Entertainment

Award-Winning Guatemalan Actor, Enrique Salanic, Couldn’t Attend His Film Premiere In NYC

Award-winning Guatemalan film ‘José’ is about to make its US theatrical premiere in L.A. and New York. But thanks to US travel restrictions, its leading actor Enrique Salenic won’t be allowed to enter the country for the film’s release.

The Guatemalan actor is the star of the award-winning film “José”

“José,” directed by Chinese-born American filmmaker Li Cheng, won multiple awards internationally during the international film festival season in 2018-2019, including the prestigious Queer Lion award at the 75th Venice Film Festival.

Guatemalan actor Enrique Salanic has been blocked from entering the United States ahead of the U.S. premiere of the film in which he is the star.

The fast-rising, U.S.-educated actor earned strong reviews for his lead performance in the Venice 2018 premiere as an impoverished 19-year-old gay man who lives with his mother and falls in love for the first time. 

Made in a neorealist cinematic tradition, the film is described in a press release as “a nuanced and vivid look at being gay in Central America.” 

‘José’ follows the eponymous character of the film, a closeted 19-year-old who lives an impoverished life with his mother, a street vendor, in Guatemala City. Guatemala, and most of Latin America for that matter, is a place dominated by conservative Catholic and Evangelical Christian religious values. When he meets an attractive migrant from the Caribbean coast, he finds himself falling in love for the first time; the relationship pushes him to rethink his repressed life, and before long he is contemplating a drastic change that will require a leap of faith he is still reluctant to take.

The film premiered in New York on Jan. 31.

And it’s premiered in Los Angeles one week later. Salanic has traveled widely in support of “José,” attending the Lido and festivals in Spain and Panama but the U.S. appears to be a step too far.

The U.S. embassy rejected his visa application twice. 

Efforts to bring Salanic to the U.S. have proved fruitless after the U.S. embassy in the Central American country rejected his non-immigrant visa applications. The embassy argued Salanic, who lives with his parents in Guatemala, could be a flight risk were he to enter the U.S. as he does not have a residence in Guatemala.

The premiere should have been a celebratory occasion for the film’s star.

The young newcomer named Enrique Salanic, should be celebrating the great success of his debut appearance. But instead it has become a senseless bureaucratic nightmare, the latest demonstration on the world stage of the current draconian stance on immigration and travel.

The actor’s first application was denied in November.

Salanic’s first visa application was made in November according to Paul Hudson, head of the film’s U.S. distributor, Los Angeles-based Outsider Pictures; the embassy rejected it, arguing that Salanic could be a flight risk if he were to enter the US. 

Hudson then sought the aid of Congressman Ted Lieu.

Congressman Lieu, wrote a personal letter on behalf of the young actor which was submitted with a second application. That request was also denied, with no apparent consideration of the congressman’s letter. According to Screen Daily, a copy of the embassy’s original rejection letter states that a requirement of a successful visa application is a residence in a foreign country which the applicant “has no intention of abandoning,” before going on to write, “You have not demonstrated that you have the ties that will compel you to return to your home country after your travel to the United States.”

Hudson, head of the film’s U.S. distributor, had something to say.

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#Repost @jose_movie • • • • • • OCTOBER premieres > PHILIPPINES > MEXICO > DENMARK > GERMANY > (SINGAPORE cancelled: gov’t censorship) + USA festivals > Tampa FL > Seattle WA > Rochester NY > Duke University / UNC Chapel Hill NC ver/see trailer: https://youtu.be/BosKW_Zspgs Venice film festival Queer Lion award + best film in Boston, Mumbai, Honolulu – "festival favorite" premieres: 35+ countries Guatemalteco cast + crew – CDMX post-production sigue a Jose y comparte con tus amigos: detalles completos que se publicarán pronto: peli en español ‘José’, una historia épica de amor en Guatemala: https://tinyurl.com/y6rr4gub confident visual sense.. tender, transfixing – The Hollywood Reporter magical.. deceptively simple, sexually frank, honest – Screen Daily raw and authentic – Remezcla brilliantly restrained.. powerful performances.. unsentimental yet deeply affecting: "best film"+ "best script" (160 films from 43 countries) – Jury, Mumbai visual storytelling and honest performances connect us to the human vulnerability of love – Jury, Boston Enrique Salanic: Jose, Herrera LK: Luis, Ana Cecilia Mota Chavarria: Jose’s Mom among the most violent countries, yet ‘José’ is a tender look at love in Guatemala: https://tinyurl.com/yxdhmdme gay, indigenous, resistant: https://tinyurl.com/yxw28dmo BANNED: Singapore, 3rd richest country, while "Jose" is modest man’s struggle for love and dignity, in Guatemala poverty rates exceed 50% – https://tinyurl.com/yy4ycq2n Outsider Pictures North American distribution + world sales @outsiderpictures Rediance int'l festivals Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival @tiglff Portland Queer Film Festival @pdxqueerfilm Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg | International Queer Film Festival ImageOut Seattle Queer Film Festival @imageoutfilmfest QCinema Cuorum Morelia Reel Pride AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center Cine+Mas SF / San Francisco Latino Film Festival Cinema Queer @diasdecine #josethemovie #moviejose #peliculajose #filmjose #queerlion #queerlionaward #latinomovies #guatemalamovie #gaymovies #lgbtmovies #queercinema #vivejose #vivajose #gaylatinomovie

