Filipino film about a caregiver wins best picture at US film festival

Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Aug 19 2020 11:01 AM

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HOLLYWOOD -- Isabel Sandoval’s film about a Filipina caregiver in New York took home the top prize, winning the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Bentonville Film Festival.

Sandoval used her experiences as a transwoman US immigrant to inform her storytelling and performance.

“I made ‘Lingua Franca’ to represent a different kind of Filipino immigrant. It's not a story necessarily about the hardships. Of course, you know, the Filipino immigrant experiences hardships but it's about resilience and being strong and surviving amidst the challenges and difficulties that we experience when we move to a new country,” Sandoval said.

“So in that sense it's a movie about hope. It's a movie about courage. And I hope that you give a film like ‘Lingua Franca’ chance.”

The festival is co-founded by Oscar winner Geena Davis and it champions diverse and inclusive storytelling in Hollywood films.

Now on its sixth year, owing to the pandemic, the festival had digital screenings and panels but its mission to feature underrepresented voices remained unchanged.

Several Filipino projects and talents were also featured this year, including Marie Jamora’s “Harana.”

The 2020 Bentonville Film Festival also gave honors to the best in documentary, short film, episodic, and special recognition awards.

Sandoval’s “Lingua Franca” will be available for streaming on Netflix starting August 26.