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VIDEO: International Film by Trans Filipina Filmmaker Premieres in Manila, Philippines


Co-produced by Tony winner Jhett Tolentino, Isabel Sandoval's latest feature film Lingua Franca is scheduled for another special screening tonight, 17 October 2019, at Gateway Cinemas in Quezon City (QC).

Manila, Philippines - Following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, filmmaker Isabel Sandoval's immigration drama set in Brighton Beach, New York, had its Manila premiere at the Gateway Cinemas last night.

Sandoval, who wrote, directed, edited, and starred in the film, graciously answered queries from the audience after the special screening hosted by this year's QC Cinema International Festival.

Lingua Franca is the filmmaker's third film; locally, she is known to have directed Aparisyon, which won the Audience Award at the Deauville Asian Film Festival in 2013.

Sandoval said: "The film is about a trans woman immigrant in America...Aesthetically, it doesn't fit into what we consider palatable Filipino cinema when it comes to international film festivals.

"I wanted to use this opportunity to make a film that on paper sounded like a gray, grimy, third-world drama while infusing a sense of lyricism, poetry, and sensuality. This kind of bit has become my style: a kind of hush intimacy and restraint in my films."

Besides Sandoval (Olivia), Lingua Franca also stars Eamon Farren (Alex), Lynn Cohen (Olga), Lev Gorn (Murray), Ari Barkan (Emil), Ivory Aquino (Trixie), Shiloh Verrico (Maggie), Mark Nelson (Roman), PJ Boudousque (Andrei), and Roman Blat (Viktor), among others.

Isaac Banks is the cinematographer; Tony winner Clint Ramos, production designer; Maxwell Nalevansky, art director, and Albert Michael Idioma, sound designer.

Lingua Franca follows "Olivia (Isabel Sandoval), an undocumented Filipino trans woman, who works as a caregiver to Olga (Lynn Cohen), an elderly Russian woman, in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When Olivia runs out of options to attain legal status in the US, she becomes romantically involved with Alex (Eamon Farren), Olga's adult grandson, in the pursuit of a marriage-based green card."

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