• Pedro Almodovar's highly anticipated Volver was screened for critics in Madrid this weekend, and has also been submitted for competition at Cannes. While the responses in at the screening were immediate - if someone called my film "a gift", I'd be pretty stoked - the director won't hear from Cannes until next month. The film, which tells the story of two sisters whose mother returns as a ghost to solve the problems among the three of them, is described as being lighter in tone that Almodovar's recent work, as well as a return to his earlier focus on female characters. And, boys, in case you're unsure about seeing a foreign chick flick, Penelope Cruz is "spellbinding as Volver's undeniable protagonist, oozing a mid-century glamour and sex appeal modeled on the young Sophia Loren." Yowzers.
  • The lineup for the Sofia meetings portion of the ongoing Sofia International Film Festival has been set, and includes 10 projects (half of them by women) from countries as diverse as Germany, France, and Kazakhstan. The meetings will take place this weekend, and are two days during which the 10 "filmmakers...have an opportunity to pitch to more than 50 international producers and film funds." All of the directors involved this year are seeking funding for their second features.