Filmmaker Isabel Sandoval has been named as the first recipient of GALECA’s (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics) Trailblazer award.

The writer-director-star of the acclaimed transgender-themed film “Lingua Franca” was chosen by the group’s board and propelled by a groundswell of support within the general membership. The special accolade was created to honor entertainment figures who stand out for creating art that inspires empathy, truth and equity.

Sandoval will receive the award virtually in a special interview segment of GALECA’s Dorians Film Toast, a two-hour awards special which will debut on LGBTQ+ streaming TV network Revry on April 18.

Sandoval’s film garnered much critical acclaim on the festival circuit. In 2019, she made history as the first trans woman of color to direct and star in a film screening in competition at the Venice Film Festival, where “Lingua Franca” premiered. The film was acquired and released by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY and is now streaming on Netflix. She most recently signed with CAA.

“It’s heartening to see Isabel Sandoval, a supremely talented trans woman of color, get such a firm footing in Hollywood so quickly,” says GALECA President Diane Anderson-Minshall, also CEO of Pride Media, which publishes Out and The Advocate magazines. “Especially at a time when many communities are struggling to put a stop to violence against both Asian Americans and trans people.”

Sandoval’s first two features — 2011’s “Señorita,” about a trans sex worker’s quest for a better life, and her 2012 film “Apparition” — are streaming this month on the Criterion Channel with new director’s commentary.

Last month, Sandoval directed, wrote, edited and acted in “Shangri-La,” a short film that is a part of fashion brand Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales web series. The series invites female directors to “investigate vanity and femininity in the 21st century.”

She is currently in development on her fourth feature, “Tropical Gothic,” a 16th-century colonial drama set in the Philippines, with themes in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” and Jane Campion’s “The Piano.”



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