Trans Love story ‘Lingua Franca’ Wins at a Russian Film Festival

    Lingua Franca
    Lingua Franca
    Lingua Franca / IMDb

    Transgender actress, director, filmmaker Isabel Sandoval was awarded best actress Friday at the 18th Pacific Meridian Int’l Film Festival for her break-out feature Lingua Franca.

    The unlikely love story Lingua Franca mesmerizes with the juxtaposition of life as an undocumented indentured trans woman during the Trump administration, in an NYC Russian Orthodox community, a faith infamously known for its violent opposition to trans existence in the motherland.

    Winning accolades by a Russian jury with her film titled lingua franca which by definition is an age-old bridge language, is a subliminal yet powerful stroke of pure genius.

    The award was presented by jury member Anton Yarush, who said “I think this is an important award in the context of Russian festival history, considering that the jury was also Russian.”

    Lingua Franca has already been awarded 4 wins and 13 nominations while on the circuit but none more poignant than the award for best actress by Russian judges.

    Via IMDb Olivia (Isabel Sandoval), an undocumented Filipino transwoman, works as a caregiver to Olga (Lynn Cohen), an elderly Russian woman, in the Russian Orthodox section of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When Olivia runs out of options to attain legal status in the US, she becomes romantically involved with Alex (Eamon Farren), Olga’s adult grandson.

    Lingua Franca
    Lingua Franca/ Alex (Eamon Farren), Olga’s adult grandson/ IMDb

    The award from a Russian jury is in stark contrast to the deteriorating conditions that trans people who endure in Russia.

    Supernews from Vladivostok. The Pacific Meridian International Film Festival has just ended. The Best Actress Award went to transgender woman Isabelle Sandoval @isabelvsandoval for Lingua Franca (by the way, Sandoval is also a director, screenwriter and producer of the film). ⠀ The prize was presented by our friend and screenwriter @ anton.yarush (“Closeness”, “Unclenching his fists”) with the wording “For the accuracy of being on the screen.” “I think this is an important award in the context of Russian festival history. Considering that the jury was also Russian, ”Anton told us ❤️? ⠀“ Lingua Franca ”talks about a trans woman who works as a nurse for a Russian grandmother in Brooklyn. The film can be watched on Netflix (but, unfortunately, not in Russia yet).


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    ​? Суперновость из Владивостока. На днях завершился международный кинофестиваль «Меридианы Тихого». Приз за лучшую женскую роль получила трансгендерная женщина Изабель Сандовал @isabelvsandoval за фильм «Лингва Франка» (к слову, Сандовал также режиссерка, сценаристка и продюсерка картины). ⠀ Приз вручал наш друг и сценарист @anton.yarush («Теснота», «Разжимая кулаки») с формулировкой «За точность присутствия на экране». «Мне кажется, это важная награда в контексте российской фестивальной истории. Учитывая, что и жюри было российским», — рассказал нам Антон ❤️? ⠀ «Лингва Франка» рассказывает о трансженщине, которая работает сиделкой у русской бабушки в Бруклине. Фильм можно посмотреть на Netflix (но, к сожалению, пока не в России). #LinguaFranca

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    Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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