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For Filmmakers

Part of Filmmaker Programming

FilmHouse Talk: The Making of “Lingua Franca”

18 Sep
Fri, Sep 18, 2020 at 11:00 am
SFFILM at Home

Event Recording



Please join SFFILM Makers for an online filmmaker talk with the team behind Lingua Franca, writer/director/star Isabel Sandoval (SFFILM Westridge grantee) and producer Carlo Velayo (SFFILM New American Fellow), moderated by filmmaker Andrew Huang. This discussion will cover the creative storytelling process from script to screen, how Sandoval came to the story, the process of getting it made and acquired by ARRAY, the realities of a digital streaming release, and more. Distributed by ARRAY, Lingua Franca broke ground as the first film directed by and starring a trans woman of color to screen in competition at 2019’s Venice International Film Festival’s Venice Days program.

About the film:
After securing a job as a live-in caregiver for Olga (Lynn Cohen), an elderly Russian woman in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood, undocumented Filipina trans woman Olivia’s (Isabel Sandoval) main priority is to secure a green card to stay in the United States. But when she unexpectedly becomes romantically involved with Olga’s adult grandson Alex (Eamon Farren), issues around identity, civil rights, and immigration threatens Olivia’s very existence. Lingua Franca is currently available to stream online via Netflix.

This event will be hosted by SFFILM’s Artist Development team and is designed primarily for filmmakers, but all SFFILM members are welcome to join us. Not yet a member? Join today!

Attendees who RSVP for this event will be sent a link in their confirmation email to access the online session, which will be conducted with Zoom. We recommend that you download and install Zoom on your computer or mobile device in advance, and set yourself up with a free account. Attendees will have a chance to participate in the Q&A by sending in questions privately to our moderator.

Learn more about how to use Zoom and attending our virtual events here.

Writer / director Isabel Sandoval

An emerging auteur recognized by the Museum of Modern Art as a “rarity among the young generation of Filipino filmmakers for her muted, serene aesthetic,” Isabel Sandoval is a US-based filmmaker who has written and directed three features. Her debut, Señorita (2011), competed in the Concorso Cineasti del presente at the 2011 Locarno Film Festival. Her follow-up, Apparition (2012), competed in the New Currents section at the 2012 Busan International Film Festival. Considered a modern Philippine classic, Apparition is regularly programmed in retrospectives of Filpino cinema alongside works by Cannes regulars Lav Diaz and Brillante Mendoza. Sandoval’s third feature Lingua Franca (2019), co-starring Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks: The Return), premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. The film was highly acclaimed in France, and Cahiers Du Cinéma praised the film’s melding of political impulses with true romanticism as being “rare in contemporary cinema.”

Producer Carlo Velayo

Carlo Velayo was the inaugural SFFILM New American Fellow and is a boots-on-the-ground producer of The Light of the Moon (2017 SXSW Audience Award for Narrative Feature) and Lingua Franca (Venice Days 2019). He is Senior Producer on Netflix’s original documentary series Happy Jail (2019), and has secured the option to adapt Carlos Bulosan’s autobiographical novel America Is in the Heart into a limited miniseries. Born in the Philippines, raised in Australia, trained in NYC, and previously based in Los Angeles, Velayo literally brings love to all of his creative collaborations.

Moderator Andrew Huang

Andrew Thomas Huang is a multi-disciplinary filmmaker with a background in fine art, VFX, puppetry, and animation. He is a Grammy-nominated music video director whose collaborators include Björk, FKA Twigs, and Thom Yorke. His films have been commissioned by and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Sydney Opera House; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, LA. Huang continues his foray into narrative film with his first feature Tiger Girl, which has received support from Sundance, Film Independent, Cinereach, and IFP as well as the K Period Media Grant and SFFILM Westridge Grant.