Isabel Sandoval wrote, directed and stars in the new film “Lingua Franca,” now streaming on Netflix via Ava Duvernay’s distribution company Array. The film is an intimate portrait of an undocumented trans Filipina living in New York City.
The film could have turned out quite differently if sandoval — making her first film following her own transition — hadn’t stood her ground with an investor who wanted scenes of physical violence. Sandoval saw this imagery as stereotypical, so she turned down the investor.
To keep creative control, Sandoval asked for a smaller budget. She even fired a producer who went behind her back to raise the budget from $500,000 to $1.5 million.
In this interview, she talks about the twists and turns that landed “Lingua Franca” on Netflix, from her initial production troubles to a successful festival run to a deal with Ava Duvernay’s distribution company.