Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing is adding to its library of inclusive narratives with the critically acclaimed drama Lingua Franca directed, written, produced, edited by and starring Isabel Sandoval. The film will debut on Netflix and open theatrically in select cities on August 26.
Lingua Franca made history at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival Venice Days program as the first film directed and starring an openly trans woman of color to screen in competition. The film follows the story of an undocumented Filipina trans woman Olivia (Sandoval) who is the live-in caregiver for Olga (the late Lynn Cohen), an elderly Russian woman in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood. Olivia’s main priority is to secure a green card to stay in America, 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.
“The release of Isabel Sandoval’s third film is beautifully timed to enter the national conversation at an unprecedented moment of cultural reckoning for many, especially as it relates to the rights and dignity of trans people around the world,” said ARRAY President Tilane Jones. “Ms. Sandoval’s introspective lens provides a depth and intimacy to her storytelling that is rarely embraced on screen. ARRAY is proud to embrace Lingua Franca and we look forward to sharing this meaningful work widely.”
Adhering to the vision of ARRAY, the film speaks to authentic storytelling with Sandoval in the director’s chair, who was born in the Philippines. Prior to Lingua Franca, she directed the award-winning Apparition and Senorita. The Museum of Modern Art has recognized Sandoval as a “rarity among the young generation of Filipino filmmakers.”
The deal was negotiated by Gordon Bobb of Del Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano on behalf of ARRAY and Antoine Blanc of BG LAW and Lingua Franca producers Carlo Velayo, Jhett Tolentino, Darlene Malimas and Jerome Kerkman, on behalf of LUXBOX and Sandoval.
Lingua Franca is ARRAY’s fourth release for 2020. Previous releases this year include Justine from Stephanie Turner, Jezebel from Numa Perrier as well as the docuseries They’ve Gotta Have Us by Simon Frederick. Recent releases also include Spirit Award nominee and triple Tribeca Film Festival winner Burning Cane from Phillip Youmans; Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn‘s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, Samuel Bazawule’s The Burial of Kojo and Merata by Hepi Mita.