Moderated by LESLIE SUPNET

Thursday July 23rd @ 12:30 PM CDT

ISABEL SANDOVAL (writer, director, actress) and CARLO VELAYO (producer) of the stunning new film LINGUA FRANCA join GFF Programming Committee Member Leslie Supnet for an engaging discussion. LINGUA FRANCA is a tender love story wrapped in the delicate, but all too real, situation of being an immigrant trans woman of colour in Trump’s America. Sandoval plays a Filipino trans woman who works as a home care assistant to an elderly Russian-Jewish woman in the Brighton Beach neighbourhood of New York City. The woman, Olivia, begins to fall in love with a cis-gender white man, Alex, who is unaware that Olivia is a trans woman. A poignant portrait of modern romance, LINGUA FRANCA is unforgettable in its raw, painful beauty.

GFF will be presenting an exclusive, remote Masterclass with LINGUA FRANCAs writer/director/lead actor Isabel Sandoval and producer Carlo Velayo, discussing the making of the film, its reception on the festival circuit, their previous work together, and future plans. The Masterclass with be followed by a Q&A led by moderator Leslie Supnet. YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS!!

Isabel Sandoval biography:


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, competed in the Concorso Cineasti del presente at the 2011 Locarno Film Festival. Her follow-up, APPARITION, competed in the New Currents section at the 2012 Busan International Film Festival. Widely considered a modern Philippine classic, APPARITION is regularly programmed in retrospectives of Filpino cinema alongside works by Lav Diaz and Brillante Mendoza.

In 2019, LINGUA FRANCA, starring Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks: The Return), premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. Cahiers Du Cinéma has praised its melding of political impulses with true romanticism as being “rare in contemporary cinema”. LINGUA FRANCA has been acquired in North America, France and more territories. Other fests include BFI London, Vancouver, Stockholm, Hamburg, Goteborg, Thessaloniki, Goa, AFI Fest, Hawaii, Febiofest, Frameline, Outfest and Palm Springs.

Isabel is currently developing her most ambitious feature, TROPICAL GOTHIC, a 16th-century surrealist drama about the haunting of a Spanish conquistador in the Philippine islands. The project is a 2020 Locarno Open Doors Hub selection. In September 2020, the Indiana University will present an early-career retrospective of Isabel’s work as part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker series, which previously invited Pedro Costa, Carlos Reygadas and Claire Denis.


Carlo Velayo biography:CarloVelayo

Carlo Velayo is a boots-on-the-ground producer and was the inaugural SFFILM New American Producer Fellow in 2018. He was an Associate Producer on Cheryl Furjanic’s Emmy-nominated film, BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS, and made his debut as a p.g.a. Producer and 1st AD on Jessica M. Thompson’s THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, receiving the 2017 SXSW Audience Award for Narrative Feature Competition. In 2016, Carlo spent two months at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), and is Senior Producer on Emmy Award-winning, Filipino-American Michele Josue’s Netflix original documentary series, HAPPY JAIL, which is now available in 190 countries.

Carlo is proud to be a Producer on Isabel Sandoval’s third, independent narrative feature, LINGUA FRANCA, which world premiered in-competition at the 2019 Venice Film Festival’s independently run Giornate degli Autori. It was also the first film directed by a Filipino director to be in main-competition at the BFI London Film Festival.

Under 7107 Entertainment, a production company Carlo formed with Isabel Sandoval and three-time Tony and Grammy Award-winning producer, Jhett Tolentino, he is currently developing a slate of narrative and documentary projects. Carlo has secured the option to adapt Carlos Bulosan’s autobiographical novel, “America Is In The Heart,” into a limited series. Born in the Philippines, raised in Australia, trained in NYC and previously based in Los Angeles, Carlo literally brings ‘love’ to all of his creative collaborations.