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“Denying Enrique Salanic his entry visa to promote his work in a film produced, financed and distributed by American citizens and companies represents just one way in which the current administration’s immigration rules impact U.S. businesses, and it perpetuates the negative impression the world has of America. Denying entry to a man who has already successfully studied in the U.S. just because he is from Guatemala is unjust and cruel,” Outsider Pictures’ Paul Hudson told The Wrap.

Robert Rosenberg of Outsider Pictures also had an issue with the rejection of Salanic’s entry visa. 

“It broke my heart that such a talented young actor like Enrique, who is the star of our movie, is being thwarted in pursuing his career by our own government in the U.S.,” Rosenberg told The Wrap. “Our policies should encourage this kind of ambition and success, not trap Central Americans in their countries, as if they were less than human.”

In a statement on the creation of the film, director Li Cheng discussed the movie’s cultural relevance.

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Busy week! Come see the movie JOSE now in Seattle USA, Hamburg Germany, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines, Rochester NY, Morelia, MEXICO! JOSE is the Queer Lion winner in Venice film festival. Find out why it's called "brutally authentic," "a form of resistance", See information below: FOLLOW & SHARE! Jose is the non-industry film that beat Oscar-winner THE FAVOURITE and SUSPIRIA and other films to win Queer Lion, It is an art-film from Guatemala: reflecting realities, it features a lower-class non-white protagonist HAMBURG GERMANY @lsfhamburg_iqff Thu 17-Oct 8pm – Metropolis Kino tickets: https://www.lsf-hamburg.de/pages/timetable-2019?locale=en SEATTLE, USA: – first showing sold out this is the last showing tickets still available now @threedollarbillcinema Thur 17-Oct 7pm – Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Center tickets: https://tinyurl.com/y5sxk9of QUEZON CITY, MANILA, PHILLIPPINES Sat 19-Oct 9pm – Galleria 3 Mon 21-Oct 9pm – Gateway 6 @qcinemaph tickets: https://qcinema.ph/venues ROCHESTER NY, USA @imageoutfilmfest Sat 19-Oct 1:15pm – Dryden Theatre, Eastman Museum tix https://festival.imageout.org/2019/tickets/how-to-buy/ MORELIA, Mexico @cuorummorelia función gratis con invitación – preguntas: comunicacion@moreliaprograma.com Jueves 24-OCT 15H / 3pm – Centro Cultural Clavijero trailer: https://youtu.be/BosKW_Zspgs confident visual sense tender, transfixing – The Hollywood Reporter magical.. deceptively simple, sexually frank, honest – Screen Daily raw and authentic – Remezcla brilliantly restrained, powerful performances, unsentimental yet deeply affecting: winner of TOP AWARD – Jury, Mumbai visual storytelling, honest performances connect us to the human vulnerability of love – Jury, Boston BANNED: Singapore, 3rd richest country, while JOSE is modest man’s struggle for love and dignity, in Guatemala poverty rates exceed 50% Outsider Pictures N America distribution + world sales Rediance int'l festivals Photo @marcoviscastudio #josethemovie #josemovie #josefilm #josepelicula #moviejose #peliculajose #filmjose #queerlion #queerlionaward #latinomovies #guatemalamovie #gaymovies #lgbtmovies #queercinema #vivejose #vivajose #gaylatinomovies #qcinema2019

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“‘José’ is really a page ripped from today’s news headlines,” he said. “The crises of young people, single mothers and dark-skinned peoples in Guatemala frames the film’s story. Guatemala has become an increasingly violent and dangerous place, where more than half the people live in poverty. Indeed most of the children separated from their parents and locked in dog-like cages in Texas (shocking people around the world) are Guatemalan, not Mexican, as is often claimed.”

