Isabel Sandoval - Director of “Lingua Franca” - “Under the Banner of Heaven”


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Redefining being a multi-hyphenate for artistic control and representation, Sandoval made her television debut directing the 6th episode for the new FX limited series, Under the Banner of Heaven based on the New York Times best seller by Jon Krakauer.

Isabel Sandoval is a Filipina filmmaker who made history with the World Premiere of Lingua Franca at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival’s Giornate degli Autori section and was the first film directed by and starring a trans woman of color ever to screen in competition. In honor of her achievements with the film, Sandoval was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Her early film works debuted last summer on The Criterion Channel platform, displaying her growth and evolution as a creator, able to embrace new mediums.

“With Lingua Franca, I think maybe the radical idea in centering a film about this minority character, a trans Filipina immigrant...I think a lot of films or media that depict or feature that kind of character almost always emphasize their trauma and just their marginalization or being subjected to all kinds of prejudice and discrimination.

But what I set out to do in Lingua Franca was to bring out and depict her sense of selfhood and agency first, especially in the first few sequences of the film, by just observing her being and going about her daily morning rituals and routines as a caregiver to this elderly Russian lady.
And I think by training my camera at those rituals, which seem mundane and routine, I'm essentially saying as a filmmaker, that this is a person. A woman and her daily rituals are worth chronicling, are worth paying attention to anything. Just by seeing this woman go about her daily tasks, I think I was already dignifying that life and that perspective, that it's important and that it matters.”

The Criterion Channel

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