Big Beach to produce period allegory ‘Tropical Gothic’ by ‘Lingua Franca’ filmmaker Isabel Sandoval


EXCLUSIVE: Big Beach has announced that it will produce the next feature film tropical gothic of Lingua francaby Isabelle Sandoval.

Set in the 16th century Philippines, tropical gothic is an allegory about Western colonialism about a native priestess who convinces her Spanish master that she is possessed by the spirit of his dead wife, in order to manipulate him into returning farmland that the Spanish have seized to the indigenous community.

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Sandoval and producer Carlo Velayo launched the project in 2020 at the Locarno Open Doors Hub, an international platform for feature film projects in Latin America and the Caribbean seeking international collaborations. The couple received the VFF Talent Highlight Award at the Berlinale Talent Project Market in March, with the associated prize going towards the development of the film. Sandoval will direct from his script and star, with Michael B. Clark and Alex Turtletaub producing for Big Beach, alongside Velayo. Production starts later this year.

Sandoval is a Filipino actress, screenwriter, director, producer and editor whose film Lingua franca made history at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, as the first in competition to be directed by and starring a trans woman of color. Sandoval’s third feature as director, and shot in the United States for the first time, had a global film festival trip through 2020 and was nominated for the 2021 Film Independent John Cassavetes Spirit Award. Theatrical distribution followed via Ava DuVerna’s Array Now initiative, with the film now available to stream via Netflix.

Sandoval also wrote and directed the feature films senorita and Appearance-most recently directing the penultimate episode of FX’s limited series Under the banner of heavenbased on the book by Jon Krakauer.

Big Beach is an independent production company founded by Turtletaub and Peter Saraf in 2004, which has produced such notable films as Little Miss Sun, Magnet, A beautiful day in the neighborhood and The farewell. He was also behind series such as Starz’s Vidafacebook watch sorry for your loss and Ry Russo-Young Nuclear family for HBO. The company’s upcoming releases include Hannah Marks’ drama Tribeca Don’t make me gothe recently announced Disney+ photo out of my mind by director Amber Sealey, and the recent Cannes film Un Certain Regard Harka, directed by Lotfy Nathan. Big Beach is currently on the job on Turtletaub’s next feature juleswith Sir Ben Kingsley.

Sandoval is replaced by CAA, Team 713 Entertainment and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

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