Oliver Stone and Hugo Chávez in South of the Border. Image courtesy of GOOD APPLE/IXTLAN/MUSE / THE KOBAL COLLECTION

Sean Penn, Michael Moore and Oliver Stone Pay Tribute to Hugo Chávez
The three paid tribute to Venezuela's president, who died Tuesday following a long battle with cancer. Said Sean Penn, “Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion.”

Stone noted, “I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place. Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chávez will live forever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned.”

Moore Tweeted, “Hugo Chávez declared the oil belonged 2 the ppl. He used the oil $ 2 eliminate 75% of extreme poverty, provide free health & education 4 all.”

Both Chávez and Bolivian President Evo Morales visited the Walter Reade Theater in 2009 as subjects of Oliver Stone's documentary South of the Border. Check out coverage at Indiewire.

Sherry Lansing to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Israel Film Festival
Executive, producer and philantropist Sherry Lansing will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Opening Night gala of the 27th Israel Film Festival. Lansing became the first woman to head a major Hollywood studio when she became the President of 20th Century Fox in 1980. She went on to be the CEO of Paramount Pictures for 12 years. Her credits include Oscar winners and nominees like Forrest Gump, Braveheart, Titanic and Fatal Attraction.

Despite its name, the Israel Film Festival actually takes place in Los Angeles and aims to showcase the best new Israeli cinema to an American audience. This year's Opening Night film is New York Jewish Film Festival alum Ballad of the Weeping Spring. The festival runs April 18 – May 2.

Pablo Escobar Heads to the Big Screen
The epic story behind the manhunt for cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar will hit theaters in the future. Spanish Goya-winning director Enrique Urbizu (No Rest for the Wicked) will direct from the screenplay Silver or Lead by British writer Piers Ashworth (Nostradamus) from an original draft by Michael Kane. The film focuses on the personal war between Escobar and General Hugo Martinez. Relativity Media, which picked up rights to the script, will produce.

SAL Takes Debut First Time Fest Honors
Chilean/Argentine production SAL took the Grand Prize at the inaugural First Time Fest, which honors first-time filmmakers. The prize for the film, described as a “modern-day Western,” includes theatrical distribution via Cinema Libre Studio. In other prizes, Amélie van Elmbt won Outstanding Director for Headfirst, while Max Weissberg took the writing prize for Summertime.

Brussels Film Festival to Roll Out Red Carpet for Bertrand Tavernier
French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier will be this year's “Guest of Honor” at the 11th Brussels Film Festival, set for June 19 – 26. The event includes a retrospective of some of Tavernier's films. The festival mixes music and cinema, screening music documentaries. This year's event will also coincide with the Fête de la Musique, taking place on June 21.