READ: Go Guatemala! You’re Finally on Your Way to the Oscars

Sofia Vergara Recalls Brother’s Death During Powerful AGT Audition: ‘I Can Feel Your Pain’

Entertainment

Sofia Vergara Recalls Brother’s Death During Powerful AGT Audition: ‘I Can Feel Your Pain’

NBC

A recent audition on “America’s Got Talent” made judge Sofia Vergara so emotional that it inspired her to open up about a tragedy very personal to her.

On Tuesday’s episode of the competition series, Vergara watched 27-year-old Brandon Leake take the stage to deliver a spoken-word performance that resonated with Vergara.

Leake, a former high school English teacher introduced his piece by dedicating it to his sister.

“Love is the most vulnerable thing one will ever have,” Leake explained during his performance “And you must learn to hold onto it loosely so when it leaves it won’t exit so painfully.” During the performance, Leake recalled losing his sister in the late ‘90s saying “I’m still haunted by these nightmares ’cause I have a really creative mind, and sometimes it designs these alternate realities where she is still here.”

Continuing Leake said “Still alive, and all the things I wish we could have done are played again and again and again. I’m tired of playing God ’cause I gotta come to terms with the fact that my sister ain’t never comin’ back.”

The “Modern Family” actress became visibly emotional during the performance and teared up.

Judges Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell were quick to give Leakes a standing ovation.

“What an amazing tribute,” Cowell said. “There’s something very, very special about you. This is a very difficult thing for me to judge. I shouldn’t be judging it, I just want to compliment you on what you just did because it was extraordinary.”

Mandel commended Leake’s performance saying “we feel your pain, we feel your love, and you moved me to do this” before hitting the Golden Buzzer which means he is being sent straight to the AGT live shows.

Vergara shared with Leake that his poem reminded her of the loss and grief she experienced after losing her own brother.”My brother passed away the same year that your sister passed away. I can feel your pain; I know what this is. I know what it is to have somebody taken from you without you knowing,” Vergara said before going on to say that the poem was “very beautiful for me.”

On Tuesday evening, Vergara tweeted that Leake’s performance was “a great way to end the night!!!”

In 1998, Vergara’s older brother Rafael was murdered while men attempted to kidnap him.

Vergara opened up about the death in 2011 for a Parade cover story, telling the magazine “My older brother, Rafael, was killed in Colombia… “Mother was like a zombie… I wanted to be with them. So I got a big house and we all lived together. I am so grateful to be in this country.”

Quibi Is Doing A ‘Princess Bride’ Remake Of Sorts Starring Sophie Turner And Joe Jonas

Entertainment

Quibi Is Doing A ‘Princess Bride’ Remake Of Sorts Starring Sophie Turner And Joe Jonas

20th Century Fox

Inconceivable?

Just when we thought the ‘80s classic The Princess Bride was untouchable in terms of facing a remake, Quibi decided to take it on amid the current pandemic. According to The New York Post, the American short-form mobile video platform is going DIY with the beloved film. The celeb-studded film will see the stars use their phones to film and edit the series. The homemade fan film will premiere exclusively on the platform and will debut two chapters at a time.

“Game Of Thrones” star Sophie Turner and her husband Joe Jonas are set to play the lead romantic couple… with a twist.

Turner will take on the role of lovestruck Westley while Jonas will take on Princess Buttercup. Joining the couple is an all-star cast that includes Beanie Feldstein, Zazie Beetz, Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Keegan-Michael Key, Tiffany Haddish. Actor Fred Savage, who played the role of The Grandson in the original film, will also return, this time as… The Grandson. So it will most certainly be funny.

“The actors will trade-off roles throughout scenes, each paying homage to The Princess Bride in their own unique way,” the New York Post reported about the fan-made film. The outlet also revealed that in order to keep up with scenes that require crowds, they’ll use Legos and stuffed animals.

Turns out COVID-19 inspires creativity?

Fortunately, this reboot has a pretty great purpose other than staving off boredom.

Quibi has pledged to donate $1 million in honor of the homemade fan-made film to give to World Central Kitchen, an organization striving to provide meals to those in need during the pandemic.

The first chapter of this quirky project is set to debut on June 29.