Isabel Sandoval

Isabel Sandoval

USA, Philippines

Every image or sound is a vessel for emotion: rapture, despair, sensuousness, enchantment, a combination of these. That makes cinema a kind of legerdemain: the art of sculpting such seemingly artificial elements to create a singular, genuine emotional experience in the viewer.

An emerging auteur recognized by the Museum of Modern Art as a "rarity among the young generation of Filipino filmmakers for her muted, serene aesthetic", Isabel Sandoval is a US-based filmmaker who has written and directed three features. Her debut, SEÑORITA (2011), competed in the Concorso Cineasti del presente at the 2011 Locarno FF. Her follow-up, APPARITION (2012), competed in the New Currents section at the 2012 Busan IFF. Widely considered a modern Philippine classic APPARITION is regularly programmed in retrospectives of Filpino cinema alongside works by Lav Diaz and Brillante Mendoza. It will screen as part of Locarno 2020's Open Doors screenings.

Her next film LINGUA FRANCA (2019), starring Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks: The Return), premiered at the Venice IFF. Cahiers Du Cinéma praised its melding of political impulses with true romanticism as being "rare in contemporary cinema". LINGUA FRANCA has been acquired in North America, France amongst other territories. Other festivals include BFI London, Vancouver, Stockholm, Hamburg, Goteborg, Thessaloniki, Goa, AFI Fest, Hawaii, Febiofest, Frameline, Outfest and Palm Springs.

Isabel is currently developing her most ambitious feature, TROPICAL GOTHIC, a 16th-century surrealist drama about the haunting of a Spanish conquistador in the Philippine islands. The project is a 2020 Locarno Open Doors Hub selection. In September 2020, the Indiana Unviersity will present an early-career retrospective of Isabel's work as part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker series, which previously invited Pedro Costa, Carlos Reygadas and Claire Denis.