Isabel Sandoval’s Filipino trans caregiver film Lingua Franca bags top trophy in Bentonville

HSBC Philippines
Lingua Franca
Lingua Franca, starring Isabel Sandoval, is a romantic drama between two immigrants in Brighton Beach. Filmmaker Sandoval is the first Filipina trans woman to ever direct and star in her own movie.

Lingua Franca, a film about an undocumented Filipina trans woman living in New York, nabbed the “Best Narrative Feature” award at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival.

The groundbreaking film was recognized and awarded on August 16, 2020, by the United States-based Bentonville film festival that champions inclusion in all forms of media. The event employed a hybrid version of virtual showings and limited on-the-ground events to heed the coronavirus pandemic’s restrictions.

Isabel Sandoval, a Filipina trans woman herself, took on the lead character role in the film she herself wrote and directed.

Lingua Franca delves into the story of Olivia, who is working as a caregiver to an elderly woman in Brighton, New York. The drama also gives a detailed account of the social issues faced by Filipino undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival, making history as the first film directed and starred by a trans woman of color to be showcased in the festival.

Lingua Franca is already the Filipina director’s third feature film.

Sandoval’s first feature film, “Señorita” was nominated for Best Picture at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. It also won her the Emerging Director Award at the 2012 Asian-American International Film Festival.

Her 2012 film “Aparisyon” starring Jodi Sta. Maria and Mylene Dizon garnered international recognition at the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival and the 2013 Deauville Asian Film Festival in France.

The Filipino auteur’s new film in development, “Tropical Gothic”, was also presented at the recent 2020 Locarno FilmFest.

Lingua Franca starts streaming on Netflix on August 26.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Isabel Sandoval for her winning film Lingua Franca’s bagging the top trophy in Bentonville!

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Margo Hannah De Guzman Quadra
Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.