, Happy Death Day 2U, making for a thrilling date night.

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Stream On Starz

The popular jukebox musical by Catherine Johnson finally makes it to the silver screen with the 2008 movie adaptation of the same name. The movie features an endearing story between a bride-to-be, her mom, and her three presumed fathers. The movie also has some of the catchiest songs from the beloved Swedish pop group ABBA.

Mamma Mia! is an accessible film for couples that want to get into musicals together due to its heartwarming story and iconic pop songs. While the film does get some flack for its campy tone and underwhelming vocals, many viewers still found it a fun movie to watch and even consider it better than the original stage show.

Lost in Translation (2003)

Stream On Tubi

Lost In Translation

Directed by Sofia Coppola, Lost In Translation follows a movie star played by Bill Murray, who travels to Japan to take a job as his spotlight has dimmed. There, he meets a college graduate, played by Scarlett Johansson, and the two eventually start a friendship.

The movie touches on topics like cultural displacement, alienation, and loneliness – heavy themes that new couples might find interesting to discuss and dissect. Couples might also relate to Lost In Translation as it explores a novel connection between an unlikely pair. Despite the melancholic atmosphere of Lost In Translation, Coppola is still able to imbue the film with tender humor, allowing the viewers to laugh at the characters’ plights while also empathizing with them.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Stream On Starz

Steve Carell on The 40-Year-Old Virgin poster

Judd Apatow has directed a lot of comedy films, but The 40-Year-Old Virgin remains one of his most popular flicks. The movie follows Andy (Steve Carell), an electronics store employee and the titular virgin who receives help from his friends in order to find a woman he likes and finally lose his virgin status.

Andy meets and starts dating a customer named Trish (Catherine Keener). The movie received a lot of praise for the excellent performance of its cast, sweet narrative, and incredibly likable characters. New couples looking for a fun movie to watch will surely laugh together at Andy’s antics and sympathize with his woes.

Couples Retreat (2009)

Stream On Peacock Premium, DIRECTV, & Sling

Couples Retreat is a fun comedy film for couples who are looking for gut-busting movie sequences and sizzling one-liners. The movie showcases four couples who are all riddled with their own problems and issues, and in one couple’s attempt to save their marriage, they invited the other three pairs to a couples resort therapy named Eden.

The movie features a stellar cast with actors like Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell, and Vince Vaughn, all of whom have supreme comedic chops and can easily make couples laugh with the way they deliver their hilarious lines. Couples Retreat can provide new couples with an insightful look at the issues they might face in the long term.

Iron Man (2008)

Stream On Disney+

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s phase one started with the 2008 superhero film Iron Man. The movie explores how Tony Stark started his superhero journey and became one of the most recognizable superhero characters in film history.

Iron Man was received warmly for its impressive special effects, for its strong lead actor, and for successfully reinvigorating the superhero movie genre. The film is a great introduction to the wide world of comic book films and couples who find themselves interested in the MCU thanks to Iron Man can enjoy the best films the MCU has to offer.

A Star Is Born (2018)

Available To Rent On Amazon Prime Video

The most recent iteration of the 1937 romance film A Star Is Born stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the lead roles. The movie is about the romance between a famous musician who suffers from alcohol addiction and a young singer who soon finds mainstream success.

The movie showcases an enlightening performance from Gaga, who shows that she’s more than just a pop star. It’s also a good pick for couples who want to watch a movie together as it features the beginning and tragic end of a beautiful but strained relationship. The movie received several Academy Awards nominations, including a Best Actress nomination for Gaga.

Your Name (2016)

Available To Rent On Amazon Prime Video

Makoto Shinkai is a Japanese animator and filmmaker who’s most known for his sentimental films. His 2016 film Your Name is about two teenagers in different timelines who inexplicably switch bodies. Because of their predicament, they also form a connection and bond.

The movie’s animation is breathtaking and Shinkai manages to entertain audiences with its endearing tale about destiny, youth, and tradition. Your Name is a good introduction for couples who want to veer away from what Hollywood offers and explore the vibrant world of Japanese animation.

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Elizabeth Olsen Says Her Next Battle Is Fighting Sexual Abuse on the Internet

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Elizabeth Olsen may save the day in Marvel films, but on Wednesday evening she highlighted her own hero: Gail Abarbanel, the founder and director of the Rape Foundation and Stuart House.

In her speech at Variety’s Power of Women event presented by Lifetime, Olsen spoke passionately about Abarbanel, also in attendance, and the Los Angeles organization that the activist founded nearly five decades ago.

“When I learned about tonight, I asked Gail if there is anything that she would like to do next with the foundation, because in my mind she’s already thought of everything. She said, ‘Yes, to stop sexual abuse on the internet,’” Olsen said. “To me that sounded very, very big and maybe impossible. But if you were to ask her what she wanted to create in 1974, I think that would have also sounded just as big and impossible.”

Olsen recalled her first meeting with Abarbanel, who founded Stuart House after recognizing how poor support networks for sexual abuse victims were during her time as a social worker in Santa Monica. The organization has since become an internationally renowned model for child advocacy centers, providing a place where children who have been sexually assaulted are provided free medical, legal and psychological care.

Olsen first met Abarbanel in 2015, when she received a tour of Stuart House and its facilities.

“I learned about all the ways that Stuart House has managed to fill a need in a system that can otherwise be so damaging to child victims,” Olsen said. “Without a program like Stuart House, it’s not unheard of for a child to have to go to as many as six different agencies to report their abuse and sit through interviews by professionals with no training whatsoever on how to work with children. At Stuart House, they provide in-house police detectives, prosecutors, child advocates, therapists and forensic services to help expedite investigations and child protection actions.”

Olsen also took a moment to describe the volunteer work she does for Stuart House, which involves working alongside carefully vetted adults as they welcome and engage with children waiting for appointments, providing a safe, comfortable space for victims.

“I don’t say this lightly, but the kids who come to Stuart House really love coming… There’s a boy who is 5 who’s been with us for the last three months and he started coming early just because he wants to play with our magnetic tiles,” Olsen shared. “Ultimately he’s having a positive association with the people and the place where he is receiving treatment — treatment that will ultimately be life-saving for his future. And his future is one of many that Gail has helped transform.”



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