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In this beguiling drama, an undocumented Filipina immigrant paranoid about deportation works as a caregiver to a Russian-Jewish grandmother in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When the American man she’s secretly paying for a green card marriage backs out, she becomes involved with a slaughterhouse worker who is unaware that she’s transgender.

Original title: Lingua Franca Country: USA, Philippines Language: English, Tagalog, Russian Production year: 2019 Length: 95 minutes


Isabel Sandoval, Eamon Farren, Ivory Aquino, PJ Boudousque, Lev Gorn, Lynn Cohen


Director: Isabel Sandoval Screenwriter: Isabel Sandoval DOP: Isaac Banks Costume Design: Clint Ramos Set Design: Clint Ramos Editor: Isabel Sandoval Sound Design: Albert Michael M. Idioma Producers: Jhett Tolentino, Carlo Velayo, Darlene Catly Malimas, Isabel Sandoval World sales: Luxbox

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Venice Days - International Competition

BFI London Film Festival - International Competition

Busan International Film Festival

Hamburg International Film Festival

Vinokino Film Festival

Everybody’s Perfect LGBT Film Festival

Gender Bender Film Festival

Slovak Queer Film Festival


Director/Screenwriter/Actress /Editor

Isabel is a New York-based filmmaker whom The Museum of Modern Art--citing her "muted, serene aesthetic"--has recognized as a "rarity among the young generation of Filipino filmmakers".

She has produced, written and directed three full-length features, including SEÑORITA (2011), which premiered in competition at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland and was nominated for Best Picture by the Young Critics Circle of the Philippines. SEÑORITA also won the Emerging Director Award at the 2012 Asian-American International Film Festival.

Her second feature film, APPARITION (2012), a period drama about cloistered Filipino nuns during the Marcos regime, was widely acclaimed in its Philippine theatrical release. After competing at the Busan International Film Festival, it won a number of international awards, including the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NetPAC) Award at the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival as well as the Audience Award at the 2013 Deauville Asian Film Festival in France. Apparition had a week-long theatrical run at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2013 and was showcased again in a 2017 film series "A New Golden Age: Contemporary Philippine Cinema".

Her third feature, LINGUA FRANCA, an immigration drama set in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, stars Eamon Farren (TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN, THE WITCHER), Lev Gorn (THE AMERICANS) and Lynn Cohen (THE HUNGER GAMES, SEX AND THE CITY). It has received support from IFP, SFFILM, Frameline, the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), New York Foundation for the Arts and the Tribeca Film Institute.

In March 2017, she was part of the SXSW 2017 panel "The Future is Female: Parity Now" alongside acclaimed filmmakers Bette Gordon and Nanfu Wang. Isabel has a MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business and has a background in CPG brand management.



Lingua Franca (2019)

Apparition (2012)

Señorita (2011)

Señorita (2009 - short film)

Ritwal (2004 - short film)

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