Lingua Franca

An undocumented immigrant searches for safety and security in this poignant mix of love story and social drama.

Dir-Scr Isabel Sandoval
Prod Isabel Sandoval, Jhett Tolentino, Carlo Velayo, Darlene Malimas
With Isabel Sandoval, Eamon Farren, Lynn Cohen
Sales Luxbox
With partial English subtitles (some scenes are not in the English language)

Olivia, a Filipino transwoman living in Brooklyn, goes through each day with the agonising threat of deportation weighing on her shoulders. When not surreptitiously working as a caregiver for Olga, an elderly Russian woman in the early stages of dementia, Olivia spends her time documenting a staged relationship with the man who has agreed to marry her so she can obtain legal status in the US. Having been disappointed before, she worries that the nuptials will never materialise. One day Olivia meets Olga’s grandson Alex, a despondent slaughterhouse worker battling his own inner demons and over time the pair develop a strong connection. When plans for her Green Card unsurprisingly fall through, Olivia is left feeling hopeless about her future. But perhaps Alex can offer her the security she so desperately needs? Both a beautifully performed character study and an incisive critique on race and immigration in Trump’s America, writer-director Isabel Sandoval (who also takes on the role of Olivia) has crafted a deeply moving work of great intimacy and insight. Deftly exploring complex themes around identity, sexual desire and structural disempowerment, Lingua Franca is a timely portrait of struggle and of hope.

Michael Blyth

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Isabel Sandoval, director; Carlo Velayo, producer; Jhett Tolentino, producer; Eamon Farren, cast; Ivory Aquino, cast.

